The latest annual report from organisations who monitor places where people are deprived of their liberty, has been tabled in Parliament, outlining persistent issues faced by people in detention.
The 2017/18 report identifies the need for continued focus on the over-representation of Māori, the use of detention facilities for those awaiting assessment by mental health professionals, and the detention of children and young people in facilities that are not designed to meet their needs.
The report summarises the monitoring carried out by New Zealand’s four National Preventative Mechanisms (NPMs): The Independent Police Conduct Authority, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, the Office of the Ombudsman, and the Inspector of Service Penal Establishments. The places they inspect include prisons, police cells, military detention, refugee resettlement facilities, compulsory care facilities, Oranga Tamariki care and protection facilities, and youth justice residences.
The Human Rights Commission is the Central Preventive Mechanism responsible for coordinating the activities of the NPMs. While in previous years, this report has simply been tabled before Parliament, this year, the NPMs have asked that it also go before a Select Committee for further discussion.
The significance of the issues raised in the report are directly related to the ongoing compliance of state agents with our international obligations. The inspections the NPMs do are vital to ensure that a light is shone on every place where people are detained in New Zealand.
The Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, or OPCAT, is an international human rights commitment that New Zealand made in 2007. It is designed to help ensure that New Zealand meets its obligations under international law to prevent any form of torture or ill treatment of people who are detained by the State. Unlike other human rights treaty processes that deal with violations of rights after the fact, OPCAT is primarily concerned with preventing violations through a system of regular inspections by independent bodies.
For more HRC information: Email [email protected]
Office of the Children’s Commissioner: Email [email protected]
The Ombudsman: Email [email protected]
Independent Police Conduct Authority: Email [email protected]