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Australian teens abused by guards in detention facility: Footage

27 July 2016 14:22

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Shocking footage has emerged of an Australian youth detention center, showing the guards beating teenage detainees, teargassing them and keeping them in solitary confinement for hours.

The CCTV footage, which was aired by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) late on Monday, had been filmed in the Don Dale Youth Detention Center in Northern Territory between 2010-2014.

The video showed the youths being stripped naked by the guards at the facility, thrown by the neck into a cell and held for long periods in solitary confinement.

In one instance, a hooded boy was seen shackled to a mechanical restraint chair by his neck, arms, legs and feet in a room, where he is left alone for hours.

The video also showed the guards mocking the young detainees.

The horrific footage and images prompted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to order an investigation into the incident.

“We will be establishing a Royal Commission in to these events, into this center,” said Turnbull, adding, “We want to know how this came about, we want to know what lessons can be learned from it, we want to know why.”

Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles also said he was “shocked and disgusted” by the footage.

“A community is judged by the way it treats its children and serious questions were raised,” he said in a statement.


A scene from footage broadcast by Australia’s ABC

In 2015, a report into the mistreatment of children by the Northern Territory Children’s Commissioner found fault with the behavior of guards, but it was disputed by the then head of prisons and not acted upon, according to the ABC.

The Northern Territory has the highest rate of youth detention in Australia.

Local human rights activists say UK-based rights body Amnesty International has already warned Australian officials about the abuse of children in the Northern Territory prisons.

They say the government has turned a blind eye to the issue because the teens involved were indigenous.

“As this program shows, these are not isolated incidents,” said Julian Cleary, Indigenous Rights Campaigner at Amnesty International Australia.

“The (Northern Territory) government has failed to deal with systemic issues with the treatment of children in its youth detention system,” she added.

Save the Children, however, said the investigation needed to be Australia-wide, and not just into the Northern Territory.

Last month, an inquiry into the Australian military found teenage recruits were subjected to horrendous physical and sexual abuse by their senior officers.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, which conducted the inquiry, has already examined churches, sports bodies and the entertainment industry.

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