6 November 2023  Reports

2021/22 Annual report of activities under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT)

Aotearoa New Zealand's National Preventative Mechanisms (NPMs) under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment have a mandate to independently and regularly monitor places where people are deprived of their liberty in order to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The designated NPMs in Aotearoa New Zealand are the Ombudsman, the Independent Police Conduct Authority and Inspector of Service Penal Establishments and Mana Mokopuna - Children and Young People’s Commission.

This joint report outlines the activities of the NPMs during the period 1 July 2021 – 30 June 2022. Thematic issues include:

  • The need to address the underlying causes of over-representation of Māori across all detention settings, and to focus on achieving equitable treatment and improving outcomes for Māori in detention;
  • Impacts of the COVID-19 response interfering with the minimum entitlements of persons in detention;
  • Continued concerns around the unnecessary and disproportionate use of force and restrictive measures in some detention settings, including pepper spray, seclusion and restraint;
  • The need for appropriate and specialist staff induction and training, including cultural capabilities;
  • Concerns around poor mental health outcomes for persons across the majority of detention settings, and the need for appropriate supports;
  • The need for independent and accessible complaints processes for detained persons; and
  • Concerns around material conditions in places of detention.