The Human Rights Law Centre welcomes the announcement by the Turnbull Government of a Royal Commission into youth detention in the Northern Territory, but expresses extreme disappointment over the lack of consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.
“This Royal Commission represents a great opportunity for change. But the support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, particularly those in the NT, is critical to the impact, credibility and legitimacy of the Royal Commission,” said Ruth Barson, Director of Legal Advocacy at the HRLC.
The HRLC welcomes that the Royal Commission will consider breaches of international human rights standards in addition to breaches of Commonwealth or Territory law. However proper consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations should have been the first step before appointing the Commissioner and setting out the terms of reference for the inquiry.
“The Federal Government has prioritised consulting with the Northern Territory Government, which was both directly and indirectly involved in the abuse and mistreatment, over consultation with organisations who represent the communities affected by the abuse. It’s symptomatic of a system that repeatedly excludes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives on important decisions affecting them,” said Ms Barson.
For all media queries, please contact:
Ruth Barson, Director of Legal Advocacy, Human Rights Law Centre: 0417 773 037