Media

'We Tortured Some Kids': Parody Advert Unveils Horrors at Australia's Child Detention Facilities (Video)

Even 10-year-olds are left in solitary confinement for long periods.

Boy behind iron bars
Photo Credit: bonga1965/Shutterstock

Last month, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation screened footage from the Don Dale Youth Detention Center in Darwin, Northern Territory, on its Four Corners program. The footage showed prison officials abusing detained teenage boys from 2010 to 2015. 

"In a series of chilling scenes," reports Amnesty International, "the boys were shown being knocked to the floor and verbally abused, or forcibly stripped and then left naked and alone in locked rooms. Some were kept locked in their cells for almost 24 hours a day with no running water, little natural light, and were denied access to school and educational material."

The human rights group notes it has "for years been calling on Australia to ensure that youth detention centres are being independently inspected by ratifying the U.N. Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT). Australia is currently a signatory to OPCAT, but has not yet ratified it."

Following the release of the footage, satirical news video creators Juice Media produced a parody advertisement bragging about Australia's imprisonment and abuse of children titled, "We Tortured Some Kids."

"Powerful, civilized nations 'have tortured some folks,'" says the narrator, speaking over a clip of President Obama's admission in 2014 that the United States tortured suspected terrorists. She continues:

America is doing it. So is China and Russia. ... [But] despite our best efforts, our own torture and imprisonment programs remain largely unknown. Enough. It's time to put Australia's human rights violations back on the world map. When it comes to the mass incarceration of specific groups, such as indigenous people, Australia boasts some of the most heinous statistics.

"We have over 200 years' experience under our belt," an actor imitating Nigel Scullion, Australia's Minister for Indigenous Affairs, boasts. The video asserts that 54 percent of children in Australian jails are indigenous.

"But our true specialty? Imprisoning and torturing children," the narrator says, adding that at Don Dale, "kids as young as ten are choked; stripped; left in solitary confinement for weeks and when they escape from their cages terrorized with tear gas."

She continues:

But Don Dale is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other detention centers right across Australia where Indigenous kids are languishing in solitary confinement right now. And they're not the only kids we torture. We also cater for the assault and sexual abuse of refugee children on our offshore prison in Nauru.

Allegations that Nauru's conditions are as horrendous as those at Guantanamo Bay were confirmed earlier this month, when the Guardian published more than 8,000 pages of leaked incident reports from Australia’s detention camp for asylum seekers on the remote Pacific island. The documents detail "assaults, sexual abuse, self-harm attempts, child abuse and living conditions endured by asylum seekers held by the Australian government, painting a picture of routine dysfunction and cruelty," reports the Guardian.

"But, alas, our human rights record is constantly under threat of improving," the video's narrator says. "To continue our abuse and torture programs, the government requires your complicity," she adds, offering five simple steps you can take to help.

Watch:

Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.

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