Submission

Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture

Joint submission to the Select Committee on COVID-19: Pre-committee version
Publisher
Prisoners Human rights Indigenous incarceration Prison administration Australia
Description

This submission is informed by the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT), an international treaty which aims to prevent mistreatment and promote humane conditions in places of detention by establishing systems for independent monitoring and inspection. The joint submission calls on governments across Australia to take immediate action to reduce the number of people held in places of detention. This should include responsibly releasing people who are at risk of significant harm should they contract COVID-19, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, refugees and people seeking asylum.

Key Recommendations:

  • Federal, State and Territory Governments must take immediate action to reduce the number of people held in places of detention. This should include responsibly releasing people who are at higher risk of significant harm should they contract COVID-19, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, elderly people, people with chronic health conditions, people living with disability, people with mental health conditions, children, young people, pregnant women, primary caregivers for young children, refugees and people seeking asylum.
  • In order to ensure greater transparency, Federal, State and Territory Governments must provide regular, updated and accurate information to the public and to oversight bodies on its response to the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to each place of detention.
  • Federal, State and Territory Governments must prohibit the use of solitary confinement, and other practices that amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including isolation and quarantine measures that amount to effective solitary confinement, in places of detention.
  • Federal, State and Territory Governments must not adopt unreasonable measures that will further undermine or limit existing formal and informal mechanisms of oversight and transparency.
Publication Details
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