Irish Penal Reform Trust

Joint Shadow Report to the First Periodic Review of Ireland under the UNCAT

27th May 2011

On 23 and 24 May 2011, Ireland was reviewed for the first time by the UN Committee against Torture (UNCAT) to assess whether the State is meeting its international human rights obligations to prevent torture or ill-treatment.

In advance of the hearing, IPRT, in conjunction with the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, submitted the Joint Shadow Report to the First Periodic Review of Ireland under the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

The Joint Shadow Report benchmarks Ireland’s performance under the United Nations Convention against Torture, and makes 50 clear recommendations to Government on action required to meet the State's obligations under this treaty.

The product of over a year’s research and consultation by the ICCL and IPRT with the Irish NGO community, including Amnesty International Ireland, the Children’s Rights Alliance, the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Women’s Aid and Spirasi, the report has been endorsed by 31 Irish NGOs.

The Joint Shadow Report was submitted to the UNCAT on 21st April 2011.

Download the Joint Shadow report to the First Periodic Review of Ireland under the UNCAT.

Prisons-related issues

The largest section of the submission is given over to prisons-related issues, and makes a number of recommendations about the prison system. Recommendations include:

  • The State should take all necessary measures to improve conditions of detention, including reducing overcrowding and setting safe custody limits.
  • The State must eradicate the “slopping out” of human waste in Irish prisons as a priority issue and set targets to meet this obligation. In the interim, the Irish Prison Service should introduce measures to minimise the effects of slopping out by conducting toilet patrols throughout the night.
  • The placement of mentally-ill individuals in Irish prisons should cease.
  • An independent prison complaints system must be established either through the prompt establishment of a Prisoner Ombudsman, or through amending or extending the remit of existing bodies.
  • Drug-free units should be established across the prison estate and the State should ensure that non-drug using prisoners are not accommodated with known drug-users. A structured approach to reducing and eventually stopping prisoners’ dependency on drugs must be developed.

The report also contains information on rendition, refoulement, deportation, issues related to the Gardaí, deaths is custody and care, domestic violence, FGM, human trafficking, corporal punishment and mental health treatment.

Read more: 

  • Read the Joint Shadow Report here.
  • Watch the live proceedings of the hearing in Geneva here.
  • The Irish Human Rights Commission also made a submission to the UNCAT, which can be accessed here.

Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.



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