Children racing after a football playing on a field.

Alice Springs/Mparntwe Youth Curfews: NT Government must prioritise justice reinvestment over punitive measures 

This is not just a policy issue; it is a human rights issue. We implore the NT Government to listen to the voices of our community and work collaboratively with organisations like NAAJA to implement evidence-based approaches that prioritise the well-being and future of our youth.

Kacey Teerman, Amnesty International Indigenous Rights Campaigner and Gomeroi woman

Amnesty International Australia holds serious concerns over the NT Government’s announcement regarding curfews for young people in Alice Springs/Mparntwe.

The implementation of a curfew and the deployment of additional police officers is a misguided attempt to address crime. It not only targets Aboriginal youth but also fails to address the underlying issues fuelling crime in communities.

Punitive, criminalising responses to youth crime only exacerbates the systemic issues crucial for youth crime prevention while inflicting further harm upon young people. Evidence from justice reinvestment programs running across the state including places like Cowra and Bourke shows that diversionary initiatives see young people turn their lives around and remain out of the criminal justice system.

Amnesty International supports the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) and Mr. Jared Sharp as they express profound concern over the imposition of an emergency youth curfew in Alice Springs. This decision, made without community consultation, risks exacerbating rather than alleviating the challenges faced by First Nations youth and communities.

Kacey Teerman, Amnesty International Indigenous Rights Campaigner and Gomeroi woman says,

“Our hearts are with the communities in Alice Springs in this tough time. Amnesty International also stands in solidarity with NAAJA in denouncing the youth curfew, as it merely sweeps the problem under the rug rather than providing meaningful solutions.”

“We echo Mr. Sharp’s sentiment that a curfew is a blunt instrument that overlooks the complexities of young people’s lives, including after-school activities and unsafe home environments. Instead of criminalising youth, we urgently call for increased funding for justice reinvestment programs that address the root causes of crime.”

“The NT government can’t continue to enact the same punitive, police-driven policies and expect different results. It’s time to invest in our youth, empower our communities, and uphold the rights of all individuals in Alice Springs and beyond.”