Grandmothers march against child removals

Grandmothers Against Removals (GMAR) rally.

About 200 people marched from Hyde Park to the NSW State Parliament on February 13 to demand an end to the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families and for Aboriginal control of Aboriginal child welfare. They chanted, "What does Sorry mean? You don't do it again!"

The march, organised by the Sydney branch of Grandmothers Against Removals (GMAR), was held on the ninth anniversary of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's apology to the Stolen Generations.

But, while Rudd promised that the Stolen Generation would never be repeated, in the years since, Aboriginal children have been forcibly taken from their families by welfare agencies in numbers far greater than at any time in Australia's history. These numbers have increased dramatically, from 9000 Aboriginal children in out of home care in 2008 to more than 16,000 today.

Aboriginal elder and activist Jenny Munro said: “The colonial system has stolen our children for 229 years, and has tried to commit genocide for the same period. Stealing children is the very definition of genocide.”

Uncle Ken Canning said: “We are now standing outside what I call ‘the House of Slaughter’. This system is basically legalised murder and legalised theft of our children.

“We have to draw a line in the sand. It is completely hypocritical that after the 2008 Apology we have seen an increased rate of stealing of Aboriginal children.”

Spokesperson for GMAR Laura Lyons asked: “What can we do? The government review of 1200 cases of stolen children is set up to fail. We need real action to place control of Aboriginal children in the hands of Aboriginal families and communities.”

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