A 12 year old Arrernte/Garrwa child from central Australia, has given a speech at the world’s peak human rights body.
Dujuan, the young star of the acclaimed documentary, In My Blood It Runs, has travelled to the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council with his grandmother and father to share his own experiences with the youth justice system and build support for Aboriginal-led education models.
The Human Rights Law Centre, which Dujuan addressed the Council on behalf of, has been calling on Australian governments to ‘raise the age’ of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 to bring Australian standards into line with international law.
We believe Dujuan is the youngest person to have ever addressed the Council.
Here is what he said:
My name is Dujuan, I am 12 years old. I am from Arrernte and Garrwa Country.
I came here to speak with you because the Australian Government is not listening. Adults never listen to kids like me. But we have important things to say.
I am the star in a new documentary, In My Blood It Runs.
The film shows that I felt like a failure at school.
I was always worried about being taken away from my family. I was nearly locked up in jail.
I was lucky because my family they know I am smart. They love me. They found a way to keep me safe.
There are some things I want to see changed:
I want my school to be run by Aboriginal people.
I want adults to stop cruelling 10 year old kids in jail.
I want my future to be out on land with strong culture and language.
My film is for all Aboriginal kids. It is about our dreams, our hopes and our rights.
I hope you can make things better for us.
Right now across Australia, children as young as 10 can be arrested, charged & sent to prison. Will you add your name to the call to #RaiseTheAge? It’s a simple reform that would make a huge difference. Kids belong in schools, not prisons. https://t.co/aXgpaqjsv6— HumanRightsLawCentre (@rightsagenda) September 9, 2019