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Rudd apologizes for colonial child abuse

[ 2009-11-17 14:31]     字号 [] [] []  
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Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologized yesterday for years of abuse and pain suffered by thousands of orphans and children sent to Australia from Britain, often without the knowledge of their parents.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is also set to apologize to around 7,000 children from state institutions who were shipped to Australia between 1930 and 1970 under the old Child Migrants Program.

Rudd told about 900 former orphans, known as the Forgotten Australians, that the abandoned policy was a shameful and ugly period in history which led to suffering, emotional damage and an absence of love and care.

"We look back with shame that so many of you were left cold, hungry and alone and with nowhere to hide and nobody, absolutely nobody, to whom to turn," Rudd said in a speech at parliament.

"We look back with shame at how those with power were allowed to abuse those who had none."

"We are sorry," Rudd said. "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.


1. How many years did the old Child Migrants Program run for?

2. How many poor British children had been sent overseas in child migrant programs?

3. What happened to the children sent overseas?


1. 40 years, between 1930 and 1970.

2. As many as 150,000.

3. Many of them ended up in institutions where they were physically and sexually abused, or were sent to work as farm laborers.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Rudd apologizes for colonial child abuse

About the broadcaster:

Rudd apologizes for colonial child abuse

Guanny Liu is a freelance journalist from New Zealand. Born in North-Eastern China, she moved to Auckland with her family at the age of eight. Guanny has a Bachelor of Communications Studies from the Auckland University of Technology, majoring in journalism. Before coming to the China Daily website, Guanny was a journalist for the New Zealand state broadcaster, Radio New Zealand. She is in Beijing on an Asia New Zealand grant working as a copy editor for the English news department.