The United Nations’ Committee against Torture has raised serious concerns about children in Australia’s detention centres being frequently subjected to verbal abuse, racist remarks, and solitary confinement.
The UN Committee also voiced concerns about Australia’s minimum age of criminal responsibility being set at 10, calling on governments to raise the age to the international standard of 14.
The Committee highlighted Tasmania’s Ashley youth detention centre, the NT’s Don Dale youth detention centre, and Banksia Hill in Western Australia as contravening the UN Convention against Torture and the Nelson Mandela Rules, which prohibit the use of solitary confinement for children.
In a review published on Friday, the committee recommended Australia prohibit the use of physical restraints to discipline children under supervision, and immediately end the practice of solitary confinement for children across all jurisdictions.
The Committee was also concerned that Indigenous people continued to be disproportionately affected by incarceration, reportedly representing around 30 per cent of the prison population, compared to 3.2 per cent of the total population.
It called on Australia to identify the root causes of the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in prisons and revise regulations that led to the high incarceration rates.