Amnesty International condemns in the strongest possible terms the inhumane incarceration of a 16 year old Aboriginal boy, along with two 17 year olds, in solitary confinement at an adult maximum security prison in Victoria.
Early reports indicate the 16 year old Aboriginal boy was placed in the cell in Port Phillip Prison, for four months, after a child protection order was issued from the Department of Human Services (DHS).
Kids shouldn’t be in solitary confinement
The human rights organisation questions why any teenager should be confined to their cell for 22 hours each day and only allowed access to the recreation yard for 2 hours at a time in handcuffs.
“We are appalled by the reports and demand the Victorian Government and the Department of Justice investigate the circumstances immediately and reveal how many other children are subject to this same treatment,” said Monica Morgan, Indigenous Rights Campaign Manager.
Treatment must be condemned
The draconian and terrible treatment of these teenagers must be roundly condemned and those responsible held to account without delay. Amnesty International understands the 16 year old has been transferred to a Juvenile Justice Centre. The two 17 year olds remain incarcerated in the adult facility and the organisation demands they be removed immediately.
“It is beyond belief that over 21 years after the Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody this kind of abuse continues to happen. And that it happens to a child is painfully unjust and something that must never be allowed to be repeated,” she added.
Governments are bound by a range of obligations under international law specific to the treatment of children within the juvenile justice system.
“Amnesty International has long called for the massive over-representation of Aboriginals in the criminal justice system to be addressed as a matter of urgency. This case clearly reflects those concerns have yet to be dealt with, and even worse, that the abuse and disregard for the human rights of imprisoned Aboriginal adults now extends to Aboriginal children.”