10th August 2017
On Friday 11th August 2017, the United Nations Committee against Torture will publish its Concluding Observations on Ireland’s performance under the UN Convention against Torture and Other Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT). This concludes a rigorous second periodic review of Ireland’s compliance with the convention.
Strong recommendations to the Irish Government for improvements in areas relating to immigration, healthcare, detention, violence against women, reproductive rights and historic abuse are anticipated by leading non-Governmental organisations, who will be available for comment.
In advance of Ireland’s review under the UNCAT, which took place on 27th and 28th July 2017 in Geneva, the Committee received 20 submissions from Irish NGOs addressing issues of:
Representatives of 16 NGOs travelled to Geneva to engage directly with the UN Committee, presenting evidence of Ireland’s failure to meet its convention obligations in certain areas.
A joint NGO statement presented on 26th July 2017 to the Committee called for the strongest recommendation possible to the Irish Government to ratify the OPCAT (Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture) with urgency. Failure to do so “perpetuates a situation that increases the vulnerability of all persons currently in detention to torture and ill-treatment”. Ireland signed the OPCAT on 2nd October 2007, but has yet to ratify this important torture prevention tool.
The engagement of the Irish Government and State agencies with the UNCAT monitoring process was strongly welcomed by NGOs in Geneva. Similarly, the State delegation openly welcomed the contribution of civil society to the process.
We look forward to the Committee’s observations and recommendations following its rigorous review of Ireland, and to the Government’s plans on how it will fulfill the Committee’s recommendations.
1. On Friday 11th August 2017, the UN Committee against Torture will publish its concluding Observations on Ireland. Currently scheduled for publication at 12pm GMT (1pm in Geneva), the document will be published here:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CAT/Pages/CATIndex.aspx
2. The following organisations will be available for comment:
All submissions from NGOs to the Committee are available here.
3. Ireland's second periodic review under the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment took place at Palais Wilson, Geneva on Thurs 27 July and Friday 28 July 2017.
4. What is the OPCAT?
Ireland signed the OPCAT (Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment) on 2nd October 2007 but the Irish government has not yet ratified it.
Ratification of OPCAT would require the establishment of a National Preventative Mechanism (NPM): a national monitoring body, which has multidisciplinary expertise and which is fully independent of Government.
The NGO delegation in Geneva noted the broad understanding of “detention” now being applied by the European Court of Human Rights and other human rights bodies, encompassing situations of continuous supervision and control.
The NGO delegation called for the State to immediately initiate an open and broad consultation process to develop the National preventative Mechanism within a fixed timeframe. This should include all places of detention – including immigration detention, direct provision, hospitals, care homes, prisons, and police stations.
For a clear explanation of the OP-CAT, see: http://apt.ch/en/what-is-the-opcat/