Comments of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) on

Australia’s compliance with the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment

April 2008

 


 

 

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
Level 8, 133 Castlereagh Street
GPO Box 5218
Sydney NSW 2001
Phone (02) 9284 9600

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Contents

A. Introduction

B. The ratification of OPCAT.

C. A new torture offence

D. Treatment in Immigration Detention

E. A system of complementary protection

F. Mechanisms to check diplomatic assurances are honoured

G. Engagement with the UN Treaty Body process


A. Introduction

  1. The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (‘HREOC’) provides these comments to the United Nations Committee Against Torture (‘the Committee’) about Australia’s compliance with the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (‘CAT’). These comments supplement and, in some cases, supplant earlier comments HREOC made to the Committee in February 2007.

  2. HREOC welcomes the following changes to Australian Government policy:
    1. The end of the Pacific Strategy and the closure of offshore processing centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea (Manus);
    2. The Australian Government’s statement that it is considering acceding to the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (‘OPCAT’);
    1. The Australian Government’s statement that it is considering enacting a specific offence of torture.

  3. HREOC’s comments also identify questions the Committee may wish to ask the Australian Government delegation at the 40th session of the Committee (to be held from 29-30 April 2008).

B. The ratification of OPCAT

  1. HREOC welcomes the Australian Government’s statement in the Addendum provided to the Committee that it is considering acceding to the OPCAT. The domestic and international inspection mechanisms envisaged by the OPCAT would improve Australia’s ability to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in places where persons are deprived of their liberty.[1] It would also assist Australia in fulfilling its obligations under the CAT, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (‘ICCPR’) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (‘CRC’).

  2. The ratification of the OPCAT is particularly important in light of the limited protection under Australian law of the rights set out in CAT. Australia does not have a federal Charter of Rights which protects the rights set out in CAT or the prohibitions on torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment contained in the ICCPR and the CRC.

  3. While HREOC has statutory functions to promote and protect ‘human rights’, HREOC does not have the legal powers to effectively monitor Australia’s compliance with CAT. This is because:
    1. ‘Human rights’ under the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986 (Cth) (‘the HREOC Act’) are strictly defined and relate only to the six international instruments scheduled to, or declared under the HREOC Act.[2] As noted in HREOC’s comments to the Committee in February 2007, CAT is not scheduled to the HREOC Act and has not been declared under s 47 of the HREOC Act.[3]
    2. As a result of the strict definition of ‘human rights’, CAT is not included in HREOC’s complaint handling jurisdiction. As such HREOC cannot directly investigate allegations that the provisions of CAT have been breached. Nevertheless, HREOC is empowered to investigate complaints which arise under the ICCPR or CRC, which include provisions proscribing torture and cruel and inhuman treatment.[4]
    3. HREOC’s human rights complaint handling function is limited to acts or practices done or engaged in:
      1. by or on behalf of the Commonwealth;
      2. wholly or partly within a ‘Territory’ (note, however, that Territory is defined so as to exclude the Australian Capital Territory (‘ACT’) and the Northern Territory (‘NT’)); or
      3. under a Commonwealth or Territory enactment (again, the enactments of the ACT and the NT are specifically excluded).

      That limitation largely excludes people detained in institutions run by the States, the ACT and the NT (unless a person is detained in such an institution on behalf of the Commonwealth or under a Commonwealth enactment – for example, people detained in State prisons under the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) (‘the Migration Act’)).[5]

    4. HREOC’s complaint handling powers are focussed upon violations of human rights which have already occurred. While HREOC has the power to make recommendations for the prevention of the repetition of the relevant act or practice these recommendations are not enforceable.[6]
    5. HREOC’s complaint handling powers do not extend to investigating the acts and practices of an intelligence agency.[7]
    6. HREOC has no power to compel entry into places of detention for general inspections.[8]
  4. While the domestic implementation of the OPCAT will help improve the protection of the human rights of people in detention in Australia, the introduction of other protective measures should also be considered to ensure people in detention can access enforceable remedies for breaches of their human rights by public authorities.[9]

  5. The introduction of a Charter of Rights could provide people in detention with opportunities to seek redress for violations of their rights under CAT. It could also help foster a human rights culture in government departments and ensure both public authorities and private companies contracted to provide detention services provide those services in a human rights framework.

