Melbourne's Catholic Commission for Justice, Development and Peace is concerned that the Government's dismissive attitude towards a legal treaty is holding back Aboriginal reconciliation.
    It says the government's failure to tackle legal solutions to such problems is also demonstrated in its rejection this week of the United Nations' role in setting basic minimum standards on human rights.
    In a position paper to be released today, the Commission proposes additional legislative and educational frameworks to deal with past injustices against Aboriginal Australians and to recognise their proper place in Australian society.
    Commission Director Liz Curran said: "Other nations including New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and the United States have been able to embrace treaties as a means of achieving better relationships with the indigenous peoples."
    She added: "The unwillingness of Australia to undergo the scrutiny that all nations as part of the United Nations are subject to demonstrates the fragility of adherence to human rights in Australia particularly for the most vulnerable."
    The paper, which supports proposals on legal reform from Fr Frank Brennan, says the current constitutional framework is more concerned with states' rights than human rights.
    The statement will be available on the Commission's website.
1 Sep 00

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