UNCAT finds New Zealand in Violation of Historic Abuse Claimants Human Rights

17/5/15

The United Nations Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) has called on the New Zealand Government to respect their obligations to the Convention Against Torture on the matter of failing to provide adequate redress to over a thousand people who were historically abused as children while in NZ State run institutions.

The historic abuse claims processes, which are handled by New Zealand’s Ministry of Social Development, were questioned by several NZ groups, including myself along with NGOs and NZ’s national human rights body, who submitted shadow reports to the UNCAT for New Zealand’s 6th Periodic Review before the Committee in April/May 2015. These reports raised a number of serious human rights concerns including long delays in settling claims, the failure of the NZ Government to provide an independent and impartial investigation of cases of historic abuse, and failing to provide adequate redress to victims of abuse.

The UNCAT made this statement in their concluding observations of New Zealand’s recent 6th Periodic Review before the Committee.

(Quote)

“19. While welcoming the commitment of the State Party to provide compensation to victims of historic claims of abuse, the Committee is concerned at the fact that victims have not been awarded with full redress, including compensation and rehabilitation, as prescribed by general comment No. 3 (2012) on the implementation of article 14 by States parties.

… The State party should establish the legislative and structural framework necessary for ensuring that all victims of torture receive redress, including medical and psychological assistance, full compensation and the means for full rehabilitation.”

(End Quote)

The UNCAT has also preemptively made a statement that they intend to focus on four issues which involved serious concerns for victims of torture and were protective in their nature.  The four issues are: access to fundamental safeguards in connection with the deprivation of liberty; prompt, impartial and effective investigations of allegations of torture and ill-treatment; prosecution of persons accused of acts of torture and punishment if found guilty; and redress to the victims of torture or ill-treatment. States will be expected to comply with the UNs recommendations within a year.

See Committee against Torture Concluding observations on the sixth periodic report of New Zealand, Advance Unedited Version (para 19) http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CAT/Shared%20Documents/NZL/CAT_C_NZL_CO_6_20487_E.pdf

This link for preemptive announcement re serious concerns for victims of torture and were protective in their nature.   http://www.unog.ch/unog/website/news_media.nsf/%28httpNewsByYear_en%29/EEF81A87BC887DA0C1257E3D00521E87?OpenDocument

See my submission to UNCAT here http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CAT/Shared%20Documents/NZL/INT_CAT_CSS_NZL_20011_E.pdf

2 comments on “UNCAT finds New Zealand in Violation of Historic Abuse Claimants Human Rights

  1. Alice de Sturler on said:

    Let me know how I can help.

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