Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


High Rate of Māori in Prison among UN Concerns for NZ

High Rate of Māori in Prison among Concerns as UN Experts Wrap Up New Zealand Visit

New York, Apr 8 2014 - A United Nations human rights panel has voiced concerns about issues related to the deprivation of liberty in New Zealand, including the “disproportionate incarceration rates” of the Māori population, despite legal safeguards against arbitrary detention.

Speaking in Auckland yesterday at the end of their first official visit to the country, members of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention noted that, overall, legislation and policy concerning deprivation of liberty in New Zealand is well-developed and generally consistent with international human rights law and standards.

At the same time, they urged the authorities to address a number of concerns.

“If a prisoner has fully served the sentence imposed at the time of conviction, equivalent detention cannot be imposed under the label of civil preventive detention,” said expert Mads Andenas, who currently heads the Working Group. “The substantive grounds for detention must be defined with sufficient precision to avoid overly broad or arbitrary application.”

He stressed that the over-representation of Māori also poses “a significant challenge,” noting that the members of indigenous group make up for more than 50 per cent of the prison population while they comprise some 15 per cent of the country’s population.

The group urged the authorities to address the disproportionate negative impacts on Māori of criminal justice legislation extending sentences or reducing probation or parole, while recommending a review of the degree of inconsistencies and systemic bias against Māori at all the different levels of the criminal justice system.

“The authorities should continue searching for creative and integrated solutions to the root causes which lead to disproportionate incarceration rates of the Māori population in New Zealand,” he said.

During the visit, the group paid particular attention to the situation of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants in an irregular situation. In 2012, the Government accepted 690 refugees from third countries for resettlement and made efforts to facilitate their integration in the country.

The experts noted that New Zealand is using the prison system and police stations to detain irregular migrants and asylum-seekers, although the country does not have a mandatory detention policy for asylum-seekers, refugees or migrants in an irregular situation.

“Detention of asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants in an irregular situation should normally be avoided and be a measure of last resort,” said Roberto Garretón, the other member of the group’s visiting delegation.

“Alternatives to detention should always be given preference. Humane and cost-effective mechanisms such as community release programmes can be very successful,” he underscored.

Concerning the detention of persons with mental or intellectual disabilities, the experts pointed out that that the legislative framework is not effectively implemented to ensure that arbitrary deprivation of liberty does not occur.

“Compulsory treatment orders are largely clinical decisions and it is difficult to effectively challenge such orders,” Mr. Andenas said. “Persons undergoing compulsory assessments are often unrepresented in practice, as they do not have access to legal aid.”

The experts also noted that, despite the increasing phenomenon of older persons staying in residential care, there is very little protection available to ensure that they are not arbitrarily deprived of their liberty against their will.

Lastly, the expert group expressed concern that a notable gap remains in relation to the legislative protection available to children aged 17 years, who are considered as adults for penal responsibility effects, tried as adults and, if condemned, are sent to adult prisons.

The experts urged the authorities to extend protection measures to include 17 year olds, as recommended by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the UN Committee Against Torture.

The final report of the group’s 15-day mission will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2015.

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Cunliffe’s Last Stand

Right now, embattled Labour leader David Cunliffe has three options. None of them are particularly attractive for him personally, or for the Labour Party.

In scenario one, Cunliffe could resign immediately and trigger a leadership vote among the caucus, the party membership and unions affiliates. This would be a high risk gambit in that it would pre-empt any review of the Labour election campaign and would be likely to open up new divisions.

While one can safely predict the caucus would vote against Cunliffe, the wider party and union response would be unpredictable, given that Cunliffe (ineptly) ran a centrist neo-Goff/Shearer campaign this year and not the left wing campaign that those who voted him into the leadership were expecting him to pursue. More>>

 

Key Seeking 'New Ideas': Look To Children’s Commissioner On Poverty - Greens

John Key should not reinvent the wheel when it comes to ideas for tackling child poverty, and instead look to the recommendations of the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Group on Child Poverty, Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says. More>>

ALSO:

'Safe To Re-Enter' - OIA Docs: Safety Is Absolute Priority At Pike River Mine

“We understand that the time it is taking to complete our evaluation of the risks is frustrating for the family members and we are trying to complete this work as quickly as we can,” Ms Dunphy says. “It is Solid Energy’s responsibility to make this decision and we will do so, once we have all the information required to make a fully-informed decision.” More>>

ALSO:

Images & Report: Mihi To Welcome Newly-Elected MPs To Parliament

The 29 newly elected MPs were welcomed into Parliament with a Mihi. Parliament’s current Speaker David Carter offered advice from his experience working in Parliament advising the MPs to work collaboratively. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Very Bad Year

While Labour leader David Cunliffe still appears to be in denial about the extent of Saturday night’s debacle, there was hardly a single redeeming feature about the election results for the centre-left... More>>

ALSO:

General Election NZ: National Win

Election Night: With almost all votes counted National and John Key have won a third term and are close to being able to govern alone if they so choose. Key has indicated he will still reach out to form a Government with ACT, United Future and Maori Party. More>>

ALSO:

Perfectly-Timed Anniversaries: Suffrage Day Is Last Chance To Enrol

“The last chance to enrol is Friday 19 September. You can’t enrol on election day.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On First Time Voting (Greens)

For the last two days, I’ve turned my column over to a couple of guest columnists who are first time voters… Today’s guest columnist is Ana Avia-O’Connor, who will be casting her first time vote on Saturday for the Greens. More>>

ALSO:

Meddling: Aussie Liberals Embroiled In Key Campaign

John Key needs to explain why Australia’s Liberal Party is interfering in New Zealand domestic politics and is encouraging Kiwi voters across the ditch to vote for National just days out from the election, Labour’s campaign spokesperson Annette King says. More>>

ALSO:

SURVEILLANCE:

Election Ad Soundtrack: Rapper Eminem Sues National Party Over Copyright Breach

US rapper Eminem is suing the New Zealand National Party for alleged copyright infringement over unauthorised use of the rapper’s ‘Lose Yourself’ song in an election campaign advertisement. More>>

ALSO:

Big March: Call For An End To Domestic Violence

Hundreds of protesters marched down Lambton Quay to Parliament Monday calling for an end to domestic violence. Wearing white facemasks, waving banners and calling for “safety” for the women and children of New Zealand.. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news