'Stop jailing 10-year-olds': Indigenous boy addresses UN on Australia's youth detention laws

A 12-year-old Indigenous boy from the Northern Territory is believed to be the youngest person to address the United Nations Human Rights Council.

11/09/2019 1:42:00 PM

A 12-year-old Indigenous boy from the Northern Territory is believed to be the youngest person to address the United Nations Human Rights Council.

A 12-year-old Indigenous boy from Australia's Northern Territory is believed to be the youngest to address the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Share on TwitterTwelve-year-old Indigenous boy Dujuan Hoosan has appealed to members of the United Nations Human Rights Council to help bring to an end the jailing of 10-year-old children in Australia. "I want adults to stop putting 10-year-old kids in jail," he said before the council. 

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Dujuan said Indigenous-led education and an emphasis on retaining Indigenous languages are key to keeping Indigenous youth out of jail. Dujuan Hoosan told the UN Human Rights Council that he wants 'adults to stop putting 10-year-olds in jail'.

UN"I want my school to be run by Aboriginal people. I want, in my future, to be able to learn strong culture and language.""It is about our dreams, our hopes and rights. I hope you can make things better for us."From the Northern Territory, Dujuan said he had travelled to Geneva in frustration with what he described as the inability of Australian political leaders to listen to his story. 

"I come here to speak with you because the Australian government is not listening. Adults never listen to kids like me, but we have important things to say."Dujuan Hoosan has told the UN Human Rights Council that Indigenous-led education models are needed to reduce rates of Indigenous youth incarceration.

Maya NewellTwo years ago, Dujuan found himself at a turning point. He was skipping school and found himself in trouble with the police."I felt like a failure at school," he told the council."I was always worried about being taken away from my family." 

After an altercation with the police, he nearly found himself in jail.READ MOREYouth justice supervision numbers falling, but Indigenous representation risingBut his family intervened and he found himself taken out of the school system. He was put in touch with his cultural roots by learning about the land and healing knowledge passed down from his grandfather.

"I was lucky because my family, they know I am smart. They love me. They found a way to keep me safe." Of Arrernte and Garrwa descent, Dujuan Hoosan said the experience has helped him find his own voice and given him purpose.His journey is featured in the documentary 

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In My Blood It Runs, which examines how Australia's education system struggles to take account of Indigenous history and learning."It [the documentary, my story] is about our dreams, our hopes and rights," the 12-year-old said in his closing remarks.

"I hope you can make things better for us."Dujuan Hoosan and his mother.Maya NewellPush to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 14All states and territories in Australia have laws that allow the incarceration of 10-year-old children.This is despite a 2017

recommendationfrom the Royal Commission into the NT youth justice system, calling for the age of criminal responsibility to be lifted to 12.Of the nearly 600 children incarcerated in Australia each year, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids are over-represented. Close to 100 per cent of the youths in jail in the Northern Territory are Indigenous Australians.

READ MOREDon Dale detention centre closed indefinitely after riotDujuan said he would like to see the age increased to 14, in line with the position of the Australian Medical Association, the Law Council of Australia, the Human Rights Law Centre and Amnesty International.  

These groups argue the age of criminal responsibility in Australia needs to brought into line with international standards and law. Advocates cite examples in countries such as Norway, Finland and Sweden where the minimum age of criminal responsibility is 15. It is 18 in Brazil, Peru and Uruguay.

Read more: SBS News »

luciemorrismarr Go and research how many young people in the NT are in gaol for rape and other sexual offences then see how you feel. luciemorrismarr Stop committing serious crimes then. stop committing crimes Why is Australia so often in the spotlight internationally in shameful ways? Every now and again I could understand, but it's just awful and it goes on and on remorselessly like a catalogue of designer cruelty and evil.

Stop breaking laws. 👌 Someone should tell him gesture is grossly offensive. When 10 year old's stop stealing stuff then stop jailing them. Yawn. Greta's boyfriend is it? CharlizeTheroff The U N is corrupt using these young people Ditto. stop jailing kids! Right wingers to say he is being used , in 3..2..1

Does crime have a age to it. CRIME in any form, size, shape or age is CRIME. The impact on the VICTIM is the same. Stop breaking the law.. Tell them every thing. How they treat kids The small minded folk here tweeting...'don't commit crimes then'....are so out of touch it is not even funny! Go and read a little about Indigenous affairs, health and education before you comment. Maybe you won't look so silly then. This 10 year old knows a lot more than you!

I know what it's like not right.AnitaHeiss marcialangton ColleenLavelle1 SueFerg12827101 simonahac NACCHOAustralia mdavisqlder BundjalungBud JusticeMatter10 wcohrs joewilliams_tew Gawaian77 jemimaddavis Peter_Fox59 I cringed brought back bad memories.NovaPeris 👣 Good man In Canada we are on a path of Reconciliation with the Aboriginal peoples. For them to thrive they must reclaim their culture, their languages. We have treated them horribly and we must make amends.

Well done 👍🏼 Stop stealing. Stop breaking and entering. Stop the violence. Stop the sexual and domestic violence. Start parenting. Start being responsible. Start contributing to society. Un is run by children Stop committing crimes and you won't get jailed. Who are the criminal enablers not educating this child on crime and punishment?

mcreal15 Yay! Stay home go to school don’t do the wrong thing - simple really! Respect the human right for people to retain their assets and not have them stolen by people like you and then you won’t go to jail. Criminals should not be given time to talk at United Nations. Oh well stop breaking the law

So just let then get away with crimes then? The parents don't care. The community doesn't care. The government has to step in. Invest in prevention & early intervention programs instead. As well as turning children’s lives around, they save millions of $’s annually! newbeginningsinternational Why? A remarkable and courageous young man.

If you go to school and stop making trouble for police you wouldn’t end up in jail. If you go to school you may end up one of those Aboriginal teachers you talk about. Stay in school. That's great Perhaps you could just stop doing stuff that gets you in detention. rainbokinection Deadly young fella. 🖤💛❤️

The age of criminal responsibility should be increased to 12 years old, kids are mature enough to know right from wrong at that age Stop committing crime and you won’t get locked up 🙄 Stop committing crimes! It is the responsibility of the parents to teach their culture not schools. The parents should also be keeping their kids in line. Why do some indigenous people refuse to take responsibility for their actions?

Doing a gangbanger sign.... FatherBob June_Oscar AusHumanRights you filthy window dressing puppets of the government UN what will you do about genocide and theft that is as rampant as 1761 yeah nuff nuffs cook moved in ignored crown orders and colonised toninicho Fantastic! Sensational 🙌🏼 Magnificent! 🖤💛❤️

Good luck kid! Very proud of you. Good job ! Very proud ❤️ FFS Pawns. Stop committing crimes Good on ya kid. Try to stay safe from the white jailer

Dujuan Hoosan was almost sent to jail at 10. Now he wants the Government to change the lawA 12-year-old boy has spoken in front of hundreds at the United Nations calling on the Australian Government to raise the age of criminality to stop children as young as 10 being locked up. When do the victims of his crimes get a chance to speak ?. What about holding his parents responsible as well for his criminal behaviour ?

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