IPRT - Irish Penal Reform Trust

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OPCAT

The Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT) is an international human rights treaty which assists States in preventing torture and other forms of ill-treatment in places of detention.

Ireland signed the OPCAT in October 2007, but almost a decade on it is yet to ratify it.

The Optional Protocol (OPCAT) was agreed by the UN General Assembly in 2002, introducing a combined system of national and international monitoring of places of detention with a view to preventing ill-treatment.

Places of detention are not limited to prisons. The OPCAT applies to anywhere where people are deprived of their liberty. Examples of places of detention include, but are not limited to:

  • Psychiatric units;
  • Juvenile detention centres;
  • Immigration detention centres;
  • Pre-trial detention facilities;
  • Garda stations.

Accountability in places of detention is crucial. Monitoring and inspection, along with an effective independent complaints mechanism for detainees, are central to the protection of human rights and form part of Ireland’s obligations under international law.

The aim of OPCAT is to strengthen the protection of persons deprived of their liberty. IPRT supports this goal and believes that independent monitoring under OPCAT will serve to strengthen a culture of human rights within Irish detention facilities.

For more information on OPCAT, click here.

UN Committee against Torture publishes Concluding Observations on Ireland 11th August 2017

IPRT welcomes the Concluding Observations released by the UN Committee against Torture on Ireland's second periodic review under the UN Convention against Torture. Read more

UNCAT: Summary record of second periodic review of Ireland 7th August 2017

A record of Ireland's hearing under the UNCAT, which took place in Palais Wilson, Geneva on Thurs 27 July and Fri 28 July 2017. Read more

Press Release: UN Torture Committee puts tough questions on prison issues to Irish Government 27th July 2017

The UN Committee on Torture questions Ireland about its efforts to ensure that the rights of everyone in the penal system are respected and on progress on various issues of concern. Read more

IPRT Submission to the UNCAT in advance of the Second Periodic Review of Ireland 24th July 2017

IPRT made a Submission to the United Nations Committee against Torture in advance of the Second Periodic Review of Ireland under the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in June 2017. Read more

The Irish Examiner: UN body told of failings in the oversight of Irish prisons 21st July 2017

An article by Cormac O’Keeffe in The Irish Examiner on how the United Nations Committee against Torture (UNCAT) has been told of failings in oversight, in the investigation of complaints, of ill treatment and of concerns about prison healthcare in Irish prisons. Read more

The Irish Times: '421 people committed to prison in 2016 on immigration-related issues' 20th July 2017

Article by Kitty Holland on holding immigration detainees alongside sentenced prisoners. Read more

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) Publish Report Ahead of 2nd Periodic UNCAT Review 18th July 2017

IPRT welcomes the publication of IHREC’s report in advance of the 2nd periodic review of UNCAT Ireland and the Convention against Torture. The IHREC report highlights the need for the State to ratify OPCAT which would provide a clear ‘roadmap’ and timeline for the implementation of OPCAT. Ireland signed the… Read more

UNCAT: Prisons Under the UN spotlight 6th July 2017

Ireland’s second examination under the UN Convention against Torture will take place on 27th and 28th July 2017. Read more

IPRT: Discussion Paper on ratification of the OPCAT and the establishment of an NPM 30th January 2017

IPRT submitted a paper to the Department of Justice & Equality to inform discussions around ways to progress the ratification of OPCAT and the establishment of an NPM. Read more

IPRT WELCOMES GOVERNMENT ACCEPTANCE OF RECOMMENDATIONS ON PRISONS AND PLACES OF DETENTION RECEIVED AT U.N. 14th May 2016

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT), Ireland’s leading campaign organisation for the protection against potential human rights violations behind bars, has today welcomed the Government’s acceptance of recommendations received at the U.N. in Geneva on prisons and places of detention, including reaffirmation of its commitment to ratify the Optional Protocol… Read more

Strong Focus on the Rights of Adults and Children in Prisons and Places of Detention at Ireland’s 2nd UPR 13th May 2016

More than 30 countries at Ireland’s 2nd Universal Periodic Review raised concerns and made recommendations to Ireland on the human rights of adults and children in prisons and places of detention, with many explicitly calling on Ireland to finally ratify the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture. Read more

Irish Penal Reform Trust calls on next Government to ratify key anti-torture mechanism by 2017 22nd April 2016

Ireland’s leading campaigners for the protection of human rights in detention, has today called on all representatives engaged in Government negotiations to ensure that clear commitments to safeguard against inhumane treatment in places of detention are included in the next Programme for Government. Read more

Round-up: Securing Accountability 30th November 2015

On Friday 27th November 2015, IPRT hosted a conference entitled 'Securing Accountability - Building effective prison monitoring, inspection, and complaints systems'. Read more

ADVISORY: Effective external oversight of prison system is crucial 28th November 2015

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT), Ireland’s leading penal reform organisation, held a major conference on the need for rigorous and effective external oversight of the Irish prison system on Fri 27 Nov 2015. Read more

EUROPEAN TORTURE COMMITTEE: CONCERNS ON MENTAL HEALTH, VIOLENCE AND SOLITARY CONFINEMENT IN IRISH PRISONS 17th November 2015

The sixth report on places of detention in Ireland from the CPT, published today (Tuesday 17th November 2015) presents another indictment of a prison system that is struggling to meet its duty of care in terms of healthcare, mental health care, and ensuring prisoner safety. Read more