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NZ lead on Protocol Against Torture welcomed

Human Rights Commission
Media Release 24 September 2003

NZ lead on Protocol Against Torture welcomed

Human Rights Chief Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan today welcomed news that New Zealand had been one of the first countries to sign the UN Optional Protocol Against Torture.

"The New Zealand Government has shown a strong commitment to human rights by taking a lead role in the development of this protocol," Ms Noonan said.

"Torture cannot be tolerated in any form. This Protocol represents a significant milestone in the prevention of this most profound abuse of human rights.

"In signing the Protocol New Zealand is contributing to building an international environment where torture is not only scorned upon but mechanisms are created to prevent it.

"It is also important to acknowledge the work of Amnesty International. By mobilising the power of public feeling globally Amnesty had played a leading role in bringing the issue to world attention through their campaign to stamp out torture."

The protocol is aimed at preventing torture by establishing an expert inspection team to visit places of detention in countries that ratified the protocol. The monitoring regime established by the visits would report on conditions of detention and will actively deter abusive practices.

"The New Zealand Human Rights Commission looks forward to contributing to the protocol's implementation and the development of a monitoring framework in New Zealand," Ms Noonan says.

As part of the development of the New Zealand Action Plan for Human Rights (NZAPHR) the Commission is currently assessing the treatment of people in detention facilities in New Zealand. More information on the NZAPHR can be found at www.hrc.co.nz/actionplan

Ends

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