The National Network condemn the Australian government for their failure to address the torture and violence within prisons and places of detention across the country and call upon the government to respond to the Committee against Torture’s concluding observations as a matter of urgency.

Governments across Australia have consistently failed to address reports of violence and torture within their prison systems, with states and territories obstructing the UN Committee Against Torture’s visits to Australian places of detention, impeding the Committee’s ability to carry out their mandate under the OPCAT, to which Australia is a party. The Committee Against Torture has taken action, sending a letter to the Australian Government demanding an explanation for the delay in providing a follow-up report covering youth justice, immigration detention, and general conditions of detention. This report is now five months overdue.

In a statement addressed to the Australian Government, the UN Committee expressed deep concern over the lack of progress in addressing issues raised in its concluding observations. These observations highlighted areas of particular concern, including reports of violence and torture within detention facilities. ‘As Rapporteur for Follow-up to Concluding Observations
of the Committee against Torture, I refer to the examination of the sixth periodic report of Australia by the Committee,’ stated the UN Rapporteur. ‘The information sought by the Committee has not been provided yet, although more than one year has elapsed since the transmittal of the Committee’s concluding observations.’

‘The failure to provide necessary information within the allotted timeframe raises serious questions about the Australian Government’s commitment to addressing human rights violations within its detention facilities,’ said Debbie Kilroy. ‘The excuse provided by the AG’s office that compiling all relevant data and information ‘took longer than expected’ is not satisfactory. We have people warehoused in prisons and cages right now, who need those in power to take immediate action. We do not accept their excuses,’ said Tabitha Lean.

‘Even the fact that our governments would not allow the UN access to investigate all of the sites of detention during their visit suggests a deliberate attempt to conceal the extent of violence and torture occurring within these institutions and confirms what the National Network has been saying for some time now – Australian prisons are places of torture,’ said Tabitha Lean.

‘Prisons are sites of brutality and abuse and the National Network call upon our governments to take immediate action to address reports of violence and torture,’ said Debbie Kilroy. ‘The Australian Government must cooperate fully with the UN Committee Against Torture’s investigation, because the safety and dignity of people locked in prisons and detention facilities (including children) are at stake, and urgent action is needed to address these serious human rights violations,’ said Debbie Kilroy.

‘We urge the Australian Government to respond immediately to the UN Committee’s request for information, and for the Governments to work with our organisation to consider ways to reduce the criminalisation of women and girls, and to keep people in our communities, not cages,’ said Debbie Kilroy.

About Us:
The National Network of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls
represents women, girls, feminine identifying and non-binary people who are currently in prison, who have been to prison, those who are currently living within the confines of the criminal injustice system and those who have exited the system.

Our Network in Australia was founded in 2020 by Debbie Kilroy of Sisters Inside and remains an abolitionist organisation committed to ending the incarceration of women and girls. Collectively we argue that prison will never be a safe place for women or girls, and in fact they are places that entrench poverty, increase trauma and cause further social and economic harm. Prisons, in our opinion, do not result in an increase in public or community safety.

0419 762 474              0499 780 226

For further comment, please contact either Tabitha or Debbie Kilroy on their respective contact numbers.