Recent events and media coverage have highlighted appalling abuse and discrimination of particular groups globally. The recent killing of black American George Floyd sparked outrage and public action in the United States and in many other countries. Ongoing reports of discrimination and abuse against Indigenous Australians are equally appalling and unacceptable.
We call for an end to structural racism in Australia and for a stronger commitment and greater progress towards advancing the wellbeing of Indigenous Australians, and eliminating all forms of abuse.
Racism is totally abhorrent to us and we reject it absolutely. We add our voice to the growing calls for action in Australia and globally. Addressing structural racism will require strong and long-term commitments from all levels of government, organisations and businesses, and the community. The momentum for change is growing with global leaders, businesses, public and private organisations, and individuals calling for genuine lasting change.
A week ago staff member Troy Combo, a Bundjalung man from Northern NSW, spoke to Burnet staff and students about Reconciliation Week reflecting that “As a nation it’s a time to reflect, and it reminds us we all have a part to play….and collectively build relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures.”
Aligned to our mission, Burnet respects, protects and promotes the human rights of vulnerable populations we work with regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, ethnicity, indigeneity, disability, age, health status, geographic location, displacement, caste, gender, gender identity, sexuality, sexual orientation, poverty, class or socio-economic status.
As a medical research institute and an international development agency, we believe that health is a fundamental human right. We support the World Health Organization’s definition of health as a state of physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
We all must take responsibility for addressing structural racism and disadvantage whether it is explicit or hidden. Despite our inclusive mission and values, we acknowledge that our own organisation still has much to improve upon in this regard, and we commit to doing just that.
We call for a national commitment to achieving a healthy, generous and inclusive society and genuine reconciliation with Indigenous Australians.