The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) is an international agreement aimed at preventing torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. OPCAT places an obligation to establish a system of regular inspections to places of detention, with the aim of preventing torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
During lockdown, many of us – myself included – have become even more reliant on our mobile phones. They have kept us in contact with parents, children and grandchildren, our colleagues and friends during this difficult time.
Australia has taken the final step necessary to ratify and implement a major international treaty that combats torture and other forms of mistreatment. This is an opportunity to protect the rights of people who are detained in Australia for generations to come.
The Australian Human Rights Commission welcomed the Australian Government’s ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) on December 21, 2017.
Today Australia has taken the final step necessary to ratify and implement a major international treaty that combats torture and other forms of mistreatment. This is an opportunity to protect the rights of people who are detained in Australia for generations to come.
The Australian Human Rights Commission today welcomes the Australian Government’s ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).
Australia's ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) could be the single most positive step in a generation towards protecting the human rights of detainees, according to Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow.
Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow is seeking submissions on Australia’s implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).
“The Federal Government has outlined some of the key features of how it intends OPCAT to operate in Australia but there are many details still to be determined.
“The Government has explicitly provided for a period of consultation with key stakeholders and has asked me to consult with interested parties on how OPCAT should be implemented,” Commissioner Santow said.
The Commission visited various immigration detention centres as part of the Inquiry.
The Commission was accompanied by various independent consultants including paediatricians and child psychiatrists. The following are some of the reports prepared by these consultants after their visits to immigration detention centres.
These expert reports do not represent the views of the Commission.
Visit to Christmas Island from 1 – 8 March 2014:
The Commission has long held serious concerns about the impact of Australia’s mandatory immigration detention system, particularly on children.
In 1999-2000 the numbers of children in detention began to significantly increase. In November 2001, when there were over 700 children in detention, Human Rights Commissioner Dr Sev Ozdowski announced an inquiry into children in immigration detention. The Inquiry published its report, A last resort? National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention, in April 2004.
Please note: In accordance with the terms of the submissions process, the inquiry has:
- not listed below or published any confidential submissions; and
- in some cases, edited or not published (where an edited copy could not reasonably be published) the non-confidential submissions, in order to protect the identity of the authors, third parties, or where otherwise appropriate.
The Commission notes that the submissions listed below may contain errors. The submissions do not represent the views of the Commission.
Thank you for your kind introduction.
I would like to begin by acknowledging the Turrbal People, the traditional owners of the lands on which we are meeting today.
I would also like to acknowledge: