There were strong calls for the recent Royal commission into Juvenile Detention in the Northern Territory to be a nationwide investigation.
These calls went unheard by the Prime Minister who appeared shocked by the news that came out of the Northern Territory. There were claims that similar mistreatment was occurring in other states such as Queensland, Western Australia & New South Wales.
Now fresh allegations have surfaced from Western Australia that are set to rock Australia once again and bring about even more international shame and condemnation. The allegations have come from Western Australia’s only juvenile detention centre (Banksia Hill). This centre already made headlines over the last 12 months with chemical agents, flash bombs and laser sighted shotguns loaded with beanbags being used on inmates that range between 10 & 17 years old.
The latest allegations involve extreme torture that is not even permitted in Guantanamo bay. It is alleged that an Indigenous Aboriginal and an Indigenous Maori inmate were in the centre’s isolation unit (ISU) for over 200 days. The United Nations calls Isolation a human rights abuse when it is used on a child for even 1 day. We have been informed that deportation papers have already been issued to the young Maori detainee. The Aboriginal detainee is also at the centre of sexual misconduct allegations where a female prison worker was charged with three counts of indecent dealings with a child.
The centre has also made headlines due to a sharp increase in the number of self-harm attempts. Western Australia’s own chief inspector of prisons also labelled the prison as a failure but conceded that the state was in no position to follow through with his recommendations because of budget constraints.
Will the federal government allow budget constraints to come before human rights? How long will we continue to see shocking allegations like these surface? The answers are already there, reports have already been completed. Please act on them! And when it comes to Indigenous youth, please start working with our communities and invest Indigenous initiatives which might actually save some money from your precious budget.