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Anti-torture Act passed

Hon Mark Burton
Minister of Justice

22 November 2006 Media Statement

Anti-torture Act passed

New Zealand has reinforced its already strong position on the prevention of torture and ill treatment in places of detention with yesterday's passing of the Crimes of Torture Amendment Act, Justice Minister Mark Burton said.

The Act enables New Zealand to ratify the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

"This Government is committed to ratifying the Optional Protocol because it is an innovative and crucial new international treaty aimed at preventing torture worldwide," said Mark Burton.

"Because of its far-reaching physical and psychological effects, the harm inflicted by torture on the victim cannot always be undone. Therefore, prevention is critical. The Optional Protocol helps prevent torture and ill-treatment through cooperation and transparency," he said.

The Act provides a comprehensive framework for a UN body to inspect places of detention in New Zealand and make recommendations to the government to prevent torture. The Act also ensures that the role of New Zealand’s existing monitoring bodies is strengthened through increased visits to places of detention.

"New Zealand already has extremely competent and well resourced domestic monitoring bodies such as the Ombudsmen who will continue to play a key role in ensuring that torture remains unacceptable in New Zealand.

"This Act coupled with ratification of the Optional Protocol cements New Zealand’s position as a global leader in human rights protection," Mark Burton said.

ENDS

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