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Community marks anniversary of David Dungay Jr's death in custody with stand for justice

Giovanni Torre -

Dunghutti Elder Leetona Dungay led a rally and vigil outside Long Bay Gaol Friday to mark the eight anniversary of the death in custody of her son, David Dungay Jr, in the prison.

Ms Dungay has submitted a landmark complaint to the UN to demand justice for her son, who died in Long Bay in 2015.

Hundreds gathered outside Long Bay on Friday to call for justice, accountability, and change to a system that has claimed the lives of more than 500 Indigenous people since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody brought down its findings over three decades ago.

The rally came ahead of a final decision on the landmark United Nations complaint launched by Ms Dungay, supported by human rights law firm the National Justice Project and top international human rights barrister Jen Robinson QC.

Before the gathering, Ms Dungay told National Indigenous Times that the failure of Australian authorities to deliver justice for her son had compelled her pursue an international intervention.

"I would like the United Nations to hold Australia to account for the responsibility of prosecuting those responsible for David's death," she said.

"Australia has not listened to us. White law has failed. European law has failed. Since David's death there have been many Indigenous deaths in custody. Since 1991, there have been 500, and only a handful of prosecutions. This has to end."

Ms Dungay said she was fighting for all those who had lost loved ones in the system.

"I want to shine an international spotlight on the systemic discrimination in Australia's prisons and healthcare systems, for all other Aboriginal families as well," she said.

Part of the protest held on Friday outside Long Bay. Image: Supplied.

The National Justice Project said the Australian government has ignored the findings of its own Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody and numerous inquests, and Aboriginal people are still dying in Australian prisons.

In October 2022, Mr Dungay's family slammed the NSW government's refusal to allow international inspectors into the state's prisons.

Many families are still waiting for justice, some decades after the loss of their loved ones.

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