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17/04/2008

Les "enfants volés" en Australie ont-ils servi de cobayes ?

[Via "Courrier International"].


Kathleen Mills, qui témoignait devant une commission d'enquête sénatoriale sur la compensation financière des "générations volées", a fait une révélation retentissante le 15 avril, rapporte le quotidien Sydney Morning Herald. Pendant les années 1920 et 1930, assure cette Aborigène, les petits pensionnaires métis du centre Kahlin, à Darwin, ont reçu des injections de médicaments expérimentaux contre la lèpre, avec des conséquences dramatiques pour leur santé. Une deuxième personne est venue corroborer cette information, affirmant que des expérimentations sur des "enfants volés" ont également eu lieu à la léproserie de la ville, et ce jusqu'aux années 1960. "Ce que vous avez entendu aujourd'hui n'est pas le pire", a déclaré Kathleen Mills, qui demande au gouvernement d'ouvrir ses archives, qu'elle qualifie de "boîte de Pandore".


Children were guinea pigs, inquiry told


A STOLEN generations member's claim that Aboriginal children were taken from their families and used as "guinea pigs" to trial a leprosy drug has shocked the Federal Government into scouring its records for more information.

Aboriginal elder Kathleen Mills made the allegation yesterday in Darwin on day one of a Senate inquiry into compensation for the stolen generations.

She said some children held at the city's Kahlin Compound in the 1920s and '30s had been injected with a leprosy serum that made them sick and almost killed them. The compound, a holding house for half-caste Aborigines, closed after World War II.

While Ms Mills's claim was based on the recollections of her uncle, a medical orderly at the compound, it was given weight last night by another source, who confirmed a Darwin family had been subjected to similar testing at another institution in the city, the leprosarium, as late as the 1960s. This may suggest such experimentation was systemic.

"What you heard today wasn't the worst of all the stories," Ms Mills told the Herald last night. "Whether you're prodding them with sticks and needles, the actual removal of children from their mothers and their countries without any records is the issue."

She told the inquiry: "These are the things that have not been spoken about. As well as being taken away, they were used … there are a lot of things that Australia does not know about."

Ms Mills said information to do with the testing would be in health department archives and she called on the Government to assist "opening Pandora's box".

The Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, promised to do anything she could to get the facts. "These are obviously very serious allegations," Ms Roxon said. "I have requested my department to examine their archives to determine if there are any documents that can shed any light on this situation."

Ms Mills said her uncle had told her about the drug's effects. "It made our people very ill and he said the treatment almost killed them," she told ABC radio outside the inquiry.

The Greens Senator Bob Brown, who was at the inquiry, said: "It's clearly a matter that's worrying indigenous people so it should be investigated. First, we have to find out if there's any records of experimentation."

An expert on leprosy, Clem Boughton, said he had not heard of such claims but it was possible they were triggered by early uses of sulfone drugs which provided the first effective treatment of leprosy. A former professor of infectious diseases at Prince Henry Hospital in Sydney, now in his 80s, Dr Boughton said the claims should be treated with caution.

"It could be they were using preparations of sulfones to see how effective they were," Dr Boughton said. "This would not be deliberately targeted at Aboriginal people because there was a lot of leprosy around then. Patients themselves would want to have the treatment even if it was a bit experimental because it was their only hope."

Ms Mills said she raised it to highlight the problem Aborigines had accessing their records. But she worried last night it would detract from the bigger issue of compensation. "It was like throwing the cat among the pigeons and there's a lot of fluttering now."

with AAP and Mark Metherell

15:56 Écrit par collectif a & a dans Communiqué | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : australie, aborigènes, générations volées | |  del.icio.us