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Greens label Qld Government’s OPCAT bill “political cover” for human rights failures

The Queensland Greens have questioned whether a Bill to be introduced by the State Government today to allow UN anti-torture inspectors to access mental health wards is “political cover” after they were criticised for refusing access in October. 

Michael Berkman:

“All of the legal experts I’ve spoken to about this have rejected the Government's claims about legislative barriers to anti-torture inspections. 

“Only after the UN criticised the Government on the world stage and the Premier faced questions from the Greens in Parliament did they say they were going to change the law. 

“Sure, I’m pleased the pressure’s got something out of them, but it’s just not adding up. 

“Australia ratified this convention five years ago and we don’t know when the next inspection will be. It looks to me like the Government covering its ass. 

“It’s like asking if you can take a quick trip to the bathroom before getting randomly searched at the airport - everyone knows what’s happening here. 

“This Labor State Government regularly ignores the UN’s recommendations anyway. They’ve been asked to stop putting kids in watch houses, leaving them in solitary confinement and criminalising them from age 10 - to which Labor says ‘thanks for the feedback, but no’. 

“This Government is rapidly building an international reputation of disregard for human rights and this bill won’t fix that.”

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