The UN has accused Australia of a “clear breach” of its obligations under the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) regarding detention facilities.
In a statement released Sunday evening, the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT) announced that it had suspended a tour of prisons in New South Wales and Queensland states following repeated access and information gathering issues, The Guardian newspaper reported.
“The SPT delegation has been prevented from visiting several places where people are detained, experienced difficulties in carrying out a full visit at other locations, and was not given all the relevant information and documentation it had requested,” the statement read.
The SPT members decided they had “no other option but to suspend” their 12-day visit, which was due to run until Oct. 27.
The New South Wales government has refused inspectors entry into any facilities in the state and Queensland has blocked access to mental health wards.
Human rights activists have urged the two states to allow inspectors full access to prisons.
Earlier, Tim O'Connor, the director of Amnesty International Australia, argued that denying UN inspectors access to the facilities jeopardizes Australia's ability to meet its obligations under OPCAT.
He said people in detention centers yet again are being used as “pawns by governments who continue to play politics with their lives.”