NGO Alternative Report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child: Response to the Australian Government’s State Report on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

A joint report from the Aboriginal Peak Organisations of the Northern Territory (APO NT) and the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) on issues affecting Aboriginal Children in the Northern Territory
Aboriginal Australians Indigenous children Indigenous child protection Human rights Self-determination Cultural awareness Child mental health Northern Territory

Organisations The North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA), and The Aboriginal Peak Organisations Northern Territory (APO NT), have come together to develop this report to ensure that the perspectives and circumstances of Aboriginal Children in the Northern Territory are given the attention they demand in the Committee’s next set of concluding observations to Australia.

Key Findings:

The Australian Government’s failure to adhere to Article 30 is demonstrated in particular by the following, which are discussed in more detail in the body of this report:

  • Absence of a constitutionally enshrined decision-making structure for Aboriginal people.
  • Continued removal of Aboriginal children from their families and communities and insufficient planning to ensure connection to culture when children are removed.
  • Limited access to bilingual and culturally relevant education.
  • Lack of mechanisms for Aboriginal Elders and those with cultural authority to actively participate in decision-making in the justice system, including court processes involving Aboriginal children.
  • Lack of access to culturally appropriate health (including mental health) services and culturally strengthening programs and activities for young people, particularly in remote communities. Page 5 of 38 of the report.
  • Directing children and young people not to use Aboriginal language in youth detention centres.
  • Failure to comply with the principle of detention as a last resort, impeding the right of Aboriginal children to maintain cultural connections to country.

In this report, these organisations call on the Australian Government to ensure that the development and implementation of its legislation, policies and practices relevant to children across its jurisdictions promote the rights of all Aboriginal children to enjoy their language and culture. The authors express the hope that the report will support the UNCRC to hold the Australian and Northern Territory Government’s to account on their numerous failures to meet their obligations to Aboriginal children in Australia under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Publication Details
Publication Year: