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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University, Wellington. Vol. 22, No. 6. Wednesday, June 24, 1959

Human Rights

Human Rights

In terms of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, rights in which most Australians already share and which are by declaration of the General Assembly of U.N.O. are for everyone including minority groups.

Yet somewhere, somehow, large numbers of aborigines have just missed out.

In Queensland, for instance, aborigines under the Aborigines Act — and this means the majority—have little power to decide for themselves where they are going to live. In fact, they can and are incarcerated against their will on a Government or Church mission reserve.

(Law students note). There is no trial by jury for these original Australians, but by officials who may, in fact, be the accusers. In some parts of the Act the onus of proof is shifted from the accuser to the accused, contrary to the well established practice of British Law.

The private property of an aborigine may be seized arbitrarily. The Act provides that where a dark-skinned Australian refuses to obey such an order he "shall be guilty of an offence."

Here are just three points by which specific articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the General Assembly of U.N.O., are totally disregarded.

There is not the space to treat other things in detail, such as censorship of mail, compulsory work and low wages inadequate social service benefits, lack of education and cultural development, and totally inadequate training in democracy—all of which apply to Australia's first citizens in this year 1959.

While racial discrimination is a hot topic in New Zealand Salient thinks it might be interesting to look at others' problems close to home. The accompanying article by Tom Toogood is reprinted from Queensland University's "Semper Flor--eat."