The consultation on OPCAT in Australia
On 9 February 2017, the Australian Government announced it intended to ratify the Optional Protocol on the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) by December 2017.
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 builds on the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). The key aim of OPCAT is to prevent the mistreatment of people in detention.
Under OPCAT, State Parties agree to establish an independent National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) to conduct inspections of all places of detention and closed environments. In addition to the NPM, State Parties also agree to international inspections of places of detention by the United Nations Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT).
The Commonwealth Attorney-General asked the Australian Human Rights Commission to conduct consultations with civil society to provide advice back to the Australian Government on views about OPCAT implementation. The Commission has released a consultation paper and sought feedback by 21 July 2017.