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Response to Consultation Paper OPCAT in Australia: Stage 2

The submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission in response to the ‘OPCAT in Australia Consultation Paper: Stage 2’ (Consultation Paper) was prepared by the Law Council. 

On 26 July 2017, the Law Council provided the AHRC with a comprehensive submission in response to its earlier consultation on this issue. The Law Council draws on this earlier submission and notes that the positions outlined in that work remain current, with the present submission further building on these views.

On 21 December 2017, Australia took a positive step in the campaign to end torture, through the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT). OPCAT is designed to strengthen the protection of persons deprived of their liberty against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

It requires the Australian Government to establish a system of regular visits, to be undertaken by independent international and national bodies, to all places of detention in Australia, including prisons, youth and immigration detention and mental health facilities.

The Law Council has long pressed for this ratification, as it is envisaged that OPCAT will assist in preventing torture from occurring in any place of detention in Australia, as well as encouraging a culture of transparency and accountability. The State’s obligation not to impose such treatment or punishment or to expose anyone to the real risk of such treatment or punishment is an obligation which cannot be derogated from in any circumstances.

You can read the full submission below.

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