The Government’s failure to allow prisons, Garda stations and other places of detention to be inspected by the United Nations has become a source of national embarrassment, a senior UN official has said.

Malcolm Evans said at the last universal periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN member states in 2011, Ireland’s failure to sign up to the UN’s anti-torture protocol (OPCAT) was openly criticised, even by some countries in the developing world with very poor human rights records.

Prof Evans said some would reach the conclusion the justice authorities in Ireland had an issue with transparency and accountability but he still hoped for the implementation of the protocol.

The Opcat protocol was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2002 and came into force in 2006.

It provides for the UN and national bodies to make unannounced visits to all places of detention including prisons, police stations and psychiatric hospitals and to report on what they find.

The bodies have the power to examine the facilities and interview staff and detainees in confidence as part of the inspection process.


The full article is available to read on The Irish Times website here.