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NZ Supports Amnesty's Anti-Torture Campaign

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that New Zealand is putting its weight behind Amnesty International's global campaign to stamp out torture.

Speaking at the launch of Amnesty International's Campaign Against Torture, Helen Clark said New Zealand was undertaking a variety of diplomatic initiatives aimed at compelling other countries to put an end to torture.

"Torture is not tolerated in New Zealand. Unfortunately it is in many countries. Horrific acts of torture are carried out around the world every day. It is abhorrent.

"New Zealand is actively participating in diplomatic efforts to establish a global inspection system for places of detention as a way of preventing torture and ill treatment worldwide.

"During the UN Millennium Summit in New York in early September, New Zealand ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. It aims to set up a permanent international court to try human rights abusers who have committed atrocities including torture.

"In September, Parliament passed the International Crimes and International Criminal Court Act. As a result of this extension to New Zealand criminal law it will be possible to prosecute human rights abusers in New Zealand courts for a broader range of torture-related offences.

"New Zealand will continue to lobby other governments to sign up to international conventions to prevent torture and protect human rights, and will give Amnesty International our full support in their campaign, Helen Clark said.


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