We of the Conflict Resolution Network express our profound sorrow at the past and present suffering and injustice experienced by indigenous Australians. We are conscious of the tragedies the past and we strive to be part of the design of a way forward.
We believe that reconciliation is a human rights and social justice issue, and as such it has our unfailing support.
We were deeply moved and relieved when on February 13, 2008 the Prime Minister of Australia, Mr Kevin Rudd, on behalf of the nation, officially apologised for the misguided actions of Government over many decades in the treatment of our indigenous Australians. The official apology was an inspiring model for reconciliation and a conflict resolution roadmap that we can look to in planning future initiatives.
The Conflict Resolution Network has been an advocate for the cause of reconciliation using our own extensive networks, media contacts and our website to disseminate factual, creative and persuasive information – aspiring, in this way to influence attitudes, practice and legislation.
Recognising that many Australians are ignorant or dismissive of the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dispossession and deprivation, we will make ourselves an avenue for letting the truth be known and acknowledged.
We have made a special outreach to some of our own traditional areas of support, including education, health, faith, police, corporate and community organisation sectors.
With deep faith in the consultative process, we see the need for programs in consultation with indigenous community, rather than assuming that we know what to do for people. It is wise to only undertake projects which have the informed consent of indigenous participants and to establish mutually-respecting partnerships.
We are conscious of the wide diversity of cultures within indigenous communities and design our approaches with sensitivity to this diversity.
Conflict Resolution Resources
We recognise that indigenous Australians have much to teach others about the peaceful resolution of conflict through customary laws, beliefs and traditions.
As an organisation whose purpose is to develop, research, teach and implement the theory and practice of Conflict Resolution, we endeavour to assure that our resources, such as books, manuals, brochures and posters are available to indigenous and reconciliation projects freely or at low cost.
All should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. We have long campaigned for the elimination of involuntary unemployment. We ask for an additional focus on “Work for all who need it” in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, thereby, we hope, making a contribution towards economic independence.
Focus on the removal of the poverty traps engendered by inadequate health, education and training programs is vital. This calls for intervention that is both responsive and pro-active.
A National Concern
We believe that reconciliation is everybody’s business and must remain on the national agenda.
An International Concern
We recognise that indigenous communities are disadvantaged worldwide, and dedicated work is needed to eliminate this discrimination.
We hope that organisations and individuals throughout Australia will each write their own Statement on Reconciliation.