OPCAT in Australia - Consultations with Civil Society

On 9 February 2017, the Australian Government announced it intends to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) by December 2017, working closely with states and territories.

When making this announcement, the Commonwealth Attorney-General asked the Australian Human Rights Commission to consult with civil society to help facilitate the effective implementation of OPCAT in Australia.

While the Government has outlined some of the key features of how it intends OPCAT to operate in Australia, there remain many details still to be determined. Accordingly, the Commission is now conducting a consultation process with civil society to ascertain their views on the design and implementation of OPCAT.

The Commission is seeking input from individuals and organisations in two ways:

  1. First, the Commission invites written responses to the guideline questions in a Consultation Paper, available here. Responses to the paper should be emailed to humanrights.commissioner@humanrights.gov.au by 21 July 2017.

Please note that when making a submission, you are indicating that you have read and understood the Commission’s Submission Policy, which can be found here.

  1. Secondly, the Commission will host a series of consultation roundtables in order to seek views on the development and establishment of NPM bodies in each jurisdiction. The roundtables will draw on the expertise of relevant stakeholders to inform how OPCAT should be implemented in Australia.

Given the breadth of OPCAT, the Commission is keen to hear from a range of civil society stakeholders with relevant expertise in relation to the inspection of places of detention. The Commission will analyse these responses and feed back to Government.Civil society partnerships have been vital in the prevention of torture, including OPCAT Ratification and implementation.

Civil society partnerships have been vital in the prevention of torture, including OPCAT Ratification and implementation.

Photo taken with permission from: Association for the Prevention of Torture, Putting Prevention into Practice – OPCAT 10th anniversary booklet (2016) 32, available here (viewed 15 May 2017).