State Implementation of UN Torture Protocol a Decade After Signature Focus of High-Level Event and Report

Healthcare, Residential Facilities and Garda Station Inspection Gaps

Ten years to the day after Ireland signalled its intention to ratify the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT), State ratification has yet to occur.

A new report on “Ireland and the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture” being launched this Monday (2nd October) commissioned by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (‘the Commission’) makes evidence-based suggestions towards Ireland’s implementation.  The report will be launched at a high-level event bringing together national and international experts.

The Optional Protocol would require the State to set up a National Preventative Mechanism (NPM) to allow unfettered access and increased independent inspection of all places of detention, including Garda stations, but also including care and residential settings.

Some places of detention, such as prisons are currently subject to inspections, while others, such as Garda stations and certain healthcare and residential facilities represent gaps in Ireland’s current monitoring framework.

Chairperson of one of the UN Committees for the Prevention of Torture, Professor Malcolm Evans will address Ireland’s non-ratification at the roundtable event, while the Head of the Norwegian National Preventative Mechanism, Helga Fastrup Ervik will set out Norway’s direct experience of implementing OPCAT.

Launching the research report will be co-author Professor Rachel Murray, Professor of International Human Rights at the University of Bristol. The report focuses on Ireland moving beyond Ireland’s ratification to implementing its requirements.

Member of the Commission Mark Kelly, Vice-President of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, will chair the roundtable event on Ireland’s approach to OPCAT ratification.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, as Ireland’s National Human Rights Institution has sought to progress Ireland’s ratification of the UN treaty protocol, which has been ratified by 84 UN Member States.

Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated:

“A decade on from Ireland signalling its intention to ratify this UN protocol, substantial progress has yet to be made. The putting in place of a National Preventative Mechanism for Ireland under OPCAT will significantly strengthen inspection and monitoring processes in places where persons are deprived of their liberty, from Garda stations to residential care facilities.

“In Commissioning this research from the University of Bristol, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission’s focus has been on enabling ratification to take place. The Commission is clear stemming from this research, that after a decade, the State must now make progress on ratification and implementation.”

ENDS/

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Editor’s Note

The Launch of the Report “Ireland and the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention Against Torture” takes place on Monday 2nd October, from 1.30pm at the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Offices, 16-22 Green Street, Dublin 7.

The report commissioned by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is authored by Professor Rachel Murray and Dr. Elina Steinerte of the University of Bristol and is available here:

https://www.ihrec.ie/app/uploads/2017/09/Ireland-and-the-Optional-Protocol-to-the-UN-Convention-against-Torture.pdf 

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.