Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture : New Zealand. 05/08/1998.
A/53/44,paras.167-178. (Concluding Observations/Comments)

Convention Abbreviation: CAT
COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
Twentieth session
4 - 22 May 1998



Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture

New Zealand


167. The Committee considered the second periodic report of New Zealand (CAT/C/29/Add.4) at its 326th, 327th and 334th meetings, held on 8 May 1998 (CAT/C/SR.326 and 327), and adopted the following conclusions and recommendations.


1. Introduction

168. New Zealand ratified the Convention on 10 December 1989 and made declarations recognizing the competence of the Committee against Torture to receive and consider communications made in accordance with articles 21 and 22 of the Convention. Both the initial report which was presented by New Zealand on 29 July 1992 and the second periodic report were prepared in accordance with article 19 of the Convention and with the Committee’s general guidelines concerning the form and content of reports. The second periodic report of New Zealand covers the period from 9 January 1991 to 8 January 1995 and provides information on some significant changes in the legislative and executive activities. Important information is included also in the basic document prepared by New Zealand on 28 September 1993 (HRI/CORE/1/Add.33).


2. Positive aspects

169. Section 9 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights recognizes the rights of persons not to be subjected to torture or to cruel, degrading or disproportionately severe treatment or punishment.

170. The Crimes of Torture Act 1989 has specific and directly enforceable provisions to prohibit acts of torture. The definition of “act of torture” in the Act is in accordance with the relevant definition of article 1 of the Convention.

171. As stated in the second periodic report, the procedures for considering refugee application are implemented at present not by part-time staff, but by regular staff.

172. The Committee is satisfied that the periodic review of the clinical status of mental patients committed to mental hospitals ensures that such compulsory treatment will not violate the mental patients’ right to freedom.

173. The prohibition against torture contained in the Crimes of Torture Act now is specifically included in the training manuals of prison officers.

174. The Committee views as a positive development the establishment of “Refugees as Survivors Centres”.


3. Subjects of concern

175. A subject of concern to the Committee is the instances of use of physical violence against prisoners of Mangaroa prison by the members of prison personnel. The allegations are that the prisoners were molested by the guards with fists and legs, they were not provided with medical treatment and were deprived of food and proper places of detention. Although these facts, pending the results of the ongoing investigation, cannot be considered as instances of torture, they already amount to cruel and degrading treatment.

4. Recommendations

176. The Committee recommends the completion of the investigation of the incidents of physical violence on prisoners at Mangaroa prison. The State party should inform the Committee on the results.

177. The Committee considers it important to strengthen the supervision of the prisons to prevent the misuse and abuse of power by prison personnel.

178. The Committee considers it desirable that the State party continue its efforts to adopt the new law on extradition, which would simplify the extradition procedure and thus enable it to establish the relevant relations (treaty-based or otherwise) with non-Commonwealth countries.


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