International reporting

Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) requires states to prevent torture and degrading treatment within their borders and forbids the return of people to their home country if they are likely to be tortured.

The CAT was adopted on 10 December 1984. New Zealand became a party on 10 December 1989.

The Committee Against Torture (CAT) is the body of 10 independent experts that monitors implementation of the CAT by each country who is a party. All countries are obliged to submit reports to the Committee every five years on how the rights are being implemented under CAT.

Six months prior to the Committee’s review of a country it publishes a list of issues, which highlights the Committee’s major areas of concern and additional information the country is strongly urged to provide prior to the review. After considering all the materials, the Committee conducts an interactive dialogue with representatives of the country at the United Nations in Geneva. Following the dialogue, the Committee adopts concluding observations which include final remarks and recommendations.

Civil society members may provide input to the Committee at various points by submitting reports, making oral statements, and participating in briefings for Committee members. The Committee also encourages countries to consult and incorporate information from civil society members in their national reports and follow-up procedures.

The Human Rights Commission also provides a report to the Committee on how New Zealand is doing under CAT.

New Zealand’s next review will take place in 2020.

Previous reviews

All documents relating to the reviews can be found here.

Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT)

The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) was ratified by New Zealand on 14 March 2007. OPCAT created a subcommittee to oversee “a system of regular visits undertaken by independent international and national bodies to places where people are deprived of their liberty, in order to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

In New Zealand, the independent mechanism is made up of the Human Rights Commission (Central National Preventive Mechanism) and four National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) tasked with monitoring detention facilities: the Independent Police Conduct Authority, the Inspector of Service Penal Establishments, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner and the Office of the Ombudsman.

To learn more about OPCAT view this section.