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Press Release: Ratification of torture prevention treaty will bolster Ireland’s position on international stage

6th July 2018

Ratification of torture prevention treaty will bolster Ireland’s position on international stage – IPRT

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) has welcomed the commitment made by Minister for Justice and Equality Mr Charles Flanagan TD in the Dáil today (Thurs 5th July 2018) that legislation to ratify the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (the ‘OPCAT’) will be introduced in 2018.

IPRT also welcomes the comments of Deputy Jim O’Callaghan TD that the highest standards should apply in respect of the protection of people in all places of detention. Deputy O’Callaghan linked the importance of the anti-torture treaty ratification to Ireland’s campaign to be elected as a member of the UN Security Council.

Responding this afternoon, Deirdre Malone, Executive Director of the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) said:

“The clear commitment by Minister Flanagan today to the introduction and debate of the legislation by the end of 2018 is very welcome. Preparation of the legislation to ratify the OPCAT was approved on 18 May 2011.

“In this climate, for Ireland to vacillate on ratification of such an important anti-torture treaty will weaken our voice when we make calls for international human rights norms to be respected and maintained. You cannot have a strong voice on the need for international protections, if you haven’t ratified key human rights instruments at home. In the context of Brexit, ratification of the OPCAT is even more important. Ratification of the OPCAT will bolster Ireland’s position on international stage.”

“Afghanistan ratified* the OPCAT in April 2018. We see no valid reason why this should not be possible for Ireland.”

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD also recently called on government to ratify the OPCAT, adding to the voices of Clare Daly TD, Maureen O’Sullivan TD and others. A broad consensus now exists of the importance of Ireland ratifying this anti-torture treaty, and with urgency.

For further comment, or an interview with Deirdre Malone, please contact: Fíona on 087 181 2990

NOTES FOR EDITORS

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) is Ireland's leading non-governmental organisation campaigning for the rights of everyone in prison and the progressive reform of Irish penal policy, with prison as a last resort. See: www.iprt.ie

The OPCAT (Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture) is an international human rights treaty which assists States in preventing torture and other forms of ill-treatment in all places of detention. The OPCAT applies to anywhere people are deprived of their liberty. The ratification of OPCAT would positively impact the lives of vulnerable children and adults. Ireland signed the OPCAT in October 2007, but has not yet ratified it. See: www.opcat-ireland.com

*Afghanistan acceded to the OPCAT in April 2018. "Accession is the act whereby a state accepts the offer or the opportunity to become a party to a treaty already negotiated and signed by other states. It has the same legal effect as ratification."See: http://ask.un.org/faq/14594

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