An Australian television investigation has brought to public awareness practices within the Northern Territory juvenile justice system that rival Guantanamo Bay at its worst. Youths, mainly indigenous, aged between 10 and 17 have been kept in solitary confinement, stripped naked, thrown about their cells by adult males, hit, sprayed with capsicum spray, and strapped to chairs with spit hoods over their heads when they threaten self-harm. No doubt worse has happened. This has been occurring for years, and politicians and other authorities have been aware. It was only when they television report aired on national television that any action has been taken – the calling of a Royal Commission.
A royal commission is an investigation. At the end of a long series of investigations, testimonies and millions of dollars spent, a series of recommendations will be made that may or may not be enacted.
Once again, I am ashamed to be Australia. We consider ourselves, civilised, higher order thinkers. The depths we plummet to, so routinely, continue to astound me. “Man’s inhumanity to man” expands unrestrained.
These aren’t children who have murdered or raped. They are children from dysfunctional homes who have stolen cars for joy rides or broken into homes for money. Yes, they need to face consequences, but not the total annihilation of their human rights! How could any person think that beatings and fear would ever rehabilitate these children?
Why is it a wrong only when someone else knows about it, though?
All the politicians knew, many of them voted for restraint chairs and hoods, and they thought that was the correct way to treat a child? Now that the general public is aware they are all back paddling as fast as they can and denying they knew, or only half knew, even when there is documentary evidence that they did!
So, between Pauline Hanson with her racist discrimination, and politicians who disregard human rights, Australia is falling itself as a nation. This is not good enough. We need to look within and reflect upon our roles in our nation’s direction. Remember also, that choosing to take no action is a decision to allow things to continue. Think globally, act locally. Do something.