  6. In this context, HREOC welcomes the Government’s stated intention to initiate a national inquiry into how best to protect human rights in Australia. This Inquiry will provide an opportunity, amongst others, to assess whether Australia is adequately protecting the human rights of persons in detention.
Question: What does the Australian Government consider to be the gaps in the current protection of human rights in people of detention?

C. A new torture offence

  1. HREOC welcomes the statement in the Addendum that the Australian Government is considering enacting in Commonwealth law a specific offence of torture, as defined in Article 1 of CAT, with extraterritorial application.

  2. Article 4 of CAT requires Australia to comprehensively criminalise torture. While legislation exists which criminalises torture, there are gaps in Australia’s laws. In particular:
    1. The prohibition on torture in the Crimes (Torture) Act 1988 (Cth) is unduly narrow. It prohibits acts of torture committed outside Australia, if:
      1. the person committed the act in his or her capacity as a public office or while acting in an official capacity; or
      2. the person committed the act at the instigation, or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or person acting in an official capacity; and
      3. at the time it was committed, it would have been an offence under Australian law.[10]
    2. While the offence of torture is criminalised in some Australian States and Territories, other States and Territories do not have specific offences of torture although acts of torture may be criminalised under the provisions of other criminal offences (for example, assault).[11]

  3. There have been no prosecutions under the Crimes (Torture) Act 1988 (Cth). A prosecution can only be brought with the consent of the Attorney-General.

  4. The Crimes (Torture) Act 1988 (Cth) does not criminalise cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. While Article 1 of CAT does not expressly include ‘cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’ as part of the definition of torture, the Committee’s General Comment on Article 2 of CAT states:

In practice the definitional threshold between cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and torture is not clear. The conditions that give rise to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment frequently facilitate torture and therefore the measures required to prevent torture must be applied to prevent cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Accordingly, the Committee has considered the prohibition of ill-treatment to be likewise non-derogable under the Convention... [12]

  1. Cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by public officials has been criminalised in some contexts. For example, provisions contained in the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) relating to the exercise of anti-terrorism powers make it an offence punishable by up to two years imprisonment to subject a person to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.[13] However, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment by public officials is not comprehensively criminalised in Australian law.

  2. HREOC believes new federal legislation criminalising torture should attract universal jurisdiction. Under the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth) ‘category D’ jurisdiction reflects the international law concept of universal jurisdiction and applies to terrorist offences, wars crimes and crimes against humanity.[14]

  3. Such legislation should also include a comprehensive and explicit prohibition of the practice of ‘extraordinary rendition’ where an individual is transferred with the involvement of the state or its agents to a foreign state without recourse to established legal processes and in circumstances that make it more likely than not that the individual will be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Question: Will new legislation introduced to criminalise torture also criminalise cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment?

D. Treatment in Immigration Detention

The end of Offshore Processing Centres

  1. In its submission to the Committee in February 2007, HREOC expressed concern about the treatment of asylum seekers in Offshore Processing Centres. HREOC welcomes the end of offshore processing.

Immigration Detention Standards should be codified in legislation

  1. HREOC has repeatedly expressed concerns that mandatory immigration detention can have a serious and detrimental impact on the mental health of detainees. HREOC has also found that the continued detention of individuals with mental health problems can amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.[15] HREOC has recently observed that:

It is still not possible to properly treat the mental health problems suffered by most immigration detainees. This is because the main way to treat a mental health concern is to remove the primary cause of the problem. In the case of immigration detainees, detention and uncertainty are amongst the main causes and they cannot usually be addressed by the mental health professionals.[16]

  1. The Written Replies by the Government of Australia to the Committee Against Torture state that immigration detention services are provided in accordance with the Immigration Detention Standards (‘IDS’), developed in consultation with HREOC and the Commonwealth Ombudsman Office.[17]

  2. While the IDS help ensure that people in immigration detention are treated with respect and dignity, they are not enshrined in legislation and do not provide people in immigration detention with access to effective remedies for alleged breaches of their human rights. Even if the IDS were enshrined in legislation, while mandatory immigration detention continues in Australia, the mental health of detainees may still be fundamentally
    compromised as a result of prolonged immigration detention.

