A delegation of Australian Aborigines on Wednesday (3 September) called on the United Nations to investigate the plight of their people.
SV INTERIOR Jim Hagan, Chairman of the National Aboriginal Conference of Australia speaking in English at the United Nations in Geneva
HAGAN: "In most states today, this situation has not changed. Fearing an erosion of their authority and their absolute control of the land's resources, these states continue their pursuit of economic power at the expense of the aboriginal people. They will not acknowledge as consequential in the least the intrinsic spiritual relationship with the land, that makes the concept of ownership, to an Aboriginal, far more profound than that of mere possession. They will not concede that which is known in the innermost soul of every Aboriginal, that the land is his spiritual temple, the very centre of his heritage, his culture, and his existence. As far as the state governments are concerned, mining and business interests dedicated to economic growth and the exploitation of natural resources are ruthlessly pursued in total disregard of the cultural heritage and basic human rights of the Aboriginal people."
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Background: A delegation of Australian Aborigines on Wednesday (3 September) called on the United Nations to investigate the plight of their people. The three-man group appeared before the U.N. Sub-Committee on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, in Geneva following the arrest last month of 53 Aborigines and their supporters, when they tried to prevent oil-drilling at one of their sacred sites in Western Australia. In a statement Mr James Hagan, chairman of the National Aborigines Conference, strongly criticised both State and Federal Governments in Australia for their refusal to protect aboriginal land rights.