Marking National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day, the Amnesty Redfern Group invites you to a free online forum to hear First Nations people explore the topic of the way forward for children of the Northern Territory, living under the discriminatory laws of the Intervention, which were introduced 14 years ago and continue to this day.
This forum will follow an insightful Amnesty online event entitled “The children of the Intervention; Is the justice system failing them?” May 24, 2021. The speakers at this previous forum expressed dismay that new bail laws being introduced by the NT parliament contradict the recommendations and all the hard work of the Don Dale Royal Commission.
The children of the Intervention: The way forward forum despite this setback, will look at the research recommending alternatives to a punitive response which does not address the underlying complex causes of youth coming into contact with the justice system. Amnesty International’s research in it’s youth justice campaign supports community led programs and calls for raising the age of criminal responsibility to age 14 years in line with the UN recommendations / Declaration of the Rights of the Child. This forum will also look at Child removal and education. Regarding the new bail laws for NT Amnesty International Australia Indigenous Rights Advocate Rodney Dillon said,
“This is a callous, racist legislative crackdown in search of a problem,”
“Let’s be clear: no one wants youth crime. But cracking down on Indigenous kids – because all the kids in the NT justice system are Indigenous – who have complex needs, by throwing them in jail fixes nothing.
“What it does is condemn young kids to the quicksand of the youth justice system, and it entrenches recidivism, which is what all the politicians say they want to address,” Dillon said.
“Our society should be protecting and promoting the safety of children, and all the evidence shows that Indigenous and community-led justice reinvestment programs are what’s effective for children in supporting them to lead healthy lives, free of the quicksand of the justice system.”
Many reports and studies have looked into pioneer programs led by communities have shown that when ‘free, prior and informed consent’, regarding laws that affect people, in line with UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples great outcomes happen and just laws prevail. The situation today must change to honour the human rights of all citizens and fulfill our obligations to our First Peoples.
We all can play a part in the solution and attending this online forum to listen and learn will be a great opportunity. Amnesty Redfern Group look forward to hosting this important event.