Australia will compensate members of the “stolen generation”, those aborigines snatched children from their homes to be placed in white families.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Thursday that 378.6 million Australian dollars (236 million euros) would be allocated to repair the human damage caused by the assimilation policy. Each beneficiary will receive a payment of 75,000 Australian dollars, or 47,000 euros.
“What happened is a shameful chapter in our history. We have already faced this with a national apology, but our actions must continue to match our words”, he told Parliament. _
“This is a long overdue measure that recognizes the connection between the healing, dignity, health and well-being of members of the stolen generations, their families and communities. It is a matter of formally saying, not only that we are deeply sorry for what happened, but also that we will take responsibility for it.”
In total, 690 million euros will be released to combat the high inequalities still faced by Indigenous Australians who represent 2% of the country’s population.
Indigenous rights advocates welcomed the government’s announcements, but stressed that they were long overdue. The first official apology to aborigines dates back to 2008.
Assimilation policies lasted until the 70s. Many children were taken from their parents and then placed in orphanages, Christian missions or foster families in order to cut them off from their cultural environment. Many have been victims of abuse.
Now octogenarians, 3,600 survivors of this “stolen generation”, should be compensated. Financial assistance for “healing” will also be allocated as well as the opportunity to tell one’s story to a senior official and receive an apology in person or in writing.