Australia's UN visit is canceled due to access concerns by the torture body

a barbed wire fence

Due to two states' refusal to grant them unrestricted access to detention facilities, a United Nations agency that monitors torture has postponed its visit to Australia.

In October, the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) was scheduled to visit, but it was postponed after Queensland and New South Wales denied them access to some facilities.

It now claims that there hasn't been enough advancement to permit full access.

The cancellation has been met with dissatisfaction from the Australian government.

The SPT, a group of impartial human rights experts, was tasked with monitoring Australia's compliance with a protocol intended to outlaw torture and other cruel or inhumane treatment.

The federal government gave its approval for the nation to participate in this in 2017, allowing SPT members to go unannounced visits to jails, police stations, and other detention facilities.

Nevertheless, according to SPT Chairperson Suzanne Jabbour, despite Australia's cooperation, there was no other option but to "terminate the visit as the issue of unrestricted access to all places of deprivation of liberty in two states has not yet been resolved.".

"Could not ascertain that it would be able to resume its visit in a reasonable timeframe," the SPT continued.

The government of Australia, according to a spokesperson for Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, "deeply regrets" the decision and says it doesn't align with its "commitment to protecting and promoting human rights.".

He continued by saying that SPT visits had been successful in every other Australian state.

Queensland has made some progress since October in granting the UN access to mental health inpatient wards, which had previously been prohibited due to privacy concerns.

Parliament is currently debating a bill that would eliminate legal restrictions.

Attorney General Mark Speakman of New South Wales stated that his administration had "consistently indicated" support for the protocol.

In October, the state restricted access to prisons. At the time, the corrections minister told the local media that officers at one facility had been justified in refusing inspectors access because they lacked the proper authorization.

Geoff Lee stated that the state had nothing to hide and that it was unnecessary for the UN to demand access to our jails.

The cancellation of the visit, according to Australia's human rights commissioner, was "neither unexpected nor undeserved.".

According to Lorraine Finlay of ABC News, Australia has not given the problem the serious consideration it requires.

It definitely hurts our reputation, in my opinion, Ms. Finlay said.

"Australia wants to lead the world in promoting human rights, but when we aren't upholding our own international obligations, it's really difficult to assume that role and advocate.

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