Australian watch houses have taken the world’s attention, after an incident involving an intellectually impaired Indigenous boy who was kept naked in a Brisbane watch house came to light. This is one of the many reported incidents that show a clear violation of human rights, in the country. There have been other cases in the recent past, where children as young as 10 were kept under scrutiny in adult watch houses for weeks.
The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT), prompted by these mounting incidents has decided to probe. The authority will be visiting several countries in the coming days, surprising them with unplanned visits and random inspection of prisons, watch houses, detention centers, aged care, psychiatric facilities, social care institutions and immigration detention. The SPT will address foul practices and torture to investigate prisoner/ patient treatment.
Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) chair Sir Malcolm Evans said it was these incidents that would be placed under the microscope.
Australia will be subjected to this nature of inspection by the UN for the first time. But in the wake of these intensifying incidents, putting a check on them with such initiatives, has become mandatory.
Watch houses are for criminals like murderers, pedophiles and addicts, who pose a serious threat. But many children are locked up in these facilities every year, which calls for some deep probing. The subcommittee announced it would also tour Croatia, Lebanon, Madagascar and Paraguay to investigate similar alarming scenarios.