Dublin, 26 June 2018
Ratify OPCAT and allow inspection of direct provision centres: ICCL
On International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) is calling for the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT). We are also calling for the establishment of a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), as per the OPCAT and in consultation with civil society, which would inspect and report on conditions in all places of deprivation of liberty in the State. Ireland signed up to OPCAT in 2007 and is the only EU country which has not ratified the treaty.
Director of ICCL Liam Herrick said:
“this is an urgent call that we’re making, given the 2015 findings of the European Committee on the Prevention of Torture that there was evidence of ill-treatment in Garda custody. Indeed last week’s collapse of the trial of Damien McLaughlin has highlighted the need for better protection of suspects’ rights whilst in custody, not only to ensure the rights of innocent people, but also to ensure that cases like this do not collapse under the weight of questionable evidence.”
The OPCAT and NPM would also allow for inspection of places such as psychiatric institutions, direct provision centres and nursing homes, all places where people are routinely deprived of their liberty, sometimes arbitrarily.
Mr Herrick said:
“In a country such as Ireland, with such a chequered, sad history of arbitrarily depriving people of their freedom, it is urgent that we begin to allow independent oversight and inspection of places where people are detained, arbitrarily or otherwise”.
Notes for editors:
In 2017, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission commissioned research and made evidence-based recommendations for Ireland to ratify the OPCAT: