The Australian government on Monday replaced the head of the commission established to investigate the abuse of minors in youth detention centers in the Northern Territory, following pressure to include aboriginal representatives.
Former judge Brian Martin stepped down on Monday from the post of president of the commission formed on Thursday to investigate the Northern Territory's juvenile justice system after local channel ABC exposed the ill treatment of children at the Don Dale Youth Detention Center near Darwin between 2010 and 2015.
The ABC footage showed abusive practices including an incident in which guards strapped a teenager by his neck to a chair and covered his head with a hood, and the use of tear gas against minors.
The commission will now be chaired by Mick Gooda, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Social Justice Commissioner, and Margaret White, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland who was in charge of a historic case that acknowledged indigenous land tenure.
Martin criticized aboriginal leaders for their allegedly biased views and said in a press conference that his decision did "not imply that I doubt my capacity to be both independent and competent in the role of the commissioner, nor does it imply that I accept that there is or would be a reasonable apprehension of bias."
On Thursday, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez said the Don Dale incidents verged on torture.
Aboriginal people aged between 10 and 17 represent 59 percent of the prison population in Australia, a country of 23 million people, of which around 450,000 are indigenous, according to Amnesty International.
Australian Aborigines have been victims of constant abuse since colonization and have been dispossessed of their land and systematically discriminated against.
Between 1910 and 1970, more than 100,000 Aboriginal children were separated from their families and forcibly placed in white families or institutions.