Australian PM Apologizes For Abuses Heaped On Migrant Kids

Australian Prime Minsiter Kevin Rudd on Monday  apologized to thousands of British child migrants transported to the country over centuries for their physical suffering, emotional starvation and the cold absence of love and tenderness during
australian pm apologizes for abuses heaped on...
PTI November 16, 2009 9:32 IST

Australian Prime Minsiter Kevin Rudd on Monday  apologized to thousands of British child migrants transported to the country over centuries for their physical suffering, emotional starvation and the cold absence of love and tenderness during their forced care.

"Sorry that as children you were taken from your families and placed in institutions where often you were abused," Rudd said, according to an ABC report.

Hundreds of people, many of them "Forgotten Australians", had gathered in Parliament's Great Hall in Canberra to hear both the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull extending the apology.

The "Forgotten Australians" included the half a million children raised in institutions, orphanages and foster care homes through the last century and also about 7,000 child migrants.

Many suffered ill-treatment and some sexual abuse.

Rudd said Australia was "sorry for the physical suffering, emotional starvation and the cold absence of love, of tenderness, of care.   He said that part of Australia's history was filled with shame.

"As a nation we must now reflect on those who did not receive proper care. We look back with shame that so many of you were left cold, hungry and alone and with nowhere to hide and nobody, absolutely nobody, to whom to turn," he said.

Rudd acknowledged the pain of children shipped to Australia as migrants.

"Robbed of your families, robbed of your homeland, regarded not as innocent children, but regarded instead as a source of child labour.   

"To those of you who were told you were orphans, brought here without your parents' knowledge or consent, we acknowledge the lies you were told, the lies told to your mothers, fathers and the pain these lies have caused for a lifetime," The Australian PM said.

"And for this we are deeply sorry," Rudd said.

He also touched on the families left behind. "We thank them for the faith, the love and the depth of commitment that has helped see you through the valley of tears that was not of your own making.

Rudd then turned to those who had committed suicide.  "We recognize the pain you have suffered.   Pain is so profoundly disabling so let us together as a nation allow this apology to begin to heal this pain.

Rudd said the apology represented a turning point for "shattered lives" and the nation's political leadership.

"For governments at all levels of every political hue and colour to do all in our power to never allow this to happen again," he said  The protection of children was the "sacred duty of us all".

Rudd warned that a disservice would be done to victims of abuse if it was sought to gloss things over.

"Because the truth is great evil has been done," he said. PTI

 
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