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Commission supports Palm Island Community

Brisbane's Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has issued a statement of support for the family of the Indigenous man who recently died in custody on Palm Island in northern Queensland.

It also expressed its support for the Palm Island community as it sought to deal with his death and its aftermath.

Commission Executive Officer Peter Arndt said that the Commission is very concerned that the actions of various authorities, the media and others is causing the wider community to lose sight of the most important issue which is the tragic death of another Indigenous person in custody.

"A man has died, his family and community are grieving, and they should be receiving support rather than criticism," he said. "At a time of great hurt and grief, the local community needs compassionate care rather than police in riot gear."

He said that the Commission urged both the Federal and Queensland Governments to take urgent and decisive action to address the on-going over-representation of Indigenous people in prison and the continuing disgrace of so many Indigenous deaths in custody.

"Why are Indigenous people still dying in custody? Why hasn't there been effective action to implement the recommendations of the 1991 report into Aboriginal deaths in custody?" Mr Arndt said.

"It is disgraceful that little attention is being paid to the failure of governments to stop Indigenous people from dying in custody."

The Commission is encouraging as many Brisbane people as possible to join in a peaceful rally and march in support of the family and community starting at 10:00 a.m. in the Roma Street Forum on Saturday.

Commission Supports Palm Island Community (Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Archdiocese of Brisbane 6/12/04)

Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Archdiocese of Brisbane
Palm Island Council
Bwgcolman Community School, Palm Island
Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission)
National Day of Action 11 Dec 04
18 people charged over Palm Island riot (ABC Radio The World Today 29/11/04)

Nun sees African-style fear in Palm Islanders (CathNews 30/11/04)

Power Walk Supports Long Journey to Justice (Australian Catholic Social Justice Council 2/12/04)

8 Dec 2004