The 10th anniversary of the implementation of the UN Protocol against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) in Austria was celebrated.
On Tue, 7 June 2022, a ceremony was held by the Austrian Ombudsman Board in Parliament. The occasion was the 10th anniversary of the implementation of the UN Protocol OPCAT (Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment) in Austria. Since 2012, the Ombudsman Board has also held the constitutional mandate to protect and promote human rights in this country.
In the course of his speech, our scientific director, Prof. Michael Lysander Fremuth, addressed current jurisprudential questions on the further development of human rights and their enforceability, especially in times of war. The current situation in Ukraine gave him cause to reflect on the tense relationship between international humanitarian law and human rights.
"In Austria, the Ombudsman Board fulfils its task of helping to enforce human rights in an exemplary manner and also receives international recognition for this", says Fremuth. The legal scholar sees potential in the expansion of the mandate for preventive protection and promotion of human rights. For example, in cooperation with research institutions, an attempt could be made to fathom deeper structural causes of problems that the Ombudsman Board uncovers and to counter them even better through recommendations, thematic reports or joint training. Fremuth sees another task in the even more intensive involvement of civil society - for example, to strengthen the Human Rights Advisory Council. Here, pluralism and diversity must be taken into account in order to be able to draw as broad and complete a picture as possible of the human rights situation in the country, he says.
More detailed insights into the speech can be found in the download area.