OPCAT: Overview

One of the most recent additions to the canon of human rights treaty obligations includes the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).  As with other recent treaty innovation such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPED), the OPCAT reflects a push for greater coordination among human rights bodies and agency operating at all levels, from the international to regional and domestic.

In addition, the OPCAT (and CRPD) require State Parties to establish an effective mechanism at the local level to monitor implementation of state obligations.  Furthermore, both the CRPD and OPCAT direct States to give due regard to the Paris Principles when establishing a national mechanism.  The requirement to establish national mechanisms is a novel innovation in treaty law.