Historically, many Indigenous peoples around the world have suffered from abuse, discrimination and marginalisation, and in many areas this continues today. One of Australia’s most pressing human rights issues is the significant health, educational and opportunity gaps between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.
Unfortunately, some businesses have directly or indirectly caused or contributed to adverse impacts on the rights of Indigenous people. However, many businesses increasingly understand the importance of positive Indigenous engagement, both within Australia and wherever Indigenous people are impacted by their activities.
Indigenous peoples are entitled to all human rights established under international law. In recognition of Indigenous peoples’ status as culturally distinct and self-determining peoples, and the unique challenges they have historically faced, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was developed to recognise Indigenous peoples’ individual and collective rights.
It is clear that business has a responsibility to respect human rights, including the rights of Indigenous peoples. Business also has an opportunity to promote and advance Indigenous rights, and many businesses are finding that respectful, positive engagement with Indigenous people can bring a range of benefits – stronger relationships with communities and other stakeholders, reputational benefits, employee engagement, recognition from investors, and the ability to partner with and learn from Indigenous people. Within Australia, business has a significant opportunity to help ‘close the gap’, and show respect and support for the human rights of Indigenous Australians.
The GCNA has launched an Indigenous Engagement Working Group to advance the dialogue around business and Indigenous rights. For more info, click here.
Further resources are available here