Shut Down Your CBD to Shut Youth Prisons and End Deaths in Custody
31st July 2017
First nations people and non-Indigenous people from around Australia have called for an International Week of Action at the end of September to shut youth prisons and end deaths in custody. Watch the call out video on facebook here or youtube here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcJKoiph8Ls
The end of September marks the handing down of recommendations by the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory. The end of September also marks the anniversary of Wayne Fella Morrison’s death in custody and the death of John Pat in Roebourne in 1983.
“For our people who have passed away in custody we need to fight, we need to stand up and we need to raise our voice because we have the privilege of still having one” said Latoya Rule, Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR)
“I’d love to come over and lead the way to shut down the Sydney Harbour Bridge just like we want youth justice prisons shut… whoever wants to join us can shut down whatever they want to shut down, small towns to big cities.” said Dylan Voller, youth justice advocate.
“What I call for is action lines! They’re our children. We gave birth to them.” said Rosalie Kunoth-Monks OAM, Alyawarr/ Anmatyerr Elder
There has been over 355* deaths in custody since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody released its report in 1991 and the government has failed to implement its recommendations. There are concerns that the Royal Commission into Youth Detention and Child Protection in the NT’s report will be similarly shelved.
The video features over a dozen spokespeople from around the country including Wayne Fella Morrison’s family, Dylan Voller, Debbie Kilroy (Sisters Inside Director), and Rosalie Kunoth-Monks.
The demands of the action are to shut youth prisons, to end deaths in custody, to bring them home, to make surveillance footage available at all inquests on demand, and to ban the use of spithoods and restraints nationally. It calls on all Australians to work together to build a future without prisons.
“It is time we stop children being traumatised in juvenile detention centres” said Vickie Roach, Yuin Woman
“The alternatives to prison is to take young people out to the homelands, and we are here to offer our homeland as one of those first alternatives” said Pamela Lynch, Arrernte Traditional Owner for BlackTank Homeland.
“There are great programs being run now by blackfellas around Australia in regards to healing” said Bubbly, Gamilaraay Man.
“We should all stand together and do it for the same cause, because our youth do matter, and our youth are the future” said Dylan Voller, youth justice advocate.
For Further Comment:
Meret MacDonald 0456 475 810
*statistic from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-15/protesters-call-for-more-to-be-done-against-deaths-in-custody/7331302
accessed 30 July 2017