Thursday, 14 July 2016
Department of Justice and Equality
Prison Visiting Committees
42. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will expedite ratification of the optional protocol to the UN Convention Against Torture and to establish effective national preventative mechanisms under the protocol, including reformed and strengthened prison visiting committees. [21723/16]
Ireland is a signatory to the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment and will ratify it, once the necessary legislation is in place to provide for National Preventative Mechanisms (NPMs) to inspect places of detention for the purposes of the protocol.
As part of the process of identifying the appropriate NPMs, consultation with civil society, including a wide range of statutory bodies and agencies, non-governmental organisations and academics with an interest in the topic is underway. An Open Policy Debate hosted by the Department of Justice and Equality in November 2015 provided an opportunity for the various parties to come together and discuss options for NPMs and the inspection of all places of detention in the Justice area. Building on this, proposals are being further developed to facilitate the ratification of the OPCAT. The strengthening of the role of Prison Visiting Committees is also being examined in this process.