  3. The provision of detention services at Australia’s Immigration Detention Facilities was outsourced to Global Solutions Limited (‘GSL’) August 2003. The IDS form part of the contract with GSL.[18] HREOC has previously expressed concerns that:
    1. aspects of the IDS do not provide sufficient guidance on what service providers must do to ensure conditions in immigration detention comply with international human rights standards.[19]
    2. the mechanisms for scrutinising whether or not the service provider complies with the IDS are inadequate. This is because the IDS standards on monitoring and reporting place responsibility for monitoring compliance with the IDS on the service provider.[20]

  4. HREOC notes that the monitoring arrangements for compliance with the IDS were criticised by the 2005 Palmer Report which stated:

The lack of any focused mechanism for external accountability and professional review of standards and arrangements for the delivery of health services is a significant omission.[21]

  1. HREOC understands that the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is in the process of reviewing the IDS as part of a tender process for a new detention services contract. HREOC is hopeful that the new contract will:
    1. provide more specific guidance on what steps service providers need to take to comply with human rights standards; and
    2. improve the accountability mechanisms set out in the IDS.

  2. However, HREOC’s preferred approach is for the government to codify in legislation the minimum standards that should apply to all persons in immigration detention. HREOC has made this recommendation on a number of occasions.
Question: Will the Government take steps to codify the minimum standards of treatment in immigration detention in legislation?

Human Rights training for providers of immigration detention facilities

  1. HREOC has recently released a report recommending increased human rights training for all current and future employees of the DIAC and the personnel of private companies contracted to provide immigration detention services. This recommendation was made in the context of a report by the President of HREOC into a complaint by two immigration detainees transferred from Maribyrnong Immigration Centre to Baxter Immigration Detention Facility on 17 September 2004.

  2. The President of HREOC found that DIAC and GSL had breached articles 7 and 10(1) of the ICCPR by subjecting the detainees to degrading treatment and a lack of respect for human dignity during the first seven hour leg of that transfer. The President made various recommendations including to enhance detainee complaint making procedures and to improve human rights training for the providers of detention services.[22] DIAC and GSL’s response to these recommendations are contained in the report.[23]

E. A system of complementary protection

  1. In 2001, the Committee recommended that Australia consider the ‘desirability of providing a mechanism for independent review of ministerial decisions in respect of cases coming under article 3 of CAT’.[24] There is currently no such review mechanism in Australia.

  2. Currently, the only way to have a CAT claim considered is for Minister for Immigration and Citizenship to exercise his or her power under sections 417, 454 and 501J of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) to substitute a decision of the Refugee Review Tribunal or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal with a more favourable decision for the applicant. The practical implication is that a person with a valid CAT claim could spend many years in immigration detention.

  3. In 2004, HREOC made a submission to the 2004 Senate Select Committee on Ministerial Discretion in Migration. HREOC’s submission stated:
    1. the exercise of ministerial discretion (under s 417 of the Migration Act) provides inadequate protection against non-refoulement of asylum seekers who may be eligible for protection under CAT, the ICCPR, or the CRC.
    2. the s 417 ministerial discretion is non-compellable, non-reviewable and lacks the basic features of accountable and transparent decision making.
    1. a specific ‘complementary protection’ visa class must be introduced to ensure Australia complies with its non-refoulement obligations under the CAT, the ICCPR and the CRC. The decision to grant or decline the visa application should be based on the application of clear criteria; and subject to independent merits review and judicial review.
    1. Ministerial discretion should remain as a final safety check.[25]

  4. The report of the 2004 Senate Select Committee on Ministerial Discretion in Migration recommended:

the government give consideration to adopting a system of complementary protection to ensure that Australia no longer relies solely on the minister's discretionary powers to meet its non-refoulement obligations under the CAT, CROC and ICCPR.[26]

