Senator Ivana Bacik hosted IPRT at an All Party Penal Reform Group Briefing Seminar of the 32nd Dáil and the 25th Seanad on Wednesday 13th December 2017 at 10.30am in the AV Room, Leinster House. Chaired by Senator Bacik, speakers were Deirdre Malone (Irish Penal Reform Trust); Ruth Gallagher (Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission) and Liam Herrick (Irish Council for Civil Liberties).
At the seminar, IPRT introduced Progress in the Penal System: A Framework for Penal Reform (PIPS) to Deputies and Senators. The event had a specific focus of calling on the Government to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT), which is Standard 24 of our PIPS report.
Ireland signed the Protocol in 2007 and has yet to ratify it. Ratification would ensure that comprehensive inspection mechanisms are in place anywhere where people are deprived of their liberty in Ireland. These mechanisms would play a preventative role against torture and other cruel treatment.
IPRT has been working on a campaign centring around the ratification of OPCAT since mid-2017. At Ireland's second periodic hearing under the Convention against Torture in July of this year, IPRT participated in a joint NGO statement calling for the ratification of OPCAT. IPRT believes that this statement played a key role in securing the strong recommendations surrounding OPCAT from the Committee.
This joint statement sparked a movement which now consists of nine NGOs calling for the establishment of an NPM and the ratification of OPCAT, namely:
- Centre for Disability Law & Policy
- Disabled People of Ireland
- Empowering People in Care (EPIC)
- Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL)
- Irish Penal Reform Trust
- Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice
- Midwives for Choice
- Reclaiming Self
- SAGE Support & Advocacy
IPRT has developed a campaign micro-site (opcat-ireland.com) which holds all of the relevant information about OPCAT and about our campaign.