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Grandmothers Against Removals: the winners of the 2016 Aboriginal Justice Award at Parliament House in Sydney. The group were against eight other finalists. Image: Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales

By Dr Camille Nakhid and TJ Aumua

A group of indigenous mothers and grandmothers who actively campaign to stop the forced removal of aboriginal children from their families have been recognised with a justice award.

Grandmothers Against Removals (GMAR) were recipients of the Aboriginal Justice Award at the Justice Awards in Sydney this month.

The group were recognised for their advocation against indigenous children being forcibly taken away from families as well their contribution with developing the guiding principles for strengthening the participation of local Aboriginal community in child protection decision making.

Laura Lyons, a member of GMAR Sydney, told Asia Pacific Report earlier this year of the forced and unjustified removal of her children and the abuse they faced in a residential care facility.

‘Proud moment’

She said the award was a “proud moment” for the group and believed their ancestors were present to witness it.

‘On our way to the awards we saw a rainbow,’ Lyons explained.

“It was actually Bianca (Lyons daughter) who looked up in the sky and said, ‘mum there’s the rainbow’. I said to her, ‘that’s our ancestors with us’ and i knew we were going to win the award.”


Lyons said her case with the Department of Children Services (DoCS) is ongoing and GMAR continue to be busy travelling to other communities to assist and support families.

GMAR have set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for transport costs to visit other families who need their help.