OPCAT: An opportunity to prevent the ill-treatment, torture and death of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in custody

Wednesday 3 March, 9am – 10am

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. However, since this watershed report was handed down, at least 455 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have died in custody.

The objective of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) is ‘to establish a system of regular visits undertaken by independent international and national bodies to places where people are deprived of their liberty, in order to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.’ In 2017, Australia ratified OPCAT, and is required to set up detention oversight bodies, National Preventive Mechanisms, in all States and Territories (including Victoria) by January 2022.

At this critical moment, the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service is honoured to host an international panel of OPCAT experts, who will discuss the role that OPCAT could play in the prevention of the death, torture and ill-treatment of people detained in Victoria, and across Australia.

Senator Lidia Thorpe will give the opening address.

The panel will include:

  • Dr Elina Steinerte, Vice-Chair United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
  • Professor Sir Malcolm D Evans, Former Chair of the UN Subcommittee for Prevention of Torture
  • Dr Matthew Pringle, Founder of the Canada OPCAT Project
  • Ben Buckland, Senior Advisor at Association for the Prevention of Torture

The Panel Moderator will be Andreea Lachsz, Senior Policy, Research and Advocacy Officer at VALS.

The invitation to webinar can be viewed below: