Australian aborigines demand UN refugee status

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Melbourne, Aug 26 (ANI): A group of Australian aborigines has requested the United Nations to grant them refugee status.

he aborigines allege that they have been displaced in their own land due to the imposition of emergency laws banning alcohol and sexual abuse.

Richard Downs, a spokesman of the 4000-member Alyawarra community in central Australia, said the request for refugee status had been forwarded to James Anaya, the United Nations special rapporteur on indigenous human rights, when he was visiting Australia on a fact-finding mission.

The Australian quoted Downs as telling the state radio: "We've got no say at all. We feel like an outcast in our community, refugees in our own country."

He said the letters to the UN are a symbol of the dissatisfaction of their people who protested last month in Ampilatwatja, 300km north-east of Alice Springs.

Downs alleged that the intervention on child sex abuse prevention, introduced in June 2007 had taken away their indigenous rights.

However, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the intervention would continue and its operation would be reviewed.

Australia has about 460,000 Aborigines who constitute about two per cent of the country's population.

An independent review in 2008 had revealed that the intervention affected 45,500 Aboriginal men, women and children in over 500 Northern Territory communities. (ANI)

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