UN ends Australia anti-torture mission after inspectors barred

Oct 24, 2022: According to a report by Al Jazeera, the United Nations has suspended its anti-torture mission to Australia after inspectors were not allowed to visit several jails and detention facilities in the country, with a top official in New South Wales state justifying the blocking of the UN panel.

Tasked with touring facilities under a voluntary agreement to prevent cruelty to detainees, the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture SPT said on Sunday they made the “drastic” decision after they were refused entry at “several” jails and detention facilities.

Australia’s prisons, youth detention centres, and immigration compounds have been plagued by persistent allegations of human rights abuses. Rights groups have raised concerns about the incarceration of indigenous communities and the detention of refugees in the country.

Australia ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) in 2017, committing to reforms safeguarding detainees and making facilities subject to inspection.

Lead inspector Aisha Muhammad, a Supreme Court judge in the Maldives, said Australia was in “clear breach” of its international obligations.

“It is deeply regrettable that the limited understanding of the SPT’s mandate and the lack of co-operation stemming from internal disagreements, especially with respect to the States of Queensland and New South Wales, has compelled us to take this drastic measure,” Muhammad noted in a statement late on Sunday “This is not a decision that the SPT has taken lightly.”

Only three other countries – Azerbaijan, Rwanda and Ukraine – have had anti-torture inspectors suspend or postpone missions.

The panel did not say in its statement if it wanted to visit the Australian prisons in response to specific issues or if its inspection was routine.

An optional protocol on torture and degrading treatment, which Australia is a signatory to, allows unannounced SPT visits to prisons, police stations and other detention centres.

Stay tuned to BaaghiTV for latest news and Updates!

Tax fraud trial of Trump family business set to begin in New York