Children As Young as 3 Were Sent to the ColoniesBy JILL LAWLESS, APCANBERRA, Australia (Nov. 15) - Prime Minister Kevin Rudd issued a historic apology Monday to thousands of impoverished British children shipped to Australia with the promise of a better life, only to suffer abuse and neglect thousands of miles from home.At a ceremony in the Australian capital of Canberra attended by tearful former child migrants, Rudd apologized for his country's role in the migration and extended condolences to the 7,000 survivors of the program who still live in Australia."We are sorry," Rudd said. "Sorry that as children you were taken from your families and placed in institutions where so often you were abused. Sorry for the physical suffering, the emotional starvation and the cold absence of love, of tenderness, of care. Sorry for the tragedy — the absolute tragedy — of childhoods lost."The apology comes one day after the British government said Prime Minister Gordon Brown would apologize for child migrant programs that sent as many as 150,000 poor British children as young as 3 to Australia, Canada and other former colonies over three and a half centuries.The programs, which ended 40 years ago, were intended to provide the children with a new start — and the Empire with a supply of sturdy white workers. But many children ended up in institutions where they were physically and sexually abused, or were sent to work as farm laborers.Rudd also apologized to the "forgotten Australians" — children who suffered in state care during the last century. According to a 2004 Australian Senate report, more than 500,000 children were placed in foster homes, orphanages and other institutions during the 20th century. Many were emotionally, physically and sexually abused in state care.Some in the audience wept openly and held each other as Rudd shared painful stories of children he'd spoken with — children who were beaten with belt buckles and bamboo, who grew up in places they called "utterly loveless.""Let us resolve this day that this national apology becomes a turning point in our nation's story," Rudd said. "A turning point for shattered lives, a turning point for governments at all levels and of every political hue and color to do all in our power to never allow this to happen again."......
Monday, November 16, 2009
Posted by De Sube at 11/16/2009 07:16:00 AM