Kez Hall

I attended the inaugural 1990 Training Program in Sydney and have photos of Dr Ramos-Horta, myself and the Aboriginal participants – including Delphine Stanford, Pilawuk (White) & Dolly Eatts – who later travelled Europe with her son to crusade for Indigenous rights in Australia following the fatal police shooting of her husband in their home in Sydney.

I also met Dr Pritchard at this forum and in Geneva when I did two meetings of the Working Group on the Rights of Indigenous People (WGIP) in 1991 & 1992, chaired then by Mdme Irene Dais.

Another participant from the 1990 program was Dr Marti Patel whom I worked with in Thailand at a 3 week training course she organised for displaced Burmese women (1993). These women represented several of the country’s ethnic nationalities and many were members of the National League for Democracy.

So great to see the magnificent strides the world of Human Rights has witnessed with the persistence of Aung San Suu Kyi & the NLD.

I am so proud to be associated with the DTP and the fantastic achievements of Dr Ramos-Horta and UNSW and Organisations like the Fred Hollows Foundation in this country.

I have been associated with Olga Havnen over the years and particularly when I was Chairperson of the Top End Aboriginal Coalition (TEAC) in the 1980’s, which championed the rights of Larrakia people and other groups living in the Greater Darwin area. We were one Organisation that lobbied for Constitutional reform and a share of the GDP of Australia for all Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander nations.

I also have an endearing legacy being taken to forums in my teens (1970’s), by my Mother, human rights activist Vai Stanton who was a friend of Sekai & Jim Holland, now working back in her homeland of Zimbabwe (and in honour of whom – I named my daughter Skei).

So many strong human rights advocates that I am in contact with from time to time like Sonia Smallacombe at the Permanent Forum in New York, Annie Kennedy who taught at the Burmese program & is involved in Central Australia & the Pacific on Women’s rights; Christine Charles, whom I call Sister, a long time champion of women and Indigenous rights and a close friend of Lowitja O’Donoghue whom I worked with on the CRC for Aboriginal Health & learnt from at the WGIP when she was ATSIC Chair.

I am proud to say I have held onto the teachings, some relationships and many of the foundations taught by DTP and the amazing people like John Scott-Murphy & Garth Nettheim.

I am fortunate to have participated in human rights forums in my youth around leaders like, Gary Foley, Bruce McGuinness, Linda Burney, Tom Calma, Marcia Langton, David Ross, Mick Dodson, Patrick Dodson, June Oscar and so many of our nations advocates in Australia.

Even though I now participate less publicly, I am heartened by the changes in civil society towards fundamental rights particularly the way Indigenous Nations exercise their rights and the lessons we can all take from the many locations and socio-economic & political circumstances. The least I can do is continue to be a member of the Congress and IHRNA to keep informed and involved to some extent.

In my other “life” as a mother and grandmother I will pass these legacies on to my grandchildren.

 

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