National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Human Rights and Advocacy Summit

Program Dates: 10 – 14 February (2014)

This program built on the strong history of the Diplomacy Training Program and Oxfam Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Program working together to build the capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community advocates.

The Summit brought together 38 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth participants, aged between 18 and 25 years, from across Australia for a five day intensive residential course. The young people who attended were selected based on a demonstrated passion and commitment for working directly with communities to bring about positive change.   

The focus of the Summit was on human rights and the rights of Indigenous Peoples, international mechanisms available to support Indigenous Peoples in claiming their rights and practical skills training around effective advocacy for rights.  A key component of the five days was to provide opportunities for the young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advocates to share and learn from each other’s experiences, to gain national perspective and to build support networks.  

Indigenous and non-Indigenous trainers, including Benson Saulo, Tammy Solonec, Seranie Gamble and Katie Kiss worked with the young people to develop their knowledge of international standards and conventions on human rights and the United Nations processes for monitoring and encouraging governments to respect, protect, and fulfil human rights. The history of Indigenous engagement with the United Nations was shared and participants workshopped key aspects of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Karrina Nolan and Bill Barker worked with the young people to build their understanding and skills related to effective community development and advocacy. Chamoru Human Rights Lawyer and activist, Julian Aguon, shared the story of the struggle for self-determination in Guam and the role of international law in this context.

 See Report