Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Death of Mr Ward

Sometimes you read or see something which makes you think that this stuff shouldn't happen in Australia. Amnesty international sent me though an email with details of the shocking death of Mr Ward, and elderly aboriginal man.

What kind of government allows a person to be literally cooked to death in the searing heat of the Western Australian goldfields?
Well, that's exactly what happened on a scorching summer's day last year when Mr Ward, a respected Aboriginal community elder, died an unimaginable death as he was being unnecessarily and inhumanely transported more than 350km to Kalgoorlie jail.
The circumstances of Mr Ward's death defy the imagination. After being arrested for allegedly drink-driving and locked in an overnight cell in Laverton, WA, the elder was driven four hours to Kalgoorlie in a van since deemed unfit for the purpose of transporting people over such long distances [1]
Mr Ward, the youngest of seven children, was a well-known and respected community chairman, law-man, land manager and spokesperson. The condition of the van that contributed to his death makes stomach-churning reading: no natural airflow, broken air-conditioning, and a surface metal temperature of over 50°C.
After collapsing on the floor of the van, Mr Ward suffered serious burns when his skin came into contact with the metal surface. Leading up to the final moments of his life, his body temperature reached 41.7°C. Without a doubt, Mr Ward's treatment is an affront to personal dignity and emblematic of a deep running disregard for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
To take action now follow the link here to the Amnesty international web site

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