Legislation following terror attack must not cause further harm

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

Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand has a human rights brief that covers a range of issues now being discussed as a result of Friday’s attack. In particular we have worked closely on refugee and asylum seeker issues in New Zealand and scrutinised the practice of criminal detention for some asylum claimants.

Only the lawyers involved, the Crown and the man concerned are party to the full details of his case. From the outside it seems complex, involving both civil and criminal proceedings and touching on several international conventions.

A complex case like this should not be used to make blanket law in the heat of the moment. Especially law that has the potential to harm vulnerable people or restrict civil liberties. Big decisions should not be rammed through during times of crisis.

We urge the Government, and all its parties, to refrain from any moves to rush legislation through. The Counter Terrorism Legislation must proceed with care and the appropriate time for engagement.

This was a shocking and tragic event, but it should not be used to create law that could cause further harm to communities that are already marginalised and at risk. The solutions are based on justice, care, empathy and proper resourcing, not a rush to revise legislation that could be used punitively to limit people’s freedoms in the future without cause.