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Kyiv-Copenhagen Declaration reaffirms commitment to preventing torture

Commission – General
Six people, including Human Rights Commissioner Lorraine Finlay, standing in a conference room in front of a projector screen.

The Human Rights Commissioner, Lorraine Finlay, recently travelled to Copenhagen to attend the 14th International Conference of National Human Rights Institutions. More than 85 NHRIs from around the world participated in the conference, which was co-hosted by GANHRI, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, the Danish Institute for Human Rights, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The theme of the Conference was ‘Torture and Other Ill-Treatment: The Role of National Human Rights Institutions’, with delegates focused on developing a roadmap to counter the growing incidence of torture and ill-treatment in countries across the world.

During the conference Commissioner Finlay participated in a panel discussion that focused on the key role of National Preventive Mechanisms under the OPCAT (Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture), and ensuring effective complementarity with the work of NHRIs in addressing and preventing torture and other forms of ill-treatment.

Commissioner Finlay’s presentation focused on the continued work of the Australian Human Rights Commission towards supporting the full implementation of OPCAT in Australia.

The key message was that ratifying OPCAT alone is not enough – effective implementation is the critical step to ensure that the treaty principles are translated into practice.

The Kyiv-Copenhagen Declaration was unanimously adopted at the conclusion of the Conference.

It reaffirms the commitment of NHRIs to a torture-free world, and sets out a range of practical actions that NHRIs will take as part of their promotion, prevention and protection work on torture and other forms of ill-treatment.