News National Norfolk Island takes Australia to UN over human rights

Norfolk Island takes Australia to UN over human rights

norfolk island
Norfolk Island seeks revenge on Australia for 'disenfranchising' its people with 2015 takeover. Photo: Norfolk Island Tourism
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The residents of Norfolk Island have taken Australia to the United Nations to answer claims of human rights breaches.

The tiny island which is positioned about 1400 kilometres east of Australia’s mainland, has launched a case with the United Nations.

Norfolk Island was self-governed from 1979 to 2015 before then-prime minister Tony Abbott abolished the local parliament, appointing an administrator to take full control of the island’s governance.

Prominent human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC will allege on behalf of Albert Buffett, the president of the Norfolk Island Council of Elders, that the Australian government has breached an international covenant on civil and political rights following the forced takeover.

Mr Robertson will argue the people of Norfolk Island were “disenfranchised” by the 2015 takeover, with laws denying them numerous welfare rights including health, education, and criminal matters imposed from NSW, where they have no vote.

The case will allege the island has been left in “legal limbo” by not being named part of an Australian state or territory, which excludes from the protections of the Australian constitution and bars it from accessing the court system.

It also alleges the Australian government made efforts to suppress the indigenous history and culture on Norfolk Island, including the seizure of historical artefacts and parliamentary records, commandeering the local radio station and imposing rates on family land granted to the descendants of the Bounty mutineers.

The UN Human Rights Committee will investigate whether the Australian government is in breach.

The New Daily contacted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s office for comment but did not receive a response by deadline.

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