UN Official criticises the alarming number of Aboriginal Youth behind bars

Over 15 days the UN’s special rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz investigated the nationwide disadvantage of Australia’s first nation’s people by visiting aboriginal communities, prisons and attending high level meetings. After delivering a preliminary report, Ms Tauli-Corpuz stated (in regards to Townsville Cleveland Youth Detention Centre) that she is “shocked about the putative measures being taken, which really lessen the chances of a good future for these children”. Ms Tauli-Corpuz explained that children don’t deserve to be in detention centres, especially as a result of petty crime and inefficient child protection systems, “more resources should be provided for early intervention and prevention”. Ms Tauli-Corpuz revealed that young Aboriginals in detention are “essentially being punished for being poor” and that there are “deeply disturbing” levels of racism, inadequate housing developments and “alarming” lack of self determination throughout Australia.

Ms Tauli-Corpuz has backed calls for the federal government to develop a target to drive down imprisonment rates and funding for prevention, integration and diversion programs. Acknowledging both Victorian and South Australian governments in their moves towards exploring treaties with Aboriginal groups, Ms Tauli-Corpuz advised the commonwealth to follow, "treaty is important because then that would elaborate further on the different aspects of the issues that they are facing, whether this is education, health, reparations for the injustices that have been happening to them." She acknowledged that indigenous people have been raising these issues for many years and it is time that Australia addressed these issues in order to join the United Nations Human Rights Council.