New Zealand

New Zealand: Degrading treatment committed by police

During its 77th session, on 18 and 19 July 2023, the CAT reviewed New Zealand’s 7th periodic report. The country rapporteurs were Mr. Bakhtiyar Tuzmukhamedov and Ms. Ilvijia Puce.

The country delegation was led by Andrew Kibblewhite, Secretary for Justice of the New Zealand Ministry of Justice.

Main issues discussed:

The CAT’s experts expressed their concerns about the lack of redress for Lake Alice Hospital torture victims. They recommended non-pecuniary damage compensation and wide dissemination of the Committee’s findings to the public. The Committee had previously found violations of Articles 12, 13, and 14 of the Convention in cases involving Lake Alice Hospital.

The CAT alerted the government to poor conditions in places of detention, including prisons, mental health hospitals, and police stations. They were concerned with overcrowding, understaffing, and medical and psychiatric care, as well as the overrepresentation of indigenous Māori people detained in places of detention. The CAT experts invited the government to examine the effectiveness of its initiatives to remedy the situation.

The CAT also expressed concern about degrading treatment committed by police. This includes the use of spit hoods, pepper spray, and unnecessary force during and after apprehension.

The CAT also raised concerns on the government for not raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

Find the CAT’s Recommendations here.

Follow-up Recommendations:

The State party should provide information by 28 July 2024 on the implementation of recommendations regarding:

  • detention conditions
  • indigenous peoples in the criminal justice system
  • juvenile justice
  • historical abuse in State care and in the care of faith-based institutions