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


Dept of Corrections Stance Unjust

MEDIA RELEASE: 17 February 2012

NZAF: Dept of Corrections Stance Unjust

The New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF) supports the Chief Ombudsman’s criticism of the Department of Corrections and expresses its solidarity with transgender people, saying that policies in New Zealand prisons put transgender prisoners at risk of HIV.

Chief Ombudsman Beverley Wakem has taken a stance on the safety of transgender people in New Zealand prisons, saying that the Department of Corrections policy does not adequately reflect the expectation that transgender people are treated with dignity. The Department of Corrections has steadfastly refused to reconsider its policy of housing transgender prisoners depending on whether or not they have completed gender reassignment surgery.

Shaun Robinson, NZAF Executive Director, says that one effect of the policy is that transgender women who may not have completed gender reassignment surgery and therefore have not changed their birth certificates are housed in male prisons and treated as male prisoners. “Yet these women identify as women, dress as women, receive female hormones and live their day-to-day lives as women”

Robinson argues that trampling on the human rights of people on the basis of sexual and gender identity is fundamentally unjust “This is a human rights issue at a base level; the policy is transphobic and places transgender people at severe risk of violence in prisons. It illustrates on-going institutional oppression of people on the grounds of sexual and gender identity. There are also wider implications; the Department’s stance is a recipe for ensuring that sexual health issues, including HIV, remain underground in prisons and are virtually impossible to address.”

Ombudsman Wakem has pointed to the frequent risk of sexual assault faced by transgender women in male prisons. “This decision flies in the face of the recommendations of the 2007 Human Rights Commission Report ‘To Be Who I Am’ on the rights of transgender people,” says Robinson. “The report notes that ‘protection from discrimination under the Human Rights Act 1993 requires policies and practices to be inclusive of transgender people, whatever their sex or gender identity’ - something the Department of Corrections does not appear to have considered.”

Robinson is calling on the Department to review its policy and update it in line with the Ombudsman’s recommendations. “We urge the Corrections Departments to listen to the Ombudsman, MPs, Agender and other community organisations who have created a groundswell of support for a review of this discriminatory policy.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Political Donations Scandals

Even paranoids have real enemies. While there has been something delusionary about the way New Zealand First has been living in denial about its donations scandal, one can sympathise with its indignation about Paula Bennett and Simon Bridges being among its chief accusers. Given that the National Party is enmeshed in a donation scandal of its own that shares the same core features, it is a bit like Al Capone being accused of wrongdoing by Bonnie and Clyde. Unfortunately, the entire country seems to be living in denial about the existence of these sort of shenanigans... More>>

First Published on Werewolf here


UN Expert: NZ Housing Crisis Requires Bold Human Rights Response

This is a press statement from UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing at the end of her 10-day visit to New Zealand. The Government of New Zealand has recognized that the country is facing a housing crisis, said Leilani Farha, UN Special Rapporteur ... More>>


Water Woes: Wellington Reflects National Problem

Water utilities right across the country face major challenges to upgrade and maintain their underground three waters network. Water New Zealand’s Technical Manager, Noel Roberts says Wellington’s waste water woes are not unique to the capital city... More>>


2020 And Beyond: National’s Economic Plan

National Leader Simon Bridges has today outlined National’s economic plan heading into election 2020. “National understands the economy and how it impacts on New Zealanders day to day lives... More>>


Abortion Legislation Committee: Abortion Bill Report Presented To The House

The Abortion Legislation Committee has presented its report on the Abortion Legislation Bill to the House. A copy of the report is available here. The bill seeks to have abortion services provided like other health services... More>>






InfoPages News Channels