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Caritas Australia hosting international meeting on indigenous issues

Caritas will take delegates from 22 Asian countries to visit sites of significance for indigenous Australians during an international meeting of development experts it's hosting next week.

The meeting will focus on land issues, the stolen generation and issues of juvenile justice. The situation of indigenous Australians will be compared to that of indigenous people throughout Asia.

"The relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous people is a significant issue throughout Asia", said meeting host Jack de Groot, National Director of Caritas Australia. "This meeting offers an opportunity to compare the situation of indigenous communities throughout our region and to share ideas about development programs for these communities."

Mr de Groot said delegates to the meeting will learn about Australian land rights issues and compare the experience of indigenous Australians to those of indigenous people throughout Asia who struggle to retain rights to their land. He gave the example of the Philippines, where indigenous land rights are severely compromised by mining activity encouraged by the government.

Participants will visit four indigenous communities in NSW, to look at the impact of mining activity and land, access to fishing grounds, policies of removal, and juvenile justice. ATSIC Chairman Geoff Clark will speak to the delegates on Wednesday.