  1. HREOC understands the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship is currently considering the establishment of a system of complementary protection and is ‘favourably disposed to looking at how we might advance that agenda’.[27] In evidence provided to the Senate Estimates Committee, the Minister stated:

On coming to government I sought to review all ministerial powers. I have commissioned a report from Elizabeth Proust seeking a fresh set of eyes in addition to departmental advice on the use of ministerial powers. The figures I received when I entered the portfolio indicate that there has been a substantial increase in the use of ministerial powers and I want to understand why and whether that is appropriate... In a general sense I have formed the view I have too much power. The [Migration] act is unlike any act I have seen not just because of a concern about playing God but also because of the lack of accountability for those ministerial decisions, the lack in some cases of any appeal rights against those decisions and the fact what I thought was to be a power used in rare cases has become very much the norm... I have received that report from Elizabeth Proust and I am considering it at the moment. [28]

  1. HREOC believes the creation of a complementary protection visa class which has clear criteria and is subject to administrative and judicial review is the best way for Australia to meet its non-refoulement obligations. Such a class could provide for persons who require protection from human rights violations under CAT and the ICCPR.
Question: Is the Australian Government intending to introduce a system of complementary protection?

F. Mechanisms to check diplomatic assurances are honoured

  1. HREOC understands that, in considering whether to return a person to a country origin, Australia may take into account, among other considerations, diplomatic assurances that the person will not be tortured on their return.[29] For example, in September 2007, the Australian media reported that a Chinese man, Mr Qi, was to be deported from Australia to face murder charges in China.[30] Australia received diplomatic assurances from China that Mr Qi would not face the death penalty. HREOC understands that Mr Qi is still in Australia.

  2. In relation to the existence of follow-up mechanisms to check whether assurances about a person’s treatment on their return to their country of origin are honoured, the Written Replies state:

Whether Australia seeks access to persons removed to another state for the purpose of monitoring whether a torture undertaking is honoured is ultimately a question of policy. Each case must be considered individually, on its known facts. Australia has taken opportunities to advise the State to which a person is transferred that Australia may from time to time seek access to that person.[31]

  1. It is unclear when, if at all, Australia has taken such opportunities to seek access to a person who claimed to be in danger of torture after they have been removed from Australia.

  2. HREOC notes that, consistent with the jurisprudence of the Committee[32] and the UN Human Rights Committee,[33] Australia is not relieved of its human rights obligations simply by obtaining diplomatic assurances from the receiving country.

  3. HREOC considers that, where diplomatic assurances are a factor in deciding to return a person to their country of origin, follow-up mechanisms, such as the monitoring of treatment of returnees, should be put in place to ensure that those assurances are honoured.
Question: Are there examples of when Australia has taken follow-up steps to check whether assurances made to the Australian Government have been honoured and/or sought access to a person who claimed to be danger of torture after that person has been returned?

G. Engagement with the UN Treaty Body process

  1. HREOC welcomes the statement by the Australian Government to the 7th session of the Human Rights Council that it is committed to building a more constructive relationship with UN Human Rights Bodies and to strengthening Australia’s involvement in the UN Human Rights system.[34]

  2. Consistent with this spirit of engagement, HREOC believes that Australia should have a policy of not removing a person from Australia who has made an individual communication to the Committee alleging a violation of their rights under CAT before the Committee makes a decision on the merits of their complaint. If the Committee decides that the removing the person from Australia would violate Australia’s obligations under CAT the person should not be removed in any circumstances.

  3. The Attorney-General’s Department’s website[35] states the following individual communications to the Committee are yet to be determined:
    1. Communication 324/2007 under the CAT (received June 2007): This communication alleges that the removal of the author from Australia will breach article 3(1). The author has made unsuccessful protection visa claims. An Interim Measures Request has been made seeking that Australia refrain from removing the author from Australia whilst the complaint is under consideration by the Committee.
    2. Communication 316/2007 under the CAT (received May 2007): The communication alleges that the extradition of a man will breach article 3(1) of CAT. The Minister for Justice and Customs has determined that the author should be surrendered under the Extradition Act. The communication alleges that Australia will breach art 3(1) of CAT if the author is extradited.
Question: Has Australia complied with the interim measures request in relation to Communication 324/2007?
Question: Has the decision to extradite the author of communication 316/2007 been postponed pending the resolution of the complaint by CAT?


