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Norfolk Council of Elders confident over appeal to UN

The Norfolk Council of Elders remains confident its appeal to the United Nations against Australia's take over of the island will succeed.

Photo: Norfolk Government

Australia controversially ended Norfolk Island's political and economic autonomy in 2015.

There have been ongoing protests since, not least a tent vigil at the old government buildings that is now into its fourth year.

The president of the Council of Elders, Albert Buffet, said they were challenging Australia's position that the descendants of Pitcairn Island, who moved to Norfolk in the mid-nineteenth century, were not indigenous.

He said they were recognised as such by the UN and academic experts as having their own unique language, customs and traditions.

"One of the things of indigenous people is self identification, and we are saying 'yes, we are.'

"And the population of Pitcairn was moved here and it's virtually the first voluntary population of Norfolk Island, and we represented the eight families that were from Pitcairn and we are still here today."

Canberra ended Norfolk's autonomy in 2015 saying the island could not survive economically on its own.

The islanders, who had had their own legislature, have since been included as part of the constituency of Bean in Canberra.

Government services are provided by New South Wales but the islanders have no vote in that state's elections.

Mr Buffet said the Council of Elders was appealing to the Human Right Council in Geneva, challenging the actions of Canberra, and asserting its indigenous rights.

He said it was also appealing to the UN to be included in the Special Committee on Decolonisation, C-24.

Originally published by Radio New Zealand


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