The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) aims to improve how people’s human rights are protected when they are detained. It does this by providing for a rigorous process of independent inspections of all places of detention in a country’s jurisdiction. In so doing, OPCAT enables a light to be shone on the conditions experienced by people in detention.
On 21 December 2017, the Australian Government ratified OPCAT. By ratifying OPCAT, Australia agreed to be bound by the treaty, and signalled to the world that it will comply with it.
The Commission’s focus here is on implementing OPCAT. That process involves incorporating the terms of the treaty into Australian law, policy and practice.
This document brings together the Commission’s work in this area. The recommendations made here are informed by the Commission’s consultation process, which has included face-to-face meetings and receipt of written submissions. It is also informed by the Commission’s extensive work on OPCAT over more than a decade, including the Commission’s 2017 interim report on implementing OPCAT and the National Children’s Commissioner’s 2016 report on the application of OPCAT to the custodial detention of children and young people.