6 Dec 2022

New safeguards to ensure proper treatment of detainees during offshore deployments announced

2:16 pm on 6 December 2022
Nanaia Mahuta

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

A fresh set of rules to ensure humane treatment of people detained by New Zealand authorities during offshore deployments has been announced.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said the new framework delivered on the fourth and final recommendation accepted after the 2020 Operation Burnham inquiry.

"The Operation Burnham Inquiry highlighted inadequacies in policies and procedures where New Zealand personnel were involved with the detention of people during overseas deployments, and how allegations of torture or mistreatment were investigated," she said.

The first part of the new detention framework contained a set of protective safeguards and policy requirements for the treatment of detained people, which would be applied across a more comprehensive range of detention scenarios than previously.

The second part set out stronger procedures and risk mitigation measures for agencies to follow before, during and after deployment of their personnel overseas.

"This includes making sure that risk mitigation measures are applied, to help avoid any mistakes occurring again in the future," Mahuta said.

"It also ensures that ministers and home agencies are immediately notified of any issues of concern, and that proper records are kept."

Mahuta said New Zealand agencies would now focus on implementing the new framework and ensuring the new standards and safeguards were integrated into training and planning for offshore deployments.

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