Mr Edward Santow, Human Rights Commissioner gave the oration in 2017
In February 2017, the federal Government made what could be the single most positive step in a generation towards protecting the human rights of detainees.
The government announced it would ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) by December 2017, thereby committing to establish a regime of independent inspections for all places of detention in Australia, including prisons, youth detention centres, mental health facilities and immigration detention centres.
Places of detention are often hidden from view. Evidence before the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the NT confirms, that terrible things can happen in such places. OPCAT presents a once-in- a-generation opportunity to shine a light in these dark places; to cease detention practices we know to be harmful; and to learn from best practice in Australia and around the world. Can we grasp this opportunity?
Watch the recording of the 2017 Seventh Austin Asche Oration