The APT on mission in the South Pacific

Friday, September 7, 2007
Following the ratification of the OPCAT by New Zealand earlier this year, the APT traveled to the region from 17-27 September to advocate for a sound implementation of the Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol in Australia, New Zealand and the broader Asia-Pacific region.  In New Zealand the focus was on the establishment of the National Preventive Mechanism.
Date: 17-27 September 2007
Place:
Australia and New Zealand
Partners:
Asia Pacific Forum of NHRI
Purpose:
To advocate for the ratification and a sound implementation of the UN Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol in Australia, New Zealand and the broader Asia-Pacific region.
Main Activities:

Between 17 and 27 September,  the APT Secretary General, Mr Mark Thomson, and the Asia-Pacific Program Officer, Mr Philippe Tremblay, traveled to Wellington (NZ) and Canberra and Sydney (Australia). In both countries, they met senior officials from key ministries (Foreign Affairs, Justice), National Human Rights Commissions and civil society representatives. 

New Zealand
On 18 September, the New Zealand Human Rights Commission and the APT convened a meeting of all agencies which are to be part of the National Preventive Mechanism the country has designated following their ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) in March 2007.  Participants looked into the working methods and coordination of this innovative multiple mechanism which, should it prove efficient, could serve as a model for other countries.  Additional meetings were also held with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the New Zealand’s International Aid & Development Agency, and  the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police (PICP) Secretariat, in order to consider cooperation in the Pacific region.


Australia
On 20 September, in Canberra, the APT appeared before the Human Rights Subcommittee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade of the Commonwealth Parliament. The main topic on the agenda was the possible ratification of the OPCAT by Australia.

The APT also discussed the upcoming examination of Australia’s third periodic report by the UN Committee against Torture, in November 2007, with both government, NGO and NHRC representatives.

From 24 to 27 September, the APT attended the 12th Annual Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Forum for National Human Rights Institutions, which was hosted this year by the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission in Sydney.

Concluding Statement of the 12th Annual Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Forum (APF Link)

APT Statement at the 12th Annual Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Forum (APF Link) 

Contact Person: Philippe Tremblay, APT Asia-Pacific Programme Officer
 Image