Humanely meeting the needs of detained individuals, including those who have complex mental health and psycho-social conditions, is a key area of concern. This year, the Commission is leading a review into seclusion and restraint practices in New Zealand.
As both international monitoring and media coverage has shown, there are some discrepancies in the way seclusion and restraint policies and practices are implemented in New Zealand and, while previous monitoring has led to some progress, there are still gaps in the system that need to be investigated and addressed.
The Human Rights Commission, and a number of other organisations, has repeatedly raised concerns about the way Government agencies detain some New Zealanders and keep them in solitary confinement or seclusion.
To address these concerns, the Commission is leading a review into the policies and practices with funding from the United Nations.
The review will help to find examples of innovative and successful policy and practice changes, both in New Zealand and internationally, that can inform how we address common issues in our current system and will result in a report that will help guide New Zealand’s seclusion and restraint policies practices in future.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has provided the Commission with funding to investigate seclusion and restraint practices in New Zealand. This will assist the Commission to follow up on recommendations made in 2013 by the United Nations Sub-Committee on the Prevention of Torture.
The Commission is engaging Sharon Shalev, who is an international expert in seclusion practices and will be assisting with this important project.