NACCHO United Nations report:Indigenous heath, education and culture a focus in New York

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The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) held at UN headquarters in New York has throughout the duration of the forum focused on areas including previous forum recommendations relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples health, education and culture.

Picture above of Kirsten Gray, Brian Wyatt (co-chair) Tjanara Goreng Goreng (FIRDA- Culture) and Amala Groom (FIRDA – Culture) at the UNPFII.

NACCHO was represented by Deputy chair Matthew Cooke,CEO Lisa Briggs and Professor Ngiare Brown

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 Brian Wyatt, Co-Chair of the Indigenous People’s Organisation (IPO) Network Australia welcomed the opportunity for Australia’s indigenous issues to be raised on the international stage.

 Mr Wyatt said nine recommendations had been made to the Forum relating to Indigenous health with a strong focus on the need for Indigenous Peoples to have control over health service delivery.

 “All over the world we see evidence that the biggest improvements in Indigenous health is where those people have control over the services provided to them.

 “This is because we understand our own communities and their needs and can deliver culturally appropriate care. Australia’s own Aboriginal Community Controlled health sector has been proven to be the most effective in closing the health gap.

 “We need to ensure measures to promote health equality are consistent with the rights, principles and standards contained in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and particularly the right to Self Determination.”

 Mr Wyatt said the IPO had also made an intervention on education, urging members to ensure knowledge and contemporary social circumstances of Indigenous Peoples are embedded in the curricula of education systems.

 “In the face of global challenges to the self-determining interests of Indigenous Peoples, it is urgent that action be taken by the UN to protect and promote the sovereign rights of Indigenous Peoples to systems of education that embeds the scholarship of their cultural knowledge in the development of curriculum and research.

 “It is imperative that western education systems commit to working with Indigenous Peoples at the local level, demonstrate respect for the cultural rights of Indigenous Peoples and profile and promulgate these rights as determined by the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

 Mr Wyatt said the IPO had also put forward four recommendations in relation to culture acknowledging the need of Indigenous Peoples to retain control over their genetic resources, intellectual property and traditional cultural expressions.

The 12th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is being held at the United Nations in New York from 20-31 May 2013.

The IPO is a broad affiliation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and individuals, who engage with United Nations mechanisms and frameworks to advocate for the implementation of the Declaration.

First Peoples Disability Network Australia – Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action (FAIRA) – Foundation for Indigenous Recovery and Development, Australia (FIRDA) – National Aboriginal Cultural Community Health Organisation (NACCHO) – National Congress of Australia’s First People’s – National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) – National Indigenous Higher Education Network (NIHEN) – National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance Corporation (NATSIWAC) – National Native Title Council (NNTC) – New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) – Office of the Social Justice Commissioner.