Submission: Application of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Australia

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) seeks to provide protection to First Nations peoples worldwide. It establishes guidelines setting minimum standards for individual, cultural, and collective rights.  The UNDRIP was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007 and was adopted by Australia two years later in 2009. 

On 29 March 2022, the Senate referred an inquiry into the application of the UNDRIP to the Legal and Constitutional References Committee. NSWCCL has welcomed the opportunity to present a submission to the Committee, declaring that more can be done to better incorporate the principles and aims of UNDRIP into Australian law.

The Australian Government should implement the reforms proposed by the Justice Reform Initiative, particularly as they relate to First Nations peoples, including: 

  • increasing the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 14
  • addressing the rates of over-incarceration, over-policing, and over-criminalisation of First Nations peoples
  • prioritising the implementation of the Closing the Gap framework
  • establishing a constitutionally recognised First Nations Voice and a Makarrata Commission to oversee a process of agreement-making and truth-telling

First Nations peoples are disproportionately affected by all aspects of the criminal justice system, and First Nations children and young people are disproportionately affected by the low age of criminal responsibility. In addition to the negative impacts of incarceration, First Nations young people also suffer from disconnection from their culture and communities and are subject to widespread discrimination on the basis of their cultural identity and their status as First Nations peoples.

We strongly support the reforms proposed by the Justice Reform Initiative, and we recommend that the Australian Government implement the proposed reforms.

For more information, read the full submission