Australia appoints its first Indigenous Peoples Ambassador
Sydney, Australia, Mar 7 (EFE).- Australia announced Tuesday the appointment of its first ambassador for indigenous affairs to include the voices of the native peoples of the oceanic country in its foreign policy, promote their rights and promote its development globally.
“This new position will ensure, for the first time, that Australia has indigenous representation in its international relations,” according to a statement signed by the country’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong and of Indigenous Affairs Linda Burney, as well as the special envoy for the Reconciliation Patrick Dodson.
The position will be held from April by Justin Mohamed, who has represented his country at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Affairs and has worked for years in favor of social justice, improvements in health and development Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, according to a Tuesday statement.
Mohamed has previously served as CEO of Reconciliation Australia, an NGO to improve ties between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – who comprise under 4 percent of Australia’s more than 25 million people – with the rest of the country’s communities.
The new ambassador will lead the First Nations Public Relations Department within the Australian Foreign Affairs Ministry to advance indigenous rights worldwide and promote the growth of indigenous trade and investment in the country, the official statement read.
“I want to sit back and listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the country as we develop foreign policies that put First Nations knowledge, voice and connection to the country at the forefront,” Mohamed said in the statement.
The government of Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who came to power in May 2022 with a tight climate and social inclusion agenda, plans to hold a referendum at the end of the year to include indigenous people in the constitution. He says this will give them a “voice in Parliament” to ensure greater participation of minorities in decision-making at a national level.
Indigenous Australians – not currently acknowledged in the country’s constitution, adopted in 1901 – have been victims of constant mistreatment since colonization, in addition to being dispossessed of their lands and systematically discriminated against by institutions, organizations and society in general. EFE