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Time to improve protection for people in detention

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Penny Wright

Australian Senate Australian Greens Senator for South Australia

media release

June 21, 2012 Time to improve protection for people in detention: Greens The Australian Greens have called on the Government to immediately move to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture to ensure Australia fulfils its international human rights obligations. “I welcome the report by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, tabled in the House of Representatives today, which has recommended Australia ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture,” Australian Greens spokesperson for Legal Affairs, Senator Penny Wright, said. “We urge the Government to ratify the Optional Protocol as soon as possible. This is necessary to ensure that Australia complies with its international human rights obligations and to improve monitoring and accountability for places of detention in Australia. “A recent example of why we need better monitoring of detention facilities in Australia is the case of South Australian prisoner Jacqueline Davies, who experienced a breach of her human rights when she did not receive appropriate mental health treatment and was handcuffed for up to 20 hours a day. “The Government now needs to take appropriate steps to ensure the smooth and effective implementation of the Optional Protocol, including providing adequate funding and support in order to develop and improve oversight mechanisms. “Ensuring that people held in places of detention, such as prisons and mental health facilities, are not subject to ill-treatment and have the same rights as all other Australians must be absolutely non-negotiable in a country like Australia.” Media contact: Jennifer Maisel 0417 173 508