7 May 2015

UN visits Australian detention camp on Nauru

9:39 am on 7 May 2015

The United Nations Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture has ended its first visit to Nauru, which focussed on the situation of people being detained on the island and the need to establish an independent monitoring body for places of detention.

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Photo: RNZ / Walter Zweifel

During their three-day visit, the delegation visited Nauru's police station and prison, as well as Australia's regional processing centre for asylum-seekers, a large facility comprising three separate units housing men, women and families with children who have been attempting to reach Australia.

The chair of the subcommittee and head of the three-member delegation, Malcolm Evans, says given the number of people currently being held on the island, the establishment of a national preventive mechanism to address their needs and their situation becomes even more pressing.

He added the delegation was encouraged to receive the Nauru government's assurances that this mechanism would be established as soon as possible.

But Professor Evans stressed it is essential that this mechanism is able to operate effectively and independently in all facilities on the island.

The UN subcommittee monitors how States that have ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, OPCAT, are meeting their treaty obligations, which include setting up a monitoring body known as a National Preventive Mechanism.

Nauru became a party to OPCAT in January 2013 and a national preventive mechanism should have been in place one year after that.

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