As refugees, asylum seekers and ex detainees in Australia, we acknowledge that the land we seek protection on is the land of Indigenous peoples where sovereignty was never ceded.
The recent report by Four Corners on institutionalised torture in Don Dale Youth detention centre is just one example of a catalogue of crimes that continue to be committed by state institutions against the Indigenous peoples of Australia since their lands were colonised and occupied. Sadly, we are not surprised that until the crimes committed against these young people in Don Dale Youth detention were televised by mainstream media, any action taken by government departments has been hopelessly inadequate. First Nation community groups have been speaking out against deaths in custody and institutionalised abuse since colonisation but their voices have been sidelined and ignored continuously. The crisis of disproportionate numbers of Indigenous youth being placed in institutionalised care, incarcerated and separated from their families and communities is not a recent one. We believe this systemic abuse of First Nations people is a result of over 200 years of discrimination as part of the colonial genocide strategy.
While we call for a Royal Commission inquiry on torture, abuse and deaths in custody in Australian government run immigration detention centres both onshore and offshore, we ex-detainees at RISE are against a Royal Commission inquiry into kids in immigration detention centre being tied to the Don Dale youth detention centre. We believe that loosely tying this enquiry to abuse in immigration detention centres, waters down the structures of institutionalised abuse built on the genocide of Indigenous peoples over 200 years. Furthermore, before narrowing the scope of the Royal commission to imprisonment and abuse of Indigenous children there has already been a report on Aboriginal deaths in custody. However, in the context of immigration detention centres there has already been multiple enquiries into children incarcerated in these centres, by for example the Australian Human rights commission (AHRC) but no call out for a general enquiry by even the AHRC, let alone a call out for a Royal Commission into the arbitrary and indefinite detention of thousands of adults and kids by the immigration department outside the law. Further it is up to us ex-detainees to call for inquiries not non-ex-detainees who have never been detained in immigration centres or “refugee advocates”, “speaking on behalf” of our community groups.
Racist, genocidal acts against First nations people in Australia have been carried out for over 200 years and the Australian government shamelessly continues to add more oppression by choosing to close down Indigenous communities one by one against their will and disproportionately criminalise their communities. We fully support First Nations sovereignty, self-determination and stand in solidarity with the Indigenous peoples of Australia. We ex-detainees at RISE stand in full support of First Nations community groups call for a national wide action this weekend on ‘Justice for the children tortured in Don Dale and all prisons’.
For more information about national wide actions please follow Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance – WAR on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WARcollective/
NSW Central Cost https://www.facebook.com/events/272687083109365/
RISE Ex-detainee Members