Friday, August 5, 2016
The United Nations human rights office said it was shocked by video footage that has emerged from Don Dale youth detention centre in the Northern Territory in Australia, showing children as young as 10 years old – many of whom are Aboriginal children – being held in inhumane conditions and treated cruelly. “Some children were held in isolation for extended periods, sometimes for several weeks, in hot and dark cells with no access to fresh air or running water. In one incident, six children were tear-gassed by prison guards,” said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN Higher Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
The videos, from 2014, show another child hooded and strapped to a chair for several hours. Others are shown being repeatedly assaulted and stripped naked. According to the children’s testimony, the abuses took place over several years. Most of the children who were held at the detention facility are deeply traumatized, the spokesperson said.
Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child stipulates that “every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age.”
“This important instrument focuses on the prevention of torture. Under the Protocol, Australia would establish a National Preventive Mechanism which conducts regular visits to all places of detention in the country,” Mr. Colville said.
(Adapted from a UN press release)