Reconciliation Australia welcomes Royal Commission into NT juvenile detention system

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“Like many Australians, we are shocked and appalled at the footage aired on last night’s Four Corners program,” said Justin Mohamed, CEO of Reconciliation Australia. “There is no place for this mistreatment in today’s Australia.”

Whilst welcoming the Prime Minister’s call for a Royal Commission to “expose the culture that allowed [this] to occur” and ensure that “those that have done the wrong thing will be identified and dealt with”, Reconciliation Australia reminds Federal and Territory Governments alike of the pressing need to address the outstanding recommendations of the Royal Commission into Deaths in Custody.

“It’s been twenty-five years since the Royal Commission into Deaths in Custody, yet the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults and young people in custody has only increased,” said Mr. Mohamed. “This remains among the glaring disparities between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians today. It is a matter of national priority that these issues be urgently addressed.”

The over-representation of Indigenous youth in detention in Australia is 24 times the rate of other young people. These statistics are further magnified in the NT, where 96 per cent of incarcerated youth are Indigenous. As such, Reconciliation Australia particularly acknowledges the Northern Territory government’s continued efforts to address these concerns, prior to today’s announcement.

“If truth, justice and reconciliation are to be realised, we cannot let systemic failures like these spark outrage alone – they must spark genuine change,” Mr. Mohamed added.

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