The United Nations canned a trip to Australia to inspect our detainment institutions after NSW and Queensland wouldn’t give its Subcomittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT) full access. Fkn suss.
The SPT was actually supposed to come to Australia last year, but ended up suspending the trip because it was barred from visiting multiple sites of detention including jails — which is obviously pretty fkn weird when the body’s entire purpose is to make sure nothing unsavoury is happening at these sites.
The NSW government’s excuse for not cooperating was that it needed more funding from the Federal Government to implement protocols required for its detainment facilities to meet requirements.
Part of the reason Queensland blocked the UN from investigating its facilities was because of privacy concerns for patients. Even though it might seem obvious to allow UN agents to ensure there’s nothing dodgy going on at any institution which detains people, it was a legal issue.
So, Queensland then introduced new laws which would allow UN inspectors to enter the wards of mental health patients (which it said wasn’t allowed before), and NSW asked the federal government for more funding, but now the SPT has revealed the assurances that it needed from both NSW and Queensland were lacking.
BREAKING: The UN torture prevention body has terminated its visit to Australia because two states, NSW and QLD, refuse to give the access needed to prisons to check for torture. It’s extraordinary. The only other country where this has happened is Rwanda https://t.co/3kt2CiOGMU
— David Shoebridge (@DavidShoebridge) February 20, 2023
SPT said that because the states couldn’t guarantee its agents would be able to do everything they needed, it didn’t think resuming its visit could be done in a “reasonable timeframe” and was officially cancelling the trip.
“There is no alternative but to terminate the visits as the issue of unrestricted access to all places of deprivation of liberty in two states has not yet been resolved,” the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture’s chairperson Suzanne Jabbour said, per ABC.
This is actually pretty wild because Australia is now literally the only country apart from Rwanda to have its anti-torture inspections cancelled. It’s not a good look.
The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture terminates its visit to Australia over the failure of two states – Queensland and NSW – to provide access to prisons.
A terrible look for Australia which seeks to cast itself as a beacon of human rights in the Asia Pacific. https://t.co/ljzcmmq6yB
— Max Walden (@maxwalden_) February 20, 2023
The refusal on Australia’s part to allow visits by the UN also breaches the agreement Australia made when it ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) in 2017.
OPCAT is designed to protect the rights of any detained person, be it people in jail, kids in fucked NT detention centres like Don Dale, refugees in detention centres, and people detained and admitted to mental health, aged or disability care facilities.
Which probably explains a lot because let’s be real, since when has Australia given a single fuck about treating its detained population with dignity and respect?
Blak deaths in custody actually increased in 2022, but despite this, Australia missed a deadline in January to implement oversight tools to monitor human rights protections in police cells, jails, and other types of detention.
But honestly, who’s surprised that Australia is dragging its feet to implement the anti-torture rules it agreed to?
It’s a well known fact that Australia brazenly and regularly violates international human rights laws in its cruel imprisonment, torture and deportation of asylum seekers.
And it will continue to do so until our government is held accountable — not just by the UN, but by us.