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To: The Irish Government

Prevent The Mistreatment of People in Detention

Prevent The Mistreatment of People in Detention

This campaign calls for the ratification of OPCAT by the Irish Government, to prevent the mistreatment of people in all places of detention.

Why is this important?

The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) is an international human rights treaty designed to prevent torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in all places of detention. It introduces a combined system of national (NPM) and international (SPT) monitoring of all places of detention.

Ireland signed the OPCAT in October 2007, but has yet to ratify it.

The OPCAT recognises the central importance of inspection as a way of preventing human rights violations. These inspections create transparency and accountability, which in turn act as a deterrent against future cruel treatment.

Places of detention are not limited to prisons. The OPCAT applies to anywhere where people are deprived of their liberty. The ratification of OPCAT would positively impact the lives of many people in vulnerable positions. Examples of places of detention could include, but are not limited to:

• Psychiatric units
• Children detention schools
• Nursing homes
• Social care units
• Special Care Units
• Immigration detention centres
• Direct provision
• Pre-trial detention facilities
• Garda stations

OPCAT applies to anywhere people are deprived of their liberty. Pushing for the ratification of OPCAT might one day benefit a friend, neighbour, family member, or maybe even yourself.

For Ireland to meet its international obligations, we must put in place sufficient and effective safeguards to ensure that vulnerable individuals are not victimised. The Convention recognizes that it is in closed spaces where the most serious violations of human rights can take place.

Ireland has a troubling history of failing to protect those we have placed in closed spaces. The historical abuse of those in child institutions and other historical places of detention has shown the need for ongoing inspection. By failing to ratify OPCAT, Ireland perpetuates a situation that increases the vulnerability of all persons currently in detention.

It is essential that Ireland moves towards the creation of an NPM which can ensure that no place of detention – prison, Garda station, hospital or care home – is beyond the reach of comprehensive and rigorous inspection.


To learn more about OPCAT:
To learn more about NPMs:
To learn more about the SPT:
To see which countries have ratified OPCAT:


2018-01-14 21:02:09 +0000

25 signatures reached

2017-12-19 18:00:24 +0000

10 signatures reached