2.1.1.4 Australia and the Pacific

Indigenous peoples have lived in this region for more than 40,000 years, but currently there are only 1.5 million Indigenous people distributed throughout Australia, New Zealand, Guam, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Tuvalu and Kiribati. On one hand, ethnic diversity in the context of great biodiversity represents the richness of this insular region. In Papua (New Guinea] alone, there are more than 250 identified ethnic groups, and in Kiribati, 99 per cent of its inhabitants are indigenous Micronesians. On the other hand, this region is marked by social inequality.

Aboriginal Australian life expectancy is 17 years less than that of the non-Indigenous population in that country. In an unprecedented event, the Australian government recently apologized to the “Stolen Generation,” acknowledging the involvement of government power in crimes against the native population.