[1] HREOC, Submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties' Inquiry into the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; see also Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, Report 58: Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, March 2004, Canberra.
[2] HREOC Act, s 3. The instruments scheduled to, or declared under the HREOC Act are: (a) the ICCPR; (b) the Declaration on the Rights of the Child; (c) the Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons; (d) the Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons, (e) the CRC; and (f) the Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.
[3] Section 47 of the HREOC Act provides that ‘[t]he Minister may, after consulting the appropriate Minister of each State, by writing, declare an international instrument, being: (a)  an instrument ratified or acceded to by Australia; or (b)  a declaration that has been adopted by Australia; to be an international instrument relating to human rights and freedoms for the purposes of the HREOC Act’.
[4] HREOC Act, s11(1)(f); see also articles 7, 10(1) of the ICCPR and article 37, CRC.
[5] While people detained in State and Territory jurisdictions may be entitled to make complaints in relation to their treatment and conditions of detention to bodies such as the Ombudsman, the Inspector General of Corrective Services or an Official Prison Visitor, these bodies are not specifically empowered to investigate whether the provisions of the CAT or other human rights instruments have been breached.
[6] HREOC Act, s 29. Such a report must be tabled in Parliament (see s46 of the Act). Note that, under s29, HREOC may only make recommendations, not binding orders.
[7] HREOC Act,s 11(3). Section 11(4) defines an intelligence agency as a ‘reference to the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, the Office of National Assessments, that part of the Department of Defence known as the Defence Signals Directorate (including any part of the Defence Force that performs functions on behalf of that part of the Department), that part of the Department of Defence known as the Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation (including any part of the Defence Force that performs functions on behalf of that part of the Department) or that part of the Department of Defence known as the Defence Intelligence Organisation.’
[8] Though it is noted that HREOC has the power under s 21(1) of the Act to require a person it believes is capable of giving information or producing documents relevant to a matter under inquiry, to give that information to HREOC at such a place and time as specified by HREOC.
[9] Victoria and the Australia Capital Territory have both introduced statutory Charter of Rights which include the prohibition against torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in Article 7 of the ICCPR.
[10] See s 6 of the Crimes (Torture) Act 1988 (Cth); see also Crimes (Torture) Bill, 2nd Reading speech, Hansard, 23 March 2008, 1227.
[11] There is no specific offence of torture under NSW, Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia or Victorian law. The Queensland Criminal Code provides for a specific offence of torture (see s 320 of the Criminal Code (Qld) and the Australian Capital Territory also criminalises torture. See further the Written Replies by the Government of Australia to the List of Issues (CAT/C/AUS/Q/4) prepared by the Committee Against Torture to be considered during the examination of the fourth periodic report of Australia (CAT/C/67/Add.7), [315]-[388].
[12] The United Nations Committee Against Torture, General Comment No. 2, CAT/C/GC/2, 24 January 2008, [3]; see also [8]-[11].
[13] Criminal Code 1995 (Cth), ss 105.33.
[14] Criminal Code 1995 (Cth), ss 15.4.
[15] HREOC, A Last Resort, National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention, April 2004, Chapter 9.
[16] HREOC, Summary of Observations following the Inspection of Mainland Immigration Detention Facilities, 2007, available online http://www.hreoc.gov.au/HUMAN_RIGHTS/asylum_seekers/index.html.
[17] Written Replies by the Government of Australia to the List of Issues (CAT/C/AUS/Q/4) prepared by the Committee Against Torture to be considered during the examination of the fourth periodic report of Australia (CAT/C/67/Add.7), [140].
