The United Nations has removed a historical document which claimed Tasmanian Aboriginal people are “an extinct race of humans” from its World Heritage Website.
The claim was included in a document which was central to the approval of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area in 1982 and also suggests thylacines may still be roaming the area.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation is expected to release an updated version of the document which acknowledges First Nations people’s deep connection with the Tasmanian wilderness next month.
The Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania (ALCT) told the ABC the document was an example of how “racist rhetoric” continues to be perpetuated.
Proud Palawa woman and ALCT’s manager Rebecca Digney says denying a class of people’s existence is “the cruellest thing you can do,” especially to “the survivors of a genocide.”
Tasmania’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister Roger Jaensch says the government is working with UNESCO to update the document.
“The Tasmanian Aboriginal people, their ancestors and descendants have a significant history in Tasmania that must be acknowledged.
“We have worked with the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council, and the Australian government, to provide feedback to UNESCO to prepare a Retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value that fully acknowledges the long and continuing culture of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community.”