New Indigenous Rights Network in Australia

Despite the disappointment that a national Human Rights Act has been relegated to the Australian Government's back-burner, Indigenous Australians are getting on with advocating and promoting their human rights.


A new advocacy network - the Indigenous Human Rights Network Australia, (pronounced ‘er na') - focusses on human rights based approaches to a range of challenges, including areas of interest to CEESP such as gender, governance, discrimination, water, traditional knowledge, climate change and country.

The network is still young, but it's roots are in organisations, institutions and progressive Australians which have a proud record in human rights advocacy and achievement. These include the Australian Human Rights Commission, Oxfam Australia, and the Diplomacy Training Program at the University of New South Wales (which has also had Oxfam support). According to the network website, the members of the IHRNA interim Steering Committee, which will guide the INHRA through its first 12-18 months are:

  • Mick Gooda (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner)
  • Katie Kiss (Acting Director, Social Justice Unit, Australian Human Rights Commission)
  • Karina Menkhorst (National Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples' Program, Oxfam Australia)
  • Rebecca Smith (Self Determination Program Coordinator, Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Peoples' Program, Oxfam Australia)
  • Patrick Earle (Executive Director, Diplomacy Training Program)
  • Geoff Hazell (Programs Coordinator, Diplomacy Training Program)
  • Brian Wyatt
  • Tania McLeod
  • Melissa Saunders (Gungarri, Western Queensland)
  • Margaret Raven (IHRNA Coordinator, Australian Human Rights Commission)

Members of the network will be Australians with Indigenous human rights advocacy experience or interest at local, national or international levels, who endorse the values of IHRNA and who will support its active development.

Oxfam Australia financially supported the establishment of the network in 2009, following a 2007 report commissioned by Oxfam and the Australian Human Rights Commission that found that Indigenous Australians wanted access to information and education about human rights, and capacity-building for advocacy work.

Work area: 
Social Policy
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