Developing practical strategies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth to reinforce their rights in Australia is the focus of an intensive summit at UNSW this week.
Around 40 members of the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community advocates are taking part in the five-day summit, organised by Oxfam Australia and hosted by the UNSW-based Diplomacy Training Program (DTP).
The DTP is an independent, non-government organisation affiliated with UNSW Law. Since it was founded by Nobel Peace Laureate José Ramos-Horta in 1989, the DTP has trained more than 1,800 human rights defenders from 30 countries across the Asia-Pacific region.
This week’s summit targets 18-25 year-olds from across Australia who have demonstrated an existing commitment to rights and advocacy work in their communities. It aims to develop skills and knowledge about indigenous rights and how advocacy, treaties, conventions and human rights mechanisms can be applied to issues in their community.
“The program will have a focus on the obligations of the Australian government to respect, protect and fulfill rights, with participants having the opportunity to build their skills and confidence to engage with government to honour these obligations,” said Patrick Earle, DTP’s Executive Director.
Participants will work together to develop practical strategies and explore avenues to use existing international standards, including the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to further the realisation of Indigenous Peoples’ rights in Australia.
Participants will also get the opportunity to hear the stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advocates who have gone to the United Nations to speak-up on community concerns.
Youth Program Coordinator Peter Nathan, from Oxfam Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Program, said the course will equip the next generation of community advocates with the knowledge and skills to make a genuine difference.
“These young people have already shown a passion and commitment to addressing issues directly affecting their community,” Mr Nathan said.
“We want to take them to the next stage by equipping them with the knowledge and skills to articulate and bring about positive change but also to identify practical steps for implementing what they have learned when they return to their community or workplace.”
Read more on the Oxfam website.
Media contact: John Lindsay, Oxfam Australia Media Unit on 03 9289 9246 or 0423 456 046.