Tag Archives: Human rights

Plundered & Broken

FullSizeRender-191

The tale of Aboriginal plunder is a never-ending ballad that sings in the winds of this great country, a land that Elea (Albert) Namatjira painted so lovingly in watercolour. Namatjira’s world-renowned artistic status may have provided him with a thin shield against racism but it was easily shattered, even his greatness, wealth and innocence could not protect him from incarceration.

FullSizeRender-111
Namatjira surrounded by family as he painted

The legend begins when Artist , Rex Battarbee took a painting trip into the Outback, after returning from the devastation of War in the 1930’s. He met Namatjira and it was through their collaboration that the 30-year-old Aranda man learnt to paint and exhibit. They went onto become lifetime friends, able to see pass the bigotry of the day.

International success took this humble man to great worldly heights, he was awarded the Coronation Medal and was the toast of the town. His exhibitions sold out shortly after they opened and most kitchens had one of his reproductions on a calendar or tea towel.

FullSizeRender-119

Before the 1967 Referendum, Australian Aboriginals where denied Human Constitutional Rights and were categorised as part of the wildlife or wards of the state. They were denied most basic human rights and in an insipid twist of irony could not own their land as it had been acquired by the Commonwealth.

Namatjira’s unprecedented rise on the world stage would require him to have a passport and his growing wealth attracted taxes, thus him and his wife Robina were given Australian citizenship  in 1957, enabling him to buy a house in Morris Soak .

Unfortunately his children were not granted citizenship and were regarded as ‘Wards of the State’ as all Aboriginal people were. They did not have the right to choose their marriage partner, be legally responsible for their own children,to change location or socialise with non-aboriginals. It also meant that when the Great Artist and his wife died the Legal Will that aimed to financially protect their children was made void as his children belonged to the state. Their financial copyright royalties were ‘acquired’ by the state and sold on.

The Namatjira Project  began as an objective to buy back the royalties (which will expire shortly) but has become a legal investigation.

The most moving part of the film is when Namatjira’s  homeless grandson gives his artwork to the Queen in her palace and walks away empty-handed. The documentary is a thoughtful journey, full of beautiful archives and an artistic vision, they tip toe over a mine field but I think they have let off a bomb.

*Due to the humane efforts of The Namatjira Project, the Royalties have been returned.

fullsizerender-189.jpg

FullSizeRender-190

 

April Forward

 

The Namatjira Family continue the water-colour tradition as their cultural inheritance.

 

 

THE NAMATJIRA PROJECT

DIRECTOR & CINEMATOGRAPHER Sera Davies

PRODUCER

Sophia Marinos

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

Julia Overton

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS (CULTURAL)
Lenie Namatjira
Gloria Pannka

An Important Woman and How a Melbourne Man rescued a slave.

Stop Human trafficking

“Seven young women were huddled together on bare mattresses on the floor. Condoms strung over the garbage can, plastic bags of their street clothes and working clothes, just terrified. Beaten and terrified.

Blow by blow it hurts, it hurts on so many levels and then it hurts again. Every thing is affected when human relationships are punctured by trust.

Young European girls are lured by attractive boys or modelling prospects and then beaten,raped and resold as slaves. They are denied every level of freedom.

IMG_3936

The terrible suffering of parents, brothers and sisters that mourn for them would be shocked to realise the protectors are the facilitator. Young women thrown in dirty cells untill the next United Nations officer pays the brothel, for her service.

Kathryn Bolkovac was a UN officer in Bosnia in the late 1990s. She was a police investigator for ten years and spent two years in Bosnia as a Peace Keeper with the United Nations.

She reported on the white slave trade and was dismissed in a cover-up by the UN, that not only utilised stolen women, they perpetuated the suffering. She discovered that the UN officers were frequenting a bar that used hostaged women as sexual objects and tortured them on stage.

Bolkavac went through the regulatory channels to report and help the young women. She was sacked.

A movie starring Rachel Weisz, ‘The Whistleblower‘ dramatised the main events that  Kathryn Bolkovac witnessed. A book with the same title, names the perpetrators.

This is the account of what happened.in her own words.IMG_3944

. “I want to educate the naive ……. these injustices can only be described as a disease , it destroys the very frame-work that was created to set the example of law and justice.

