COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
4 - 22 May 1998
Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture
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.
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
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.
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.
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
prohibition against torture contained in the Crimes of Torture Act
now is specifically included in the training manuals of prison officers.
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.
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.
Committee considers it important to strengthen the supervision of
the prisons to prevent the misuse and abuse of power by prison personnel.
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.