Monitoring places of detention – OPCAT

The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT)

OPCAT is an International Treaty adopted by the United Nations in 2002 as a means to strengthen, in a very practical way, efforts to eradicate the practice of torture and other ill-treatment.

The Australian Government ratified the Optional Protocol in December 2017. In ratifying the Protocol, the Australian Government announced the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman (the Office) as the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) Coordinator. As the Coordinator, the Office is responsible for facilitating and coordinating the Commonwealth, State and Territory NPMs.  This may include collecting information, facilitating information sharing, providing secretariat functions and providing reports.

This Office has also been designated as the NPM for inspecting Commonwealth places of detention, this includes Defence detention facilities, immigration detention facilities and Australian Federal Police cells.

Read the Ombudsman’s speech to the 7th Annual Prisons Conference about ‘Implementing OPCAT in Australia’, in Melbourne, August 2018.