Forming partnerships with others is a key part of our work to promote justice for Indigenous peoples and Reconciliation.
Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR)
ANTaR was one of the first projects of the Edmund Rice Centre. The organisation was formed in 1997 in response to the Howard Government's 10-Point Plan to extinguish Native Title rights.
ANTaR is dedicated to promoting the rights - and overcoming the disadvantage - of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This is done through lobbying, public campaigns and advocacy. There is a strong focus on raising awareness among non-Indigenous Australians about the injustices faced by Indigenous people.
Sea of Hands
The Sea of Hands was preceded by a petition, the Citizens Statement on Native Title, which was authored by Phil Glendenning and launched in 1997 by Charles Perkins. Recognising that petitions rarely have much impact, the organisers sought a way of producing a more effective and lasting result. Australian Artists Against Racism (AAAR) developed the idea of coloured hands in the colours of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags and the name 'Sea of Hands' was also conceived at this time.
The first Sea of Hands was staged in October 1997 - 70,000 coloured hands were displayed in front of Parliament House in Canberra. Six weeks later, the Sea of Hands returned, this time with 120,000 hands to launch a blueprint for a co-existence to Native Title.
The Sea of Hands was displayed in every major city and many regional locations across Australia. Many local reconciliation and community groups staged small Sea of Hands events.
The Lingiari Foundation
The Lingiari Foundation was established in 2001 to promote the advancement of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Patrick Dodson has been the Chair of the Foundation since it was established.
Our work is shaped by a commitment to Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Earth Charter, tradition of Catholic Social Teaching and the charism of Blessed Edmund Rice.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected. The Declaration states -
That every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance"
UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees
The Convention relating to the Status of Refugees was approved in 1951 and defined who is a refugee and sets out how refugees (and people seeking asylum) should be treated. The Convention also includes the principle of non-refoulement - the principle that a country cannot send a refugee back to a country where his or her life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The Declaration was adopted by the UN in 2007, despite opposition from a small number of countries, including Australia. The Declaration sets out the rights of indigenous peoples, such as their rights to culture, identity, language, employment, health and education. It also "emphasises the rights of indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions, and to pursue their development in keeping with their own needs and aspirations". It "prohibits discrimination against indigenous peoples", and it "promotes their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them and their right to remain distinct and to pursue their own visions of economic and social development". Australia endorsed the Declaration in 2009.
The Earth Charter
The Charter recognises that humanity and the Earth are interdependent - we have a responsibility to to achieve sustainable development and sustainable ways of living. The mission of the Earth Charter is to promote the transition to sustainable ways of living that includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy and a culture of peace.
Catholic Social Teaching
'The permanent principles of the Church's social doctrine . . . are: the dignity of the human person, the common good, subsidiarity, and solidarity. These principles, the expression of the whole truth about the human person known by reason and faith, are born of "the encounter of the Gospel message and of its demands summarised in the supreme commandment of love of God and neighbour in justice with the problems emanating from the life of society".'
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church par.160
Charism of Blessed Edmund Rice - Presence. Compassion. Liberation
Presence: We are present among and stand in solidarity with those who are victims of any form of disadvantage, marginalisation and exclusion. In their presence, we build relationships based on mutual respect, trust and accountability.
Compassion: We respond with compassion, which refuses to accept global poverty and suffering and which awakens us to our responsibilities and compels us to take action.
Liberation. Compassion by definition demands action to address injustice. Justice is the social manifestation of compassion. A strong commitment to justice as the foundation for a peaceful world
Edmund Rice showed people that life could be lived differently, that human relationships could be different, that the dominant culture need not have the answers to how a society operated.
Philip Pinto cfc, Former Congregation Leader, 2006