White graffiti of hands behind bars on a black wall

UN torture watchdog to investigate human rights breaches in Australia’s youth and immigration detention centres

Australia is failing to adequately monitor and prevent inhumane treatment of children, refugees and asylum seekers in detention

Amnesty International Australia has called on Australian authorities to fulfil our obligations under the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) as a delegation from the United Nations inspects places of detention across the country.

“We are alarmed that more than 13 years on from Australia signing OPCAT, the country’s three most populous states, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, have failed to introduce their own monitoring systems, known as National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs),” Amnesty International Australia National Director, Sam Klintworth, said.

Recent evidence also suggests the Northern Territory Government, despite having a process in place, is failing to implement its commitments to monitor its own conditions of detention.

“First Nations people continue to die in custody, the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers continues to harm their physical and mental health, and still we are hearing harrowing testimony from detainees of youth detention about abuse.

“How much human suffering do we need to witness before we say enough is enough?

“It’s an international embarrassment that we have failed the most basic step in this global agreement into which we’ve entered.”

Amnesty International Australia has urged the SPT to visit some of the most problematic places of detention including Perth Immigration Detention Centre, Banksia Hill Youth Detention Centre, Don Dale Youth Detention Centre and Ashley Youth Detention Centre.

“We have asked the SPT to also visit the so-called alternative places of detention (APODs), but no one knows where they are, such is the secrecy around this inhumane regime of detaining people who have simply asked for our help in escaping danger,” Klintworth said.

Amnesty International Australia has outlined its concerns in a submission to the SPT and includes key recommendations, including raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14, advocating for the principle that no person should be detained in violation of their human rights, and bringing an end to the mandatory and indefinite detention of people waiting for their asylum claims to be assessed.

The SPT will be in Australia from October 16-27.