Corrections Minister must focus on issues at hand



24th February 2021

The below can be attributed to Amnesty International Executive Director Meg de Ronde.

The Minister needs to focus on the issues at hand: the portfolio he is responsible for, Corrections, has committed grave human rights violations and broken New Zealand and international law. And this has a human cost. Our people living in prison are being subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment.

People who go to prison lose their liberty – that is the punishment. If someone is put in prolonged solitary confinement as a form of punishment it could constitute psychological torture. Disturbingly in Court, Corrections showed a serious lack of knowledge of critical laws in place to protect the human rights of people in prison. These are the questions that the Minister should be focusing on. We are concerned here about the targeting of an NGO in order to divert the narrative.

Minister Davis has the power and responsibility to make change here. As a Minister he needs to answer whether he has read the Judgement released on Monday, whether he has asked for an investigation into possible torture in his prison and whether he recognises the need for an investigation into the systemic issues that have been identified. In attacking a group of volunteers advocating for the rights of people in prison the Minister seems to be sending a disturbing message about his priorities. We ask him again to step up as Minister of Corrections and address the very serious human rights issues in our prison system.