On Friday 27th November 2015, IPRT hosted a conference entitled Securing Accountability - Building effective prison monitoring, inspection, and complaints systems.
Speaking at the conference, Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD stated that she and her department were “determined” to address the remaining issues in order to allow for the ratification of the optional protocol to the UN’s Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).
Prof Malcolm Evans (chair of the UN subcommittee for the prevention of torture) who was also speaking at the event pointed out that that Ireland is one of only four European countries that has not yet ratified OPCAT. He expressed the view that Ireland’s repeated failure to ratify the protocol “almost verges, to be blunt, on the embarrassing”.
Nick Hardwick, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, during his address stated that it was his experience that the protocol acted as a “protective shield” that his organisation could wrap around itself when “politicians didn’t like what we were saying”. IPRT believes that an opportunity now exists to put in place the best model, informed by the practice and experience of the 62 countries that have already ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.
The IPRT conference and particular comments made by individual speakers at the event were reported in a number of newspaper articles (see below).