New resource for Indigenous community advocates

Media Releases article written on the 14 Oct 2009

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people around the country will be able to learn more about their human rights as well as their rights as Indigenous peoples and how best to use them to help their communities, with the launch of a new practical guide.

The guide, “Free and Equal”, has been produced by Oxfam Australia and the Diplomacy Training Program.

Patrick Earle from the Diplomacy Training Program said the aim of the guide was to provide a practical resource for Indigenous community advocates to learn more about their rights, and the responsibilities of Australian governments and officials to respect, protect and fulfill these rights. 

“All governments have responsibilities for human rights.  Learning about human rights is one important step that can help advocates and their communities have their voices heard when governments are making decisions that affect their lives, and for making government more accountable,” Mr Earle said. 

Oxfam Australia’s Indigenous Program Manager Karina Menkhorst said the Diplomacy Training Program and Oxfam Australia had been working together for several years to run human rights training programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“What we’ve heard is that people want accessible, relevant materials that help them clearly understand human rights and how they apply them to their communities and lives. We hope this guide will provide that,” Ms Menkhorst said.

The guide has been designed so that it can be used in a variety of settings. It includes information about human rights at an Australian and international level, as well as the new Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples supported by the Australian government. 

It also includes information about techniques communities can use to help them access their rights, such as lobbying governments through meetings and letters, and speaking with the media.

People can request copies of “Free and Equal” by contacting Natasha Newman at Oxfam Australia on 03 9289 9372 or email

For more media information, or for interviews contact:

From the Diplomacy Training Program: Patrick Earle 0401 932 196

From Oxfam Australia: John Lindsay; 03 9289 9413 or  0425 701 801