Photographer's Note

International Human Rights Day falls on 10 December every year. This is a photo I took whilst attending a 2,000 strong march in the streets of Sydney Central Business District. The young man you see is Nathan Leslie, a proud Gomeroi/Kamillaroi man who is singing up the cleansing fire. The young woman holding the microphone is Elizabeth Jarrett, a proud young activist and writer from the Gumbunggyirr/Dunghutti tribes. The man you see behind Nathan is Uncle Ken Canning, a poet and elder from the Bidjara Nation.

The march was led by indigenous people from all over Australia. Also participating in the march were Australians from all walks of life, Irish people, Cubans, Native Americans, Mapuche and indigenous people from Uruguay and Guatemala.

During the speeches, a refugee indefinitely detained by the Australian Government on Manus Island telephoned through to the crowd and thanked the people for their support of refugees and their protest against their inhumane treatment by our Government.

2016 has not been a good year for human rights abuses against our First Nations Peoples. To name a few:

* The killing of David Dungay jnr in Long Bay Gaol on 31 December 2015. Almost a year later, his autopsy has only just been released. His treatment by prison authorities is captured on CCTV footage.
* The killing of Wayne Fella Morrison in Yatala Prison in April 2016.
* The killing of Rebecca Maher in a police lock up in Maitland in August 2016. Ms Maher had neither been arrested or charged, yet was put into custody by police. In breach of the law, a lawyer from Legal Aid was never informed. Legal Aid were not informed of her death until a month later.
* The killing of Ms Dhu in a Western Australian Lock up in November 2014 gaoled for non-payment of fines, an inquest in December 2016 found no police to be culpable despite horrific CCTV footage showing the contrary
* The non-fatal shooting by police of Dennis Doolan in September 2016. Mr Doolan was surrendering, not under arrest and had his back turned to police at the time.
* The killing of Steven Freeman in the Alexander Machonochie Prison in May 2016. He died from untreated head injuries. Questions are being asked as to how those head injuries were sustained
* The systemic torture of Aboriginal children in the Don Dale Correctional Centre in the Northern Territory and other prisons. This included tear gassing, water canons, the illegal use of restraint chairs and spit hoods, aswell as physical and sexual assaults - much of which has been captured on CCTV footage
* The murder of Elijah Doughty in Kalgoorlie Western Australia in August 2016, deliberately run over by a white supremacist
* The rape and murder of Lynette Daley in 2011. Three years later, after public pressure, two men have finally been charged but were granted bail
* The murder of 3 children in Bowraville 23 years ago. After a deliberately bungled police investigation, only in December 2016 has the perpetrator been brought to court.
* Countless other black deaths in custody, which are being reported on an average of 1 every 3 weeks
* Over 20,000 Aboriginal children taken from their parents and placed into Care. The rate is 5 times higher than the height of the Stolen Generations

Despite what our government tells the world, the human rights abuses in this country are systemic and systematic. The fight against these abuses can be disillusioning at times, but can never stop

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Additional Photos by Lisa DP (delpeoples) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5630 W: 351 N: 12436] (60288)
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