What is it about?

This article identifies some of the challenges likely to arise in implementing the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) in the context of immigration detention in Australia. It opens with a discussion of the relevant places of immigration detention, before surveying the bodies that already monitor these places and considering whether they do so in an OPCAT-compliant manner. It concludes by considering some of the most pressing outstanding challenges likely to arise in the Australian immigration context and offering general recommendations on how they might be resolved.

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Why is it important?

Australia’s ratification of the OPCAT in December 2017 indicated a commitment to closer engagement with the United Nations human rights treaty system and a welcome reaffirmation of independent monitoring of States’ compliance with their obligations under international human rights law. However, the extent to which this ratification represents a ‘victory’ for human rights remains to be seen and will depend on how OPCAT is implemented in Australia over the coming years. This article identifies and discusses some of the key challenges likely to arise in the course of this implementation.

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This page is a summary of: Monitoring places of immigration detention in Australia under OPCAT, Australian Journal of Human Rights, January 2019, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/1323238x.2019.1588059.
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