Australia’s interventions in remote Aboriginal communities “overtly discriminate” against them, and prove that entrenched racism remains in Australia, a UN official said today. In 2007, Australia sent police and troops to aboriginal lands, and instituted special bans on alcohol and pornography. These measures "infringe their right of self-determination and stigmatize already stigmatized communities," a UN special envoy concluded after a 12-day visit.
Australia’s 460,000 Aborigines suffer from higher rates of unemployment, alcoholism, and domestic violence than other Australians, and live 17 fewer years on average. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has apologized to them for historical injustices and vowed to close the life expectancy gap. To that end, he’s promised to continue the intervention policy, which is popular in Australia, but has been criticized internationally.