Nonprofit Ready
MEDIA, JOBS & RESOURCES for the COMMON GOOD
News  |  Policy

Next-Gen Indigenous Leader Addresses UN Human Rights Council


Wednesday, 4th July 2018 at 3:21 pm
Paul Carter
A rising voice of Indigenous leadership has addressed the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva asking it to pressure Australian state and territory governments to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years.


Wednesday, 4th July 2018
at 3:21 pm
Paul Carter


1 Comments


FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

 Print
Next-Gen Indigenous Leader Addresses UN Human Rights Council
Wednesday, 4th July 2018 at 3:21 pm

A rising voice of Indigenous leadership has addressed the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva asking it to pressure Australian state and territory governments to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years.

Indigenous advocate Keenan Mundine first entered juvenile custody aged 14 years. Both his parents died during his troubled childhood in Sydney’s Redfern.

He’s now a principal consultant of Inside Out Aboriginal Justice Consultancy in Sydney, and an activist gaining prominence in the #RaiseTheAge campaign – to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years.

While representing others as young as 10 years who were kept in custody, this week Mundine told his story to the world’s peak human rights body, of which Australia is a member.

“This year alone, around 600 children under the age of 14 will be taken from their families and imprisoned. This injustice must end,” Mundine told the council in his address.

“In joining this council, the Australian government promised to uphold human rights and champion Indigenous peoples’ rights.

“For as long as Indigenous children are 25 times more likely to be sent to prison than non-Indigenous children, these will be hollow promises.”

About 70 per cent of the 600 children taken into custody each year were Indigenous, figures showed.

Two years after the ABC’s Four Corners program exposed abuse of children in the Don Dale prison, pressure is mounting on Australian state and territory governments to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years.

Australia had one of the lowest ages of criminal responsibility in the democratic world. The median age in Europe was 14 years.

Cheryl Axleby, co-chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, said in addition to raising the age to 14 years, more support was needed for Indigenous-led programs.

“Australian youth prisons are institutional racism in action. Criminalising the behaviour of young, vulnerable children – who are mostly Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander – creates further disadvantage and traps children in the criminal justice system,” Axleby said.

Ruth Barson, a director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, said children should be in classrooms not courtrooms.

“Raising the age is a simple reform that would make a world of difference,” Barson said.

Across Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children made up more than 50 per cent of the children locked away in youth prisons, figures showed.

Belinda Lowe, Indigenous rights campaigner at Amnesty International, said the criminal justice system was failing kids and failing communities.

“Children thrive best with their families and in their communities. Let’s instead focus on prevention not detention,” Lowe said.

Indigenous infographic




Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers?

Get in touch at news@probonoaustralia.com.au

 Print

Get more stories like this

FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

One Comment

  • Avatar Michael Fletcher says:

    The Djap Wurrung trees are a sacred and spiritual place that is of great significance and importance to the tradition custodians of Australia. Governments would never think of knocking down stone hedge or the st Peter’s cathedral to build a road so why would they knock over these precious trees which have the same significance, if not more, to our tradition guardians of this extremely precious land. Woman have for many many years turned to these trees for spiritual assistance when giving birth. They must be protected at all cost!!!! If the Australian government is going to let this happen they better reclaim Australia as terra nullius because there no way they can claim to acknowledge Indigenous rights but then destroy one of there most sacred sites!!

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Doco of the month: Backtrack Boys

Wendy Williams

Thursday, 10th October 2019 at 8:46 am

UN pressures governments to stop locking up children

Luke Michael

Wednesday, 25th September 2019 at 5:14 pm

Gillian Triggs to shine a light on Australia’s refugee treatment

Maggie Coggan

Monday, 12th August 2019 at 5:04 pm

POPULAR

Australia is bracing for a tsunami of homeless women

Jan Berriman

Thursday, 10th October 2019 at 7:30 am

NDIS struggling to accommodate people with psychosocial disability

Luke Michael

Monday, 7th October 2019 at 3:48 pm

White Ribbon closes down amid financial turmoil

Luke Michael

Thursday, 3rd October 2019 at 5:10 pm

Nonprofit Ready
pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

Get the social sector's most essential news coverage. Delivered free to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

You have Successfully Subscribed!