Just prior to the federal election of 2007, the Australian government led by John Howard decreed the “Northern Territory National Emergency Response”, commonly known as the Intervention, officially in reaction to an investigation by the Northern Territory government into allegedly rampant sexual abuse and neglect of Indigenous children.
The emergency laws authorised the Australian government to drastically intervene in the self-determination of Aboriginal communities in contravention of the UN Declaration of Human Rights and of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Far from improving the living conditions of Aboriginal Australians and children, the policies have resulted in disempowerment, widespread despair, criminalisation and higher unemployment. The Intervention and subsequent political measures have led to heated controversies and continue to divide the Australian nation. They have revived the trauma of the past—including of the Stolen Generations—and have substantially damaged the process of reconciliation.
14 essays by scholars from Australia and Germany examine (historical) contexts and discourses of the Intervention and subsequent policies impacting Aboriginal Australia since 2007 from the perspective of diverse academic disciplines including history, sociology, law, Aboriginal studies, art history, literature, education and media studies. They invite readers to engage in the debate about human rights, about Aboriginal self-determination, and about the preservation of Aboriginal culture.
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