Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Australia tortures children

Yesterday we got to see how Australia treats its children in prison. And its not pretty:

Disturbing footage has emerged of a 17-year-old boy, who was one of six boys tear gassed at a juvenile detention centre near Darwin, Australia, being strapped to a mechanical restraint chair.

The footage is part of a catalogue of evidence obtained by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)'s Four Corners programme of the repeated assault and mistreatment of boys at youth detention centres the Northern Territory.

The vision shows prison officers strapping a 17-year-old boy, identified as Dylan Voller, being handcuffed, hooded and strapped to a mechanical restraint chair for almost two hours.


The shocking footage also shows the teenager being thrown across his cell, kneed and knocked to the ground, repeatedly stripped naked and also kept in solitary confinement.

The teenager was among six boys tear gassed at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in Berrimah, near Darwin, in August 2014.

This is Abu Ghraib stuff, and a clear violation not just of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, but also of the Convention Against Torture. The Australian government has already announced an inquiry, but given that some of it is their own CCTV footage which they've had for over a year, you have to wonder why they didn't do that when it first came to their attention. And of course the real test is prosecutions. Children have been tortured. Will the torturers end up in court? Will they be jailed if convicted? If not, it is hard to view this "inquiry' as anything other than a British-style PR-exercise, aimed at dissipating public anger while ensuring that nothing really changes.