Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called for a national investigation into allegations of abuse and torture at a juvenile detention center.
The allegations, which appeared on Australian Broadcasting Corp.’s “Four Corners” investigative program, showed children as young as 10 being stripped naked, assaulted, tear-gassed and kept in solitary confinement.
“Like all Australians, I have been deeply shocked, shocked and appalled, by the images of mistreatment at the Don Dale center,” Turnbull said.
“We will get to the bottom of what happened here. … We want to know why there were inquiries into this center which did not turn up the evidence and the information that we saw on ‘Four Corners’ last night.’ ”
Turnbull said he had met with the Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles and Australian Attorney-General George Brandis.
The program showed footage of a teenage boy hooded and strapped to a chair half-naked in what a lawyer described as Guantanamo Bay-style treatment in an interview with CNN affiliate 7 News.
Dylan Voller, now 17, had a hood placed over his head, and his ankles, wrists and neck were shackled after he threatened to hurt himself.
Gillian Triggs , president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, said the investigation showed an inquiry was needed into juvenile detention centers.
“If one of us were to have been found to have treated our children in this way, we would probably be charged with a criminal offense and the children taken away from us,” Triggs told 7 News.
Other politicians have also expressed their outrage at the report. Sarah Henderson, a member of Parliament for Corangamite, said on Twitter that the abuse shown in the “Four Corners” special amounted to “child torture.”
“Those responsible must be held to account for these crimes,” she said.
Mick Gooda, Australia’s aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner, called for the Northern Territory government to be “sacked.”
In a statement, Giles, the Northern Territory chief minister, said he had taken over the Correctional Services portfolio, removing John Elferink as minister.
Giles added that police have “formed a Special Task Force under its Special References Unit, and the issues raised in the ‘Four Corners’ program last night (have been) declared a Major Investigation.”
SOURCE: James Griffiths, CNN