Thursday, April 02, 2009

Justice Down Under

Apr 2nd, 2009 | SYDNEY -- Australia adopted the U.N.'s declaration of indigenous rights on Friday, reversing its earlier opposition in what officials said was an effort to "reset" relations between white Australians and Aborigines.

The support for the nonbinding declaration is a largely symbolic step, but extends a dramatic shift in policy on Aborigines since Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was elected 17 months ago.

"In supporting the declaration Australia takes another important step toward resetting relations between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians," Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said at a ceremony in the national capital, Canberra, that was broadcast nationally.

Australia was one of just four nations that voted against the U.N. declaration when it was adopted by the General Assembly in 2007. The United States, New Zealand and Canada were the other opponents, while 143 countries voted in favor and 11 abstained.

We're now in a shameful club with only two other members.

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