OPINION by ERWIN CHLANDA
Amnesty International is offering some more of its wisdom about the Northern Territory Intervention.
Try this for size: “Nor is there evidence to suggest that school attendance correlates with increased performance or improved levels of numeracy and literacy.”
What? So kids not going to school are likely to do as well in numeracy and literacy as those who do?
And: “The 2007 Intervention … left many Aboriginal People traumatised when heavily armed army and police personnel were deployed to their communities.”
Where is Amnesty’s evidence that soldiers were “heavily armed”? Or indeed armed at all? The army was used to provide logistical and administrative support, as they are called on to do in other emergencies. The soldiers were dressed in fatigues and unarmed.
“Next year’s official end of the NT Emergency Response marks an end to a period which was a considerable blight on Australia’s human rights record.”
No recognition of the $1b extra expenditure, on top of the recurring significant annual outlays, to combat Indigenous disadvantage.
And perhaps more importantly, no recognition of the rights of children, women, the aged and other vulnerable Aboriginal people whom the Intervention has endeavored to protect.
These little gems from Sarah Marland, Amnesty International’s Campaign Co-ordinator on Indigenous Rights, come in the wake of the one-eyed “fact finding mission” by the organization’s Secretary General Salil Shetty at Utopia last month.
All this raises the question: If Amnesty can be so absurdly wrong on issues about which we have first-hand knowledge, how much can we trust their pronouncements about issues we don’t? Their continued blundering in this field puts their credibility seriously at risk.
Pictured: Naronda William Loy, 21, and her daughter Karlishia Raggatt, 1, with Mr Shetty, at Mosquito Bore, Utopia, last month. Photo courtesy Amnesty International and Chloe Geraghty.