A display of hands planted in the lawns in front of Parliament House in protest of Aboriginal deaths in custody

NSW deaths in custody – when will someone be held accountable?

Responding to news that two Indigenous people died in custody in NSW in the past week, Amnesty International Australia Indigenous Rights Lead Nolan Hunter said:

“We’re coming up to the thirty year anniversary of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths In Custody (RCIADIC) and it feels as though very little has changed.

“For example, recommendation 165 called for the screening and removal of hanging points that could be used for self-harm; now nearly 30 years later, we hear of an Indigenous woman who used such a hanging point to tragically take her own life.”

“Here we have two tragic deaths in custody and the Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Severin claims the system can be accountable, while not making these tragedies public.

“There is an expression that the best disinfectant is sunshine, and we need to shine a light on the reason more than 400 Indigenous people have died in custody and no one has ever been held accountable.

“Where does the buck actually stop? If someone is being held in custody, someone has to be held accountable if they die.

“Thirty years on from RCIADIC and there are still outstanding recommendations that haven’t been implemented. How long is it going to take?”