[18] The provision of immigration detention services has been outsourced since November 1997. Australasian Correctional Services (ACS), through its operational arm Australasian Correctional Management (ACM), provided detention services from November 1997 until February 2004. On 27 August 2003 a contract was signed with Global Solutions Limited (GSL) (formerly Group 4 Flack) to provide detention services for the next four years, with an option to extend for a further period of up to three years.
[19] See for e.g. HREOC, A Last Resort, National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention, April 2004, [5.5].
[20] Under the IDS GSL is responsible for reporting all breaches and incidents to DIaC. The IDS set out what are classified as minor, major and critical incidents. If breaches occur and are identified, DIaC will issue GSL with a notice of sanctions.
[21] Mick Palmer, Inquiry into the Circumstances of the Immigration Detention of Cornelia Rau, July 2005, [26], available online at http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/pdf/palmer-report.pdf .
[22] Report of Complaint by Mr Huong Nguyen and Mr Austin Okoye against the Commonwealth of Australia and GSL (Australia) Pty Ltd [2008] HREOC Report No 39, [324]-325]. The report is available online http://www.humanrights.gov.au/legal/HREOCA_reports/hrc_report_39.pdf
[23] Report of Complaint by Mr Huong Nguyen and Mr Austin Okoye against the Commonwealth of Australia and GSL (Australia) Pty Ltd [2008] HREOC Report No 39, p 92 -94. The report is available online http://www.humanrights.gov.au/legal/HREOCA_reports/hrc_report_39.pdf
[24] Concluding Observations of the Committee Against Torture: Australia, 25th session, 13-24 November 2000, CAT A/56/44/2001.
[25] For further information see HREOC, submission to the 2004 Senate Select Committee on Ministerial Discretion in Migration, available at: http://www.humanrights.gov.au/human_rights/migration_matters.html
[26] Report of Senate Select Committee on Ministerial Discretion in Migration, 2004, [8.82]. HREOC notes that an earlier report in 2000 by the Senate Legal and Constitutional References Committee recommended that the Attorney-General’s Department, in conjunction with the then Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA), consider amending Australia’s laws to explicitly incorporate the non-refoulement obligations of CAT and the CRC into domestic law.
[27] Senator Chris Evans, Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Estimates (Additional Budget Estimates), Committee Hansard, 19 February 2008, L & CA 23.
[28] Senator Chris Evans, Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Estimates (Additional Budget Estimates), Committee Hansard, 19 February 2008, L & CA 22; see also Mark Metherell, ‘I should not play God: Evans’, Sydney Morning Herald, February 20 2008
[29]Written Replies by the Government of Australia to the List of Issues (CAT/C/AUS/Q/4) prepared by the Committee Against Torture to be considered during the examination of the fourth periodic report of Australia (CAT/C/67/Add.7), [287].
[30] ABC Lateline, ‘Chinese Man to be deported after 10 years’, 11/09/2007, available online http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2007/s2030326.htm . HREOC also notes that ABC has reported that a Chinese man deported from Australia in 2007 claimed that he was interrogated and tortured on his return to China: ABC AM, ‘Chinese deportee claims torture’, 29 June 2007, available online at http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2007/s1965335.htm.
[31]Written Replies by the Government of Australia to the List of Issues (CAT/C/AUS/Q/4) prepared by the Committee Against Torture to be considered during the examination of the fourth periodic report of Australia (CAT/C/67/Add.7),, [288].
[32]Agiza v Sweden (CAT/C/34/D/233/2003 (2005)). In this case, Sweden had relied solely on diplomatic assurances provided by Egyptian authorities that the individual would not be tortured. In light of the fact that, inter alia, the assurances did not contain an enforcement mechanism the Committee concluded that diplomatic assurances were insufficient to protect against the risk of ill-treatment and that, as a result, the expulsion amounted to breach of CAT.
[33] Alzery v Sweden (CCPR/C/88/D/1416/2005 (2006)).
[34] The Hon Stephen Smith MP, Media release: Statement by Australia to the Human Rights Council: Seventh Session, 5 March 2008, 6 March 2008, available online at http://www.foreignminister.gov.au/releases/2008/fa-s046_08.html .
[35] http://www.ag.gov.au/www/agd/agd.nsf/Page/Humanrightsandanti-discrimination_Humanrightscommunications /