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The economic condition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia is worse. They are experiencing discrimination, unemployment, inadequate access to services, land issues, bullying and so on. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders community lives in remote areas of the country densely populated by the community members. They do not have proper infrastructure and lack economic independence. They have to face significant challenges daily to meet the basic amenities for their families. They have limited commercially viable business opportunities. The community even face a gap in the health and education sector as well. These things restrict the economic growth of the community. It is identified through research that Torres Strait Islanders have a lack of equal access to primary health care and they have a lower standard of health infrastructure. All these things raise the question on human rights of the community.
Australia is advancing in human rights to all parts of the globe. It is committed to providing opportunities to assist Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders both oversee and in the country. It even states to work with international partners as well as the communities to promote the good wellbeing of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander community. The government of Australia is committed to holding referendum stating Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders as the First people of the country. It also states that the country will work to protect the rights of the people through humanitarian efforts. Human rights commission also states it will apply sanctions if it finds the gross human right of the people getting violated.
It has been identified in the research that Torres Strait Islander children are behind the Australians in starting the first year of the school. Education is one of the most important strategies in closing the gap between Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander community and white Australians. The educational level in ATSI people is poor. Only 10 per cent of aboriginal children graduate (Davis & Reber, 2016). This is one of the biggest reason because of which unemployment rate is so high among the community. Therefore, the council of the Australian government emphasized that every child has an equal right to get an education.
It is also observed through many incidents that Aboriginals community members have to face racial discrimination. One such incident was recorded in past when the Australian refused to give the house on rent to Aboriginal people because of caste, creed and colour. This incident indicated that since the person was Aboriginal, therefore was treated less favourably than the white Australians (Synot, 2019). Similarly, racial discrimination is also observed in the workplace. Aboriginal people also have to experience derogatory comments from higher authority member or coworker. An event of the similar case was recorded in the year 2012 in Queensland where the complaint was done against the co-worker for commenting behind the work of Aboriginal. Justice was received to the men in the form of compensation from the other party. Despite, this many of the Aboriginals are left unheard, they do not even know where to lodge a complaint and how to get justice.
It is also identified that Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders are most likely to get into depression. One in three members of the community is suffering from higher-level psychological distress. It is because they are no more connected to their land and culture. They are forced to accept the Australian culture which increases stress among the community members (Mazel, 2018). The council of the human rights found that it is very important to protect the dignity of the people thus, it stated in Article 15 that indigenous people have the right to live according to their historical tradition and culture. Their culture will also be reflected n the education. It will help in closing the gap between the two community. According to the racial discrimination act, all the people are treated equally in front of the law.
Apart from this, it is also observed that gender inequality is another issue. The attitude of the people towards females is heartbreaking. Domestic violence has been observed in the community (Chitty, 2019). This stems from another contemporary issue which is rising in the community day by day. In 2002, survey it was found that one out of four indigenous community female was threatened physically or has become a victim of gender inequality. Australian human right council after becoming a member of the UN is trying to strengthen the human rights council to advance human rights for women's and girls in the country.
Australia has committed to be a multilateral human right system. It has taken a pledge to continue to give practical effects on the rights of indigenous communities to the United Nations. It will also strengthen to work on the issues experienced by the indigenous community in the country and then in the world (Lim, 2018). It will also harness the knowledge and expertise of the aboriginal and Torres islander's community to design and deliver programs. Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders according to article 16 have the right to develop their media in the country.
According to article 17, they have full right to enjoy all the rights that are applicable under labour and international law. Article 17 of the UN, gives them the right to take decisions in any matter. Article20, give them the strength to establish and maintain their institutions in the country. Article 22 states that special attention will be paid on the rights of people of elders, youth, women and children (Nolan & Chappell, 2020). It is stated in Article 24, that people have the right to maintain their health by using traditional medicine and conducting practices. 26th Article gives the right to the community people to have rights to their land, territory and resources. There are many other articles which declare the rights of the Indigenous community people.
It can be identified from the findings that to improve the condition of the Aboriginals the Australian human right council declared Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders as first people. After becoming community member, the council started paying attention to the community to enhance the dignity of individuals so that their economic status can be improved and they need to have to be called as socially and economically disadvantaged people. Advancing in human rights have provided many benefits to the community in terms of discrimination, education, gender and culture. It is due to these policies and acts mentioned in the human right council, Aboriginal people have the right to liberty and security, have right to freedom of speech, have right to access the land, have cultural rights, have rights to gain an education, have right to equally stand in front of the people and so on.
It is these rights that will help to change the status of community people. Australia has recognized the importance of the marginalized communities and is, therefore, working for their welfare by even establishing institutions so that they can get the maximum benefits. The council of human rights is also trying to bridge the gap that persists between Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders. Though, it is a difficult task but with constant efforts and allowing them to rise will help in overcoming all the issues faced by the community in education, health and employment and so on. These human rights will empower the community in Australia.
Davis, A., & Reber, D. (2016). Advancing human rights and social and economic justice: Developing competence in field education. Journal of Human Rights and Social Work, 1(3), 143-153.
Nolan, J., & Chappell, L. (2020). Foreword to the New Thinking on Business and Human Rights Special Issue. Australian Journal of Human Rights, 1-4.
Mazel, O. (2018). Indigenous health and human rights: a reflection on law and culture. International journal of environmental research and public health, 15(4), 789.
Synot, E. (2019). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Indigenous rights and the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 73(4), 320-325.
Lim, L. L. (2018). A multicultural act for Australia. Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: an Interdisciplinary Journal, 10(2), 47-66.
Chitty, N. (2019). Advancing Australia through soft power: virtue & virtuosity. The Journal of International Communication, 25(2), 193-205.
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