Submission on the Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill

This submission is made on behalf of Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand (AIANZ) to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee on the Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill 2019.

Amnesty International is a global movement of over 7 million people who protect human dignity and defend human rights. In New Zealand we have approximately 40,000 supporters and work on a wide range of human rights issues of both national and international significance. We promote and defend the observance of all human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international standards.

This Bill empowers the High Court to restrict an individual’s human rights in a high degree of intrusion generally only imposed following a criminal conviction.

This submission details some of AIANZ’s concerns with the Bill. As necessitated by the unreasonable time frame for consultation, AIANZ is unable to submit a full assessment of the human rights implications of the Bill. However we believe this Bill risks New Zealand’s human rights obligations and oppose its passage through Parliament under the current process.

Whilst proposed amendments under Supplementary Order Paper 397 introduce some improvements, AIANZ still has significant concerns about this Bill and its process, in particular:
a. The unreasonable time frame for civil society and the public to provide input and analysis on a Bill that seeks to restrict fundamental human rights, with a submission process that amounted to three working days;
b. Individuals not being informed of the control order application until the control order is enacted;
c. The dangers of “non disclosable evidence” and the use of Special Advocates;
d. The low standard of proof –civil not criminal;
e. The open-ended rather than exhaustive list of restrictions which give the Court wide-ranging powers and risk arbitrary restrictions being applied;
f. The potential for arbitrary detention;
g. The impact on the right to private and family life, and mental health impacts of the Control Order regime.