Prevention of Torture: UN human rights body presents confidential preliminary comments to the Government of New Zealand

Wellington, 8 May 2013 – The United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) presented today its confidential preliminary comments to the Government of New Zealand, in conclusion of its first visit to the country, which took place from 29 April to 8 May 2013. During the visit, the SPT met with relevant national authorities and representatives of civil society, and conducted visits to several places of deprivation of liberty. These included police stations, prisons, district court cells, defence force detention facilities, youth justice residences, as well as facilities for immigrants including refugees, asylum seekers and persons subject to deportation (see attached list). The SPT also dedicated one day of the visit to working alongside the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), which mirrors the SPT mandate at the national level. In New Zealand, the NPM is comprised of the Office of the Ombudsman, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, the Independent Police Conduct Authority and the Inspector of Service Penal Establishments, under the coordination of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission.

“The National Preventive Mechanism is a complimentary partner in dialogue”, stated Malcolm D. Evans, Head of the SPT Delegation to New Zealand.

The SPT mandate permits it to conduct on-site visits and make recommendations to the authorities to establish effective safeguards against the risk of torture and ill-treatment in places of deprivation of liberty.

“We were delighted to have the opportunity of coming to New Zealand and to have been able to travel so extensively across the country. We have learnt a great deal about the system of criminal justice and the issues which it has to address, and we are looking forward to continuing our work in dialogue with both the authorities and the NPM”, emphasized Evans.

During the visit, the SPT had the opportunity to explore the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in New Zealand, and the safeguards for their protection against torture and ill-treatment. In addition to visiting places of detention, the SPT conducted private and confidential interviews with persons deprived of their liberty in the institutions that were visited. In addition to being a legal obligation of the SPT under the Optional Protocol, the requirements of confidentiality serve to protect persons interviewed.

In accordance with the provisions of the Optional Protocol, the SPT will send a report in confidence to the Government of New Zealand shortly, and looks forward to continuing its constructive dialogue with the authorities in the near future.

The SPT Delegation to New Zealand was composed of the following members: Mr. Malcolm D. EVANS (Head of Delegation), Ms. Arman DANIELYAN, Mr. Paul LAM SHANG LEEN, Mr. Petros MICHAELIDES, Ms. June Caridad PAGADUAN LOPEZ and Ms. Aneta STANCHEVSKA.

ENDS

For more information about the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/opcat/

Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/OPCAT.aspx

Places of deprivation of liberty visited by the SPT in New Zealand, 29 April to 8 May 2013
I. New Zealand Police

  • Papakura Police Station
  • Hastings Police Station
  • Otara Community Police Station
  • Porirua Police Station (accompanying IPCA)
  • Wellington Central Police Hub (accompanying IPCA)
  • Manukau Police Station
  • Auckland Central Police Station
  • Auckland Airport Police Station
  • Christchurch Police Station
  • Nelson Police Station
  • Blenheim Police Station
  • Paraparaumu Police Station
  • Matamata Police Station
  • Morrinsville Police Station
  • Rotorua Police Station
  • Taupo Police Station

II. Ministry of Justice

  • Blenheim District Court cells
  • Porirua District Court cells (accompanying IPCA)
  • Wellington District Court cells (accompanying IPCA)
  • Manukau District Court cells
  • Nelson District Court cells

III. Department of Corrections

  • Mt. Eden Remand Prison (Private)
  • Arohata Women Prison, Wellington
  • Hastings Prison
  • Auckland Central Prison
  • Rimutaka Prison, Wellington (both with Office of the Ombudsman and as SPT delegation)
  • Paremoremo, Prison of maximum security in Auckland
  • Paparua Prison in Christchurch

IV. Places of detention under New Zealand Defence Force Facilities

  • Devonport Naval Base Corrective Cells, Royal New Zealand Navy
  • Services Corrective Establishment, Burnham Camp

V. Facilities for Children and Adolescents

  • Te Au rere a te Tonga, Youth Justice Residence in Palmerston North
  • Korowai Manaaki, Youth Justice Residence in South Auckland
  • Te Puna Wai ō Tuhinapo, Youth Justice Residence in Christchurch

VI. Facilities under Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

  • Auckland Airport Immigration facilities
  • Mangere Accommodation Centre for Refugees and Asylum Seekers