The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) is a unique opportunity to strengthen oversight for all sites of detention in Queensland, particularly disability-specific and disability-dominated institutions, many of which currently lack any meaningful inspection framework and facilitate conditions that either constitute, or lead to, violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability.
Current proposals by the Australian and Queensland Governments will deliver less than the minimum required to fulfil their obligations under OPCAT. Queenslanders with disability deprived of their liberty must have robust protections against torture and other inhumane treatment.
QAI calls on the Queensland and Australian Governments to fulfil their OPCAT obligations and establish National Preventive Mechanisms (NPM) consistent with the following recommendations:
- A National Preventive Mechanism should monitor and report on all places of detention in Queensland
- The Australian Human Rights Commission and the Queensland Human Rights Commission should be appointed to lead and coordinate the National Preventive Mechanisms for Australia and Queensland respectively
- The National Preventive Mechanisms should provide for representation from, and formal collaborations with, Civil Society Organisations
- The National Preventive Mechanisms should be designed to ensure OPCAT monitoring activities are informed and guided by people with lived experience of detention
- Providing culturally- and disability-inclusive information to people in detention about their rights and available complaints mechanisms should be a key priority of the National Preventive Mechanisms
- The Australian and Queensland Governments should pass legislation to give full effect to the key provisions of the Convention Against Torture and OPCAT around Australia and in Queensland.
QAI has developed a one page summary as well as a more detailed position statement on the OPCAT requirements: