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Marist regrets 'reprehensible' decision on torture protocol

The Federal Government decision not to endorse a draft UN protocol against torture is "reprehensible", says Fr Jim Carty of the Marist Refugee Centre.

Australia voted against the protocol which was designed to reinforce the 1989 UN convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. The protocol would allow UN groups to inspect prisons and detention centres to check for abuses.

Australia is a signatory to the convention but voted against the protocol, along with Sudan, China, Cuba, Libya, Japan, Nigeria and Egypt, because of concerns about UN groups inspecting our immigration detention centres "at any time".

"Just look at the list of nations we are aligned with on this; it gives you some idea of the totally reprehensible decision made by Foreign Affairs Minister (Alexander) Downer and the Australian Government," Fr Carty told the Catholic Weekly.

The US, which has been a vocal opponent of the protocol, was one of 10 nations to abstain; 35 voted in favour.

"At least we could have abstained rather than vote against it," says Fr Carty.

Australia shamed by torture vote (ABC 26/7/02)
US loses fight against UN torture protocol (Straits Times)
Locked in, locked out

Catholic Weekly

32 Aug 2002