Eurovision Song Contest: Jessica Mauboy will also be singing for the indigenous communities in Australia

In the shadow of the superstars: glitz and glamor can’t cover up the misery of the Aboriginal Australians (Press Release)

As a member of an indigenous community, Jessica Mauboy actively promotes much needed education projects for Aboriginal children. Photo: Eva Rinaldi via Flickr

The Aboriginal Australian superstar Jessica Mauboy will be taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in Lisbon. In this context, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) would like to draw attention to the misery of the Aboriginal inhabitants on the fifth continent. “Glitz and glamor and Australia’s most famous singer-songwriter can’t cover up the fact that the vast majority of the roughly 700,000 Aboriginal Australians are living in very poor conditions. On the contrary: as a member of an indigenous community, Jessica Mauboy actively promotes much needed education projects for Aboriginal children,” stated Yvonne Bangert, the STP’s expert on indigenous communities.

In a 17-page new memorandum, the STP lists sobering facts about the situation of the Aboriginal Australians. On average, they die fifteen years earlier than the non-Aboriginal Australians – and the proportion of Aboriginal Australians in prison is disproportionately high. It is not uncommon that even children have to serve prison sentences for trivial offenses. In April 2017, for example, the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, met Aboriginal Australians who had been arrested for stealing a piece of fruit or for sleeping in a dumpster. She criticized that they are apparently being punished for being poor.

“The Australian government is doing little to help the Aboriginal Australians overcome the severe trauma of the Stolen Generation, inflicted on them from 1900 until the early 1970s. The effects are still felt today,” Bangert criticized. Back then, up to 100,000 indigenous children were taken away from their families – and had to live in children’s homes or with white families. According to experts, the community of the Aboriginal Australians is suffering from widespread alcohol and drug abuse, high numbers of prison inmates and high suicide rates as a result of this loss of cultural identity. There is not enough funding for projects aiming to integrate the Aboriginal Australians, such as bilingual and bi-cultural education projects. 

“The Australian government has officially apologized to the Aboriginal Australians for the traumatic child abductions, but experts have already identified a new ‘Stolen Generation’, as Aboriginal children from so-called ‘problem families’ are often given to non-Aboriginal foster families – although they should, by law, grow up with relatives or an Aboriginal foster family, if possible,” Bangert emphasized.

You can download the german version of the memorandum report here.

Header Photo: Eva Rinaldi via Flickr