Defending human rights

I’m a Palawa man from Tasmania. I’ve travelled all across Australia, meeting Indigenous communities to hear their human rights concerns.

It really hurts when Indigenous leaders tell me how governments are sending 10-year-old kids to prisons.

But there is a solution: our governments can follow other countries and ensure the law forbids locking up children younger than 14. Instead, kids should be given proven, community-led support services to heal and learn.

Demand a brighter future for kids: governments, change the laws so 10-year-olds are sent to community support services, not prisons.


Health experts, social workers, Indigenous leaders and legal experts all have overwhelming evidence of the harm prison does. Yet in Australia, children as young as 10 are charged, brought before a court, sentenced and put behind bars.

The ‘justice’ system is particularly failing Indigenous kids, who already face so many obstacles as a result of the invasion and the trauma it’s passed down.

30 second action for Reconciliation Week: demand the government raise the minimum age kids can be sent to prison, from 10 years old to at least 14. 

Indigenous leaders know that community and connection to culture are far better at healing their children than a prison cell. But governments just aren’t listening.

The state and territory Attorneys-General are meeting in July, and they can act. That’s why I’m asking Amnesty supporters like you to help. If together we demand a bright future for kids, we can finally get the law changed.

Please join me in calling for governments to stop imprisoning kids and start providing the support services they need.

Rodney Dillon, Amnesty International

PS. If governments are serious about reconciliation, then they need to open their ears and act. Make sure they can’t ignore your voice: tell them to keep kids out of prison and in community.