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Roll Call Announcements: SORRY seems to be the hardest word…

Dear Class,

Sorry seems to be the hardest word to say to the Aboriginal community of Australia, but perhaps it isn’t something one can express in words at all. Perhaps ‘sorry’ is best said in action. 

Today is National ‘Sorry’ Day and the National Apology Anniversary, a day of commemoration and remembrance for the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander children forcibly removed from their families, communities and culture between the 1800s and 1970s a.k.a the Stolen Generations.  

National ‘Sorry’ Day should be a reminder that unfortunately, Aboriginal children are on of the most severely disadvantaged groups in Australia. In fact, in comparison to non-Aboriginal children, Aboriginal children are:

  • 24 times more likely to be jailed in the ages of 10-17
  • 10 times more likely to be in out-of-home care
  • 3 times more likely to suffer from infant mortality
  • 3-5 times more likely to commit youth suicide
  • 3 times more likely to experience hearing loss conditions, and
  • More likely to experience lower levels of overall health and homelessness.

It is clear to see that the Australian Government has failed to effectively address the significant disadvantage and the persistent, systematic & structural discrimination experienced by many Aboriginal children. We must implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into our laws and policies. This is the ultimate gift we can give our Indigenous people. This gift is what we’ll be pushing for in 10 days time at the Australian review in Geneva. 

What does National ‘Sorry’ Day mean to you? Have your say @JanChildRights, Facebook or comment below. Find out more about what the Child Rights Taskforce is pushing for in its 2011 NGO report Listen To Children.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to the indigenous people of Australia for enriching our nation with heart, soul and life. From Aboriginal spirituality to dreamtime stories to Aboriginal art and the beautifully complex concept of kinship - Aboriginal culture makes up a precious part of Australian history we must fiercely protect, and will belong in our future if we fight to preserve it. 

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