United Nations to Inspect Australian Prisons

The UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT) will be visiting Australia for 12 days from 16 Oct 2022 – 27 Oct 2022. The visit will focus on the delayed reaction by the Australian government to implement the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) into domestic legislation. OPCAT is an international human rights treaty that functions to safeguard prisoners’ rights against ‘cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’.

In 2013, Justice Action was invited to participate in a nation-wide Roundtable of NGOs discussing OPCAT and the effects of its ratification on detainees. Ahead of the SPT’s upcoming visit, Justice Action has undertaken expansive prisoner community consultations to prepare a submission raising four key issues of concern:

– Detainee representation and participation in OPCAT
– Solitary confinement
– Forced Medication
– Strip Searching

To strengthen Australia’s compliance with OPCAT, the SPT is seeking submissions that identify harmful systemic practices in preparation for their visit. If you would like to make a submission, please send it to ohchr-opcat@un.org.