OPCAT: Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture

PWDA, as part of DPO Australia, joined with our civil society colleagues in welcoming the Commonwealth Attorney General’s announcement that Australia had ratified an international human rights treaty known as the UN Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT).

Ratification of this treaty was a highly significant moment in protecting the rights of the most segregated and isolated people in society.

The treaty will apply to all places of detention including prisons, police cells, immigration detention and secure mental health, aged care and disability facilities. By ratifying OPCAT, Australia will commit to establishing a ‘national preventative mechanism’ to visit places of detention, make recommendations and report publicly on its findings and views.

Australia’s ratification of OPCAT requires the establishment of a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM).

An NPM is an independent oversight mechanism focused on preventing torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (ill-treatment) primarily by monitoring and inspecting places of detention.

People with disability are significantly over-represented in places of detention and experience much higher rates of all forms of violence, torture and ill-treatment. We believe that the NPM must be disability inclusive to prevent disability based detention and to prevent torture and ill-treatment perpetrated against people with disability in places of detention.

Read the DPO Australia position paper on the National Preventative Mechanism.