Australia has moved
another step closer to ratifying an anti-torture
treaty that will enable independent inspections of detention centres, prisons
and psychiatric wards.
The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) this week recommended that the Federal Government ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).
The JSCOT recommendation
is in line with the Federal Government’s National
Interest Analysis, which also endorsed ratification of the protocol.
After tabling the National Interest Analysis in Parliament earlier this year, Attorney-General Nicola
Roxon said that ratifying OPCAT would ‘send a strong message both
within Australia and internationally that Australia takes its human rights
PIAC and other
organisations, including Amnesty International Australia and Civil Liberties
Australia, have long urged the Government to take action on OPCAT.
In December 2011, a
coalition of Australian human rights organisations sent a letter
to the Attorney-General calling for OPCAT ratification.
moves a step closer to anti-torture protocol, PIAC, 17 April 2012.
checks on detention, Sydney Morning Herald, 13 April 2012