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York U AP/INDG 3615 - Completed Final Indigenous Essay_Lindsay Burlock

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Final Essay Lindsay BurlockStudent Number: 217093968AP/INDG 3615Dr. Mona Oikawa2020-03-30Throughout the years, there is no overlooking the extreme amount of racial oppression Indigenous youth have faced, and although many would like to believe the racism concluded with the closure of the last residential school in 1996 (Shmid, 1996, pg. 12), it is beyond naïve torecognize this as being the truth. The happenings within Australian detention centers are one of the many examples of how prominent prejudice towards Indigenous youth is. The topic of this paper focuses on the extreme amount of racism and discrimination Indigenous adolescents face in Australian detention centers. Racism is defined as “the failure to give equal consideration, based on the fact of race alone” (Shmid, 1996, pg. 1)., which will be looked at in a variety of spectrums regarding Indigenous youth in Australian detention centers. This paper will touch on various cases of abuse, sexual assault, and extreme lack of human rights Indigenous youth face within detention in Australia. Although detention is presumed to be a civil and safe means of incarceration for those pending legal action, this could not be further from the truth in relation to the utter horrors Indigenous youth face within detention in Australia.An article entitled They Were Treating Me Like A Dog, explores the atrocious acts that take place behind the closed doors of Northern Territory Detention, magnifying how Indigenous youth are completely stripped of both their human and legal rights while in confinement. The Royal Commission obtained extensive evidence that the use of hooding and shackling was a frequently used method of controlling the Indigenous youth in Northern Territory Detention (Thalia, 2018, para. 21). On July 25th, 2016 live footage was released on an Australian national television show of guards shackling children by their ankles and wrists because they felt they were ‘dangerous’ due to their ethnic background. Although these acts inflicted on the children exemplified extreme abuse, it was later permitted through NT legislation that the staff could usethese offensive reprimands to ‘administer’ the children (Thalia, 2018, para 23). I find it utterly disgusting to recognize that people of higher authority use their positions to enforce purely racist legislations, despite them going against international laws and basic human rights. In 2014, The Royal Commission released information on the gassings of six Indigenous boys within Northern Territory Detention. The boys confirmed that this was a more than a one time happening and that they had been gassed over ten times by guards in the segregation unit of the facility. The staff who committed the gassings explained their actions by stating they wanted to “pulverize” the boys and despite the extreme illegality associated with their acts believed they were entitled to do so because of the simple fact that the boys all shared the same commonality of being Indigenous. The children told authorities that they felt as though they were going to die from the gas, as it caused extreme shortness of breath and even blindness in a few of them (Thalia, 2018, para. 24). Although the situation regarding these boys could not seem to get any worse, it was later found that they had been kept in segregation cells for twenty-three hours a dayfor indefinite periods of time. The cells were described to be “rancid, filthy, dark, and lacking air flow”. The only justification the guards had for confining the boys in these inhumane conditions they were ‘savages’ due to their Indigenous background (Thalia, 2018, para. 30).Physical and sexual violence is a regular occurrence at Northern Territory detention. CCTV released very disturbing footage of guards unprovoked beatings towards Indigenous children. The film contained incidences of the guards smashing the children’s heads on concrete floors, choking them, hitting and kicking them, all while screaming racist and derogatory comments. The guards would enforce unwarranted strip searches on female detainees, if any of the girls refused, they would viciously cut through their clothing with scissors. A young girl reported to The Royal Commission that the guards would make frequent sexual commentstowards her, such as “nice bra”, or would touch her in inappropriate places. Unfortunately, this is a much too frequent happening, especially because the other staff within the facility turn a blind eye since the assault is being inflicted on someone of Indigenous descent (Thalia, 2018, para. 24). It is truly appalling to recognize that workers who are supposed to use their position to keep the detainees within Northern Territory Detention safe, are instead the ones to be feared due to their tremendously racist views and ways. Various children within Northern Territory told the Royal Commission that they treatmentthey faced while in detention was easily comparable to how one would treat a dog, or barn animal. The Royal Commission released a final report on the extreme limitation regarding Indigenous youth in Australian detention, discussing breaches of human rights under international laws on the rights of detainees and the child. The main lack of rights included how the youth were subject to humiliation and degrading treatment, verbal abuse and deprivation of food, and water and hygiene that amount to infringement of rights under the Havana Rules. Isolation was used excessively and punitively against the youth as well. The most appalling finding that the Royal Commission reported was the racial dimensions of the violence embarked on the Indigenous youth, with evidence of racist remarks and disallowing children speaking in their Indigenous languages (Thalia, 2018, para. 34).An article written on Don Dale Detention Centre entitled The Treatment of Australian Children in Detention: A Human Rights Law Analysis of Media Coverage in the Wake of Abuse at the Don Dale Detention Centre accurately depicts the neglect and abuse Indigenous youth face while in custody. In 2016, the Four Corners documentary aired on live television in Australia, showing disturbing footage of the torture Indigenous youth were enduring within Don Dale. National attention was drawn to this film and eventually the Federal Governmentresponded. The images that were caught on camera displayed the immense lack of human and legal rights Indigenous youth while they are in detention, such


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