A 12-year-old Arrente and Garrwa boy has called for Australia to raise the age of criminality at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), becoming one of the youngest people to ever address the forum.
Dujuan Hoosan travelled to Geneva this week to urge Australia to establish 14 as the age of criminality, up from the current nationwide standard of ten years old.
“Adults never listen to kids like me, but we have important things to say,” Hoosan said on Wednesday.
Hoosan, who was nearly incarcerated in Alice Springs at the age of ten, said “I was lucky because my family know I am smart, they love me.
“They found a way to keep me safe.”
ABC reports the multi-lingual Hoosan struggled fitting into traditional schooling, and his speech called for Indigenous culture to be incorporated in the classroom to keep young kids engaged.
“I feel strong when I am learning my culture from my Elders and my land,” Hoosan said in a transcript obtained by The Guardian.
This is who I am and they don’t see me at school.
I think schools should be run by Aboriginal people.
Let our families choose what is best for us.
Let us speak our languages in school.
I think this would have helped me from getting in trouble.
ABC reports it’s now up to the Attorney-General’s office to answer the UN Committee on the Convention on the Rights of the Child’s questions about the treatment kids in Australia. As evidenced by recent royal commissions, some things are left to be desired.
“Police is cruel to kids like me,” Hoosan said.
“They treat us like they treat their enemies. I am cheeky, but no kid should be in jail.”
Hoosan’s story has also been told in documentary In My Blood It Runs, which premiered earlier this year.
You can read a transcript of Hoosan’s speech here, or watch a clip below: