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 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. OPCAT applies to anywhere where people are deprived of their liberty. Examples of places of detention include, but are not limited to:
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.
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.
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 to the UN Convention against Torture (OP-CAT).
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.
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.
30th November 2015
On Friday 27th November 2015, IPRT hosted a conference entitled 'Securing Accountability - Building effective prison monitoring, inspection, and complaints systems'.
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.
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.
9th October 2014
The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) is gravely concerned that the Inspector of Prisons is unable to rely on the veracity of official prison records when investigating a death within prison walls.
26th June 2014
Today, the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, IPRT is highlighting that the Government still hasn't met its commitment to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).
22nd January 2013
The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) strongly welcomes amendments to the Prison Rules 2007, and the recruitment of 22 external investigators, which together bring a level of independence to prisoner complaints systems in Ireland for the first time. However, this must be matched by similar reform of existing monitoring structures, and the establishment of a fully independent oversight mechanism.
5th November 2009
A Position Paper setting out the main issues relating to the monitoring and inspection of places of detention, and the need for independent external mechanisms for review of prisoners' complaints.