History[ edit ] The proposal and interim council — [ edit ] In the late s, there was an increasing focus on the global need for anthropological research into 'disappearing cultures'. One of their first actions was to appoint W. Academics and anthropologists in the field of Aboriginal Studies attended the conference,  and contributed research papers published in a conference report in
Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. Even so, the physical killing in a is seen by most Australians as wholesale killing within a short or definable time-frame and in a localised geography, such as death camps. Clearly there has been no Australian Auschwitz. Clearly, if there was no Aiatsis research discussion papers here, then no genocide occurred here.
Sinceas we will see, e has become the sharp focus. There are flaws - perhaps grievous ones - in the Convention. Nowhere is there mention of the role of the state as a perpetrator, yet it is the signatory state that is required Aiatsis research discussion papers report itself? Physical killing usually occurs in a compact time period - though not always so, as we will see with the Tasmanian and Queensland Aboriginal experiences.
Sterilisation and removal of children imply a much more enduring time frame, over generations perhaps. We know what constitutes serious bodily harm, but how do we calculate mental harm? The Convention equalised in seriousness, and in time, the act of physical killing with the act of forcibly removing children, an idea not easy to grasp.
There could well have been a scale, akin to the gradations of unlawful killing in the American criminal justice system, of genocide 1, genocide 2, genocide 3. Certainly there are gradations of genocide - differing motives, different orders and levels of intent, scale, method, outcome. Certainly the quantum leap from images of Auschwitz to sad and ragged children clustered in old sepia photographs is beyond most Australians.
Critics can rail at the presence of II ebut it is there, in a law treaty ratified by Australia inalbeit with some remarkable protests .
Overlooked by almost everyone, including genocide scholars, are clauses bc and d. In the vocabulary of genocide there are three parties: Within the latter category, there are those who are simply indifferent, those who are hostilely indifferent, those who are, in some degree, complicit, and those who are, for want of a clearer or better term, companions to events.
One can be a companion to something even in the act of opposing it. Thus, in South Africa, I was complicit in much of apartheid while teaching and writing about the evil of the system. It seems never to occur to those who deny involvement, or legal or moral guilt, or who distance themselves from past events, that they were, and are, indeed companions, and therefore in some degree complicit.
The other measuring-rod is to be found in the much broader conceptualisation suggested by the Berlin Director of the Centre for the Treatment of Torture Victims, Christian Pross: His less forensic concept facilitates a better appreciation of justifications, ideologies, race theories, motives and moral defences.
However much I prefer this approach, we should not stray from the international law wording and seek either proof or disproof in the definitions of historians and social scientists.
Certainly Arendt was trying to find words for that which was relatively new in our moral and physical experience - a monstrous attack upon human status and human diversity. Perhaps if she had looked at that much overlooked half-brother to the Holocaust, the killing of 1. Manne believes, with Raimond Gaita, that genocide can be committed by non-murderous means, such as the biological assimilation of Aborigines.
He is less certain about socio-cultural assimilation. Social science definitions assist us in analysis of causes and in conceptualising events. But if we venture into this realm of improved definitions, we will have no universally accepted yardstick - certainly no justiciable basis for trials of genocidal practice or for civil suits of restitution by victims.
Some theorists will seek to narrow the definition and others will expand the genocidal universe to the point of meaninglessness. Chalk and Jonassohn take the narrow view that "genocide is a form of one-sided mass killing" by the state or some other authority.
However, many cannot share his vision that the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor was "genocide resulting from ecological destruction and abuse".
The broadest view comes from the reputable scholar Henry Huttenbach: Courts would find it impossible to pinpoint "any act", the meaning of "existence" and what constitutes "jeopardy". Impunity in genocide is now an enormous issue, and the wider the concept the less likely any court will be able to arrive at conviction and punishment.
Misconstruing the nature of genocide, and failure to pay due attention to the partly precise, partly elusive language of Article II, can lead to some startling cases.
There is an ongoing application before the ACT Supreme Court by four Aborigines for the arrest of the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister on the grounds that by securing the Wik ten-point plan legislation in they committed specified and unspecified acts of genocide, and that all members of federal parliament have committed genocide by, inter alia, failing to enact an Australian offence of genocide .
The case could well be misguided and doomed, depending on the evidence adduced. We need a firm basis for both discussion and action and the only solid and universal definition, however flawed, is the one defined in international law.
In this tighter legal sense, Australia is guilty of at least three, possibly four, acts of genocide: Top of document Aborigines - and First Contact Aborigines probably landed on Cape York, in northern Australia, between - and this is hotly contested at present - 24, and 60, years ago, forming about tribes with different languages and customs, and numbering betweenandat the time of the British arrival, or invasion, in  Hunters and food-gatherers in an inhospitable land of low rainfall, they had no animals that could be domesticated.
Semi-nomadic, they roamed within set areas, in domains they called and still call their "country".AIATSIS RESEARCH DISCUSSION PAPER PDF document - DocSlides- NUMBER 28 ‘Will the Real Aborigine Please Stand Up’: Strategies for breaking the stereotypes and changing the conversation Scott Gorringe, Mithaka, Western Queensland Joe Ross, Bunuba, Fitz ID: The case could well be misguided and doomed, depending on the evidence adduced.
We need a firm basis for both discussion and action and the only solid (and universal) definition, however flawed, is the one defined in international law.
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