“The SCA notes that the NZHRC has conducted or contributed to monitoring activities in places for the deprivation of liberty both in its capacity as an NHRI and as the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT). While a number of these were for the purpose of research for subsequent reports, the NZHRC notes, however, that all visits to these places were announced.
While the SCA acknowledges that, in some circumstances, it may be necessary to provide notice for reasons such as security, it is of the view that an NHRI should conduct unannounced visits to all places of deprivation of liberty within its jurisdiction as these limit opportunities for detaining authorities to hide or obscure human rights violations and facilitate greater scrutiny.
The SCA encourages the NZHRC to advocate for amendments to the Act to provide for an explicit mandate to conduct unannounced visits to all places of deprivation of liberty.
In the interim, the SCA encourages the NZHRC to access all places of deprivation of liberty in a timely, regular, and/or ad-hoc manner in order to effectively monitor, investigate, and report on the human rights situation in these places. It further encourages the NZHRC to undertake systematic follow-up activities and advocate for the consideration and implementation of its findings and recommendations to ensure the protection of persons deprived of liberty.”