I witnessed violent acts against women and children in the aftermath of Genocide that facilitated human trafficking

I saw disturbing and inexcusable acts (of UN employees) these included sexual harassment of female employees. Employers were becoming frequent users of  (rape) pornography, frequenting prostitutes and admitting to purchase foreign women to keep at home with them as their ‘girlfriends’.”

I witnessed, experienced and lived the retaliation of those that tried to investigate a report. Reports of UN officers facilitating human trafficking across international borders.I heard deregulatory comments regarding the innocent, being refered to as whores of war.

I was demoted and dismissed.”

Slavery, tragically, is one of the strongest economic ‘industries’ in the modern world. Bolkavac claims that helping the healing process of the victims is a key to the important legal testimony of the crime.

The Whistleblower currently on NETFLIX

IN AUSTRALIA

IMG_3906

Human Trafficking is a serious human rights violation globally and a crime here in Australia. People from 136 different countries were trafficked into 118 different countries between 2007 and 2010. Australia is one of the destinations where people are being trafficked.

Australian Red Cross has managed the government-funded Support for Trafficked People (STPP) program since 2009. The aim is to meet the health and welfare needs of people who have been trafficked and to help them re-establish their lives.

The program is an integral part of support and advocate for people who have been made vulnerable through the process of migration. Since beginning this work, Red Cross has provided support to more than 130 women and men who have been trafficked to Australia. Our clients come from diverse cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds, reflecting the global nature of human trafficking.

IMG_3947

Providing this support cannot be done in isolation.The Red Cross works collaboratively with government agencies, NGOs, and service providers to meet the needs of people who have been trafficked. This ensures that they provide comprehensive support as they recover from their experience.

A person in a trafficking situation may not always be kept under lock and key. They may appear to have some freedom, but they may be subject to more subtle forms of control. Depending on the specific type of trafficking, members of the community – co-workers, suppliers, health care workers, social workers, shop owners, in fact anyone in the community – could have contact with a trafficked person.

Unless members of the community know the signs, they may not be able to recognise and report human trafficking. There are a number of signs which could indicate a person has been trafficked. It is important to remember that, on their own, these signs do not automatically mean someone is being exploited or trafficked. They simply tell us that ‘something’ may be happening and that we need to seek advice to find out more information.

Red Flags of Slavery

img_4179

• Is deceived about working conditions in Australia.

• Has no control over their place of work or hours of work, or is being confined or isolated in the workplace and only leaves at odd times.

• Is not being paid or appears to be repaying a large debt to their employer or a third party (such as a recruitment service).

• Is subject to, or is threatened with violence in connection with their employment.

• Has personal documents, such as passports, held by a third person and they are not allowed to access these documents when they wish to do so.

• Is subject to different or less favourable working conditions than other employees who are permanent residents or citizens of Australia.

HOW A MELBOURNE MAN IN HONG KONG,

BECAME A QUIET HERO

He was wandering through an area in Hong Kong when a woman approached him,

“Help me!” She pleaded quietly, as the Brothel Madam watched on, in the distance.

“Go away” he yelled, as he whispered “I’ll be back”.

He came back and ‘rented her’ to procure her details. She was a educated woman offered a career advancement in Hong Kong, however when she arrived, her passport was taken from her and she was forced into sexual slavery.

He contacted the police and escalated the matter as far as it could go. A sting operation was organised to rescue her and the other victims.

She is now home safe in Thailand and corresponds her gratitude to her Australian Hero.

(for matters of security names are with-held)

IMG_3950

Australian High Court and slavery, the case of Wei Tang:

Wei Tang The High Court has provided judicial guidance on the meaning of slavery in the Criminal Code in its ruling R v Tang (2008) 237 CLR 1 (R v Tang). The accused in this case was Ms Tang, the owner of a licensed brothel in Melbourne. In 2003, she had been arrested and charged for slavery offences allegedly committed against five women, all of whom were Thai nationals.

Ms Tang and her associates had ‘purchased’ each of these women for a fee of $20,000, with Ms Tang taking a 70 percent share in the purchase. Each of the women were considered to be contract workers, who had agreed to repay a debt of around $45,000, which was owed to the syndicate involving Ms Tang. For each client that the women serviced, $50 of the $110 service price would be applied to their debt and the remainder would go to the syndicate.

In other words, the debt could be repaid after the woman had serviced around 900 customers, during which time she effectively earned very little money to keep for herself.

refer to

http://www.antislavery.org.au

http://www.redcross.org.au    www.aic.gov.au  Art2Healing Project

Heyman Center for the Humanities