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Visit from the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture

The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP
Media Release

I welcome the visit to Australia by a delegation of the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

The delegation will spend the next week visiting Commonwealth, state and territory places of detention.

Australia and the Subcommittee have a shared commitment to ensuring people who are held in places of detention are treated with dignity and are not subject to degrading treatment or punishment.

Australia has been a party to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment since 1989.

The Optional Protocol to the Convention, known as OPCAT, was ratified by the former Coalition government in 2017. No state or territory objected to ratification.

This is the first visit from the Subcommittee, which forms part of Australia's responsibilities as a party to the Optional Protocol. The Subcommittee conducts regular visits to member countries like Australia and provides advice and assistance to ensure compliance with obligations under the Optional Protocol.

I would like to thank the Governments of Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT for their cooperative approach to facilitating visits by the delegation.

Inspections of prisons and other places of detention are a regular occurrence in Australia, and Governments throughout Australia have oversight bodies that monitor conditions in places of detention. This visit complements those existing regulatory bodies, and is an important part of honouring our international commitments.

I wish the Subcommittee well as it embarks on its visit to Australia and I look forward to receiving its report in due course.