Disabled child spends 500 days in confinement: Abominable breach of human rights by Palaszczuk government

Responding to the report in The Guardian that an Aboriginal teenager with an intellectual disability was likely locked in solitary confinement for more than 500 days at the Cleveland youth detention centre, Amnesty International Indigenous Rights advisor Rodney Dillon says:

“Reports tabled in court showing at Aboriginal teenager with an intellectual disability was likely locked in solitary confinement for more than 500 days is among of the most egregious breach of human rights we have seen. Solitary confinement causes profound, irreparable psychological and physical harm.”

“International human rights law says that solitary confinement must be used only in exceptional cases as a last resort, for as short a time as possible and subject to independent review.”

“Inflicting solitary confinement on those with mental or physical disabilities is unequivocally prohibited under international law.”

“Not only is solitary confinement of kids a grievous breach of human rights law, it’s an unforgivable dereliction of humanity. Solitary confinement turns prison cells into torture chambers. The world will be shocked and appalled by an Australian government overseeing the torture of a disabled Aborginal child.”

“The Queensland government must be held to account for what is not only a moral abomination, but for callously breaking human rights law.”

“Locking disabled children in solitary confinement for any period of time is completely out of line with community expectations of the justice system, and decades of evidence shows that cruel, punitive practices like solitary confinement not only doesn’t stop offending or make communities safer, it actively harms vulnerable young people caught in the criminal system.”

“All the evidence, and all the youth justice inquiries in all the states and territories shows that when kids and young people are diverted toward therapeutic programs, they are almost certain to go on to lead healthy and happy lives free of the criminal justice system.”

“The Palaszczuk government is still ignoring public expectations and decades of evidence by allocating tens of millions of dollars to build a new youth detention facility and just a fraction of those millions into diversion programs.”

“Amnesty International calls on the Palaszczuk government to implement the recommendations from its own Atkinson report into the youth justice system and immediately end harmful, illegal solitary confinement practises and fully fund the diversion programs that keep communities and young people safe.”

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