Footage from an ABC investigation revealed juvenile detention center guards in Australia’s Northern Territory shackling, hooding, taunting, and teargassing detained children—as well as leaving them in solitary confinement for extended periods of time.
Such abuse of children “may amount to torture by the government responsible for their care.”
—UNICEF AustraliaThe haunting footage that aired Monday on the investigative program “Four Corners” provoked comparisons to the U.S. military’s illegal torture of detainees in Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay, scandalizing human rights observers in Australia and worldwide.
Australia’s Indigenous Affairs minister, Nigel Scullion, characterized the TV documentary as “some of the most disturbing footage I have ever seen.” He added: “And it beggars belief that the people that we put in charge of [caring] for vulnerable children in detention and[…] looking after their welfare were in fact brutalizing those children.”
In one segment that has garnered particular outrage, 17-year-old Dylan Voller was shown being hooded and shackled to a chair, where he was left in solitary confinement for hours:
Voller and five other former inmates are now suing the Northern Territory government over their treatment while detained, according to the Guardian.
The ABC footage, in addition to documenting widespread abuses, also contradicted guards’ prior testimony at several points. The Independent reports:
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