Amnesty: Australia must address abuse of child prisoners News
Amnesty: Australia must address abuse of child prisoners

[JURIST] Following released footage [ABC report] showing indigenous children being abused while in detention in Australia’s Northern Territory, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] called upon the Australian government Thursday to alter its current juvenile detention policies. Among the abuses are use of tear gas, hooding the children and strapping them to restraint chairs, all of which AI Senior Research Adviser for South East Asia and the Pacific, Champa Patel, called “shocking violation[s] of both the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention against Torture.” AI has called upon Australia to ratify the UN Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) [materials], which would allow for extensive, independent supervision of the country’s detention facilities through a National Preventative Mechanism (NPM). The news report goes on to compare the indigenous children detention facility conditions to those of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib with the children facing verbal abuse, little access to water and natural light, and denial of access to education.

This most recent video will bring further international scrutiny to Australia’s handling of detainees and prisoners. In May the Papua New Guinea officials stated Australian refugees are not being detained [JURIST report], as they are given access to mainland Australia, although refugee advocates believe that the refugees are being faced with arbitrary restrictions to the mainland. The statement by officials followed a ruling by the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court that the Australian off-shore detention facility was illegal, in direct opposition to a ruling [JURIST reports] by the Australian Supreme Court earlier this year that the off-shore detention was legal. In February the UN Human Rights Committee issued a report [JURIST report] in which it stated Australia had violated the rights of Guantanamo detainee David Hicks, continuing to detain him after his transfer from the United States.