NT Royal Commission Report Released
The Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory Report has been released following months of inquiring into the failings of the child protection and youth detention systems in the Northern Territory.
Few who saw the images could forget the trigger for the establishment of the Royal Commission on Four Corners - Aboriginal child Dylan Voller hooded and shackled to a chair in Don Dale Detention Centre in Darwin.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples made clear the Australian Government’s responsibilities in her report on Australia:
Too many Aboriginal children across the country have not been afforded that treatment, respect and dignity.
The release of the Royal Commission report is a critical moment. It shines a light on the laws, policies and practices that are resulting in 97% of children in prison in the NT being Aboriginal. It proposes alternatives that must be taken up by government. Again, as the UN Special Rapporteur made clear:
The Rapporteur also noted that the crisis rates of incarceration:
“…raises concerns over racial discrimination in the administration of justice.”
States and Territories around the country are also locking up Aboriginal kids at extraordinary rates (26 times that of other Australian children), and similar cases of mistreatment and abuse have been reported in Queensland, NSW, Western Australia, Victoria, and the ACT.
All Australian governments must take immediate measures to reform our youth justice systems and address the recommendations of the Royal Commission. These must be developed collaboratively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities to ensure that all of Australia’s children thrive.
We’ll be releasing an open statement, along with our partners from the Change the Record Campaign, this coming Monday signed by 100 organisations seeking national leadership involving a nationally coordinated response from government. We’ll continue to push this issue with the release of our National Youth Justice Action Plan on the 27th November.
In the meantime, we need as many people as possible to sign the petition to show government that the Australian public no longer accepts locking up Aboriginal kids at 26 times the rate of other kids and treating them appallingly, locked up in jails.
We can’t let this Royal Commission be yet another inquiry that gathers dust on the shelves. Stand with us to help give the Royal Commission recommendations the best chance of success.
I’m sure you agree that we can’t let another generation of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people be let down and robbed of a future.
We will keep you informed of the next steps on this journey, and ways that you might be able to support progress on this issue.