The Politics of Torture, Human Rights, and Oversight: The Canadian Experience with the UN's Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT)

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Title: The Politics of Torture, Human Rights, and Oversight: The Canadian Experience with the UN's Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT)
Authors: Holmes, Erin
Date: 2013
Abstract: Torture has long been denounced by the international community; the need to protect citizens from abuse at the hands of the state is a principle enshrined in international law. One area where abuse is common is within the correctional system and as a result, there is a need for oversight in places of detention. The Optional Protocol to the UN’s Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) is an international human rights instrument that acts as a preventive measure to monitor all places of detention through regular visits. Supportive of the OPCAT since its adoption, Canada has considered signature/ratification since 2002 but has yet to commit. The purpose of this study is to identify factors that have led to a delay in Canada becoming State Party to the OPCAT despite adherence to the principles that this instrument embodies. A policy analysis framework was utilized to conduct stakeholder interviews and review government documents. The concept of agenda-setting received special attention and content analysis of media reports and a review of government legislative activity were conducted to provide insight into the prevalence of the issue on the public and political agendas. The author argues that while there are real challenges that policymakers must overcome, the absence of political leadership has resulted in stagnation in the decision-making process. As a result, the issue has disappeared from both the public and political agenda. In order for progress to be made, political will must be created and the impetus to act (‘re-setting the agenda’) must come from civil society in the absence of government engagement on this issue.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/23800
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-6457
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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