The Government has just submitted its long-awaited First National Report under the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UN CAT). Ireland signed the UN CAT in 1992, and ratified it in 2002. States-Parties to the UN CAT are obliged to submit their initial report to the UN Committee against Torture one year after ratification - Ireland's first report was therefore delayed for six years.
UN CAT is one of the most important instruments of international law under which the treatment of individuals in custody in Ireland is examined by an international human rights body. Any individual in Ireland who considers that they are a victim of treatment that violates the UN CAT is also able to make a complaint to the UN Committee against Torture concerning such treatment.
The UN Committee against Torture will now consider the Report, and may communicate any concerns regarding the legal framework or practice in Ireland by issuing Concluding Observations and recommendations to the Government. The date of the formal examination of the Report is scheduled for May 2011.
The Irish Penal Reform Trust is carefully studying Government's First Report, and will engage with the UN Committee along with the Irish Council of Civil Liberties, Amnesty International Ireland and other NGOs to make sure that an independent assessment of the situation in Ireland is communicated to the UN body.
Ireland's First National Report can be accessed here.