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Arbitrary Detention: UN expert group launches first information-gathering visit to New Zealand

Mission to New Zealand

19 March 2014

GENEVA (19 March 2014) – The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention will conduct its first official visit to New Zealand to assess the situation of deprivation of liberty in the country from 24 March to 7 April.

During the 15-day mission, a group’s delegation will visit the cities of Auckland, Christchurch, New Plymouth and Wellington, where they will engage with the authorities and the civil society.

The independent experts will also visit various detention facilities, including prisons, police stations and mental health institutions, to meet with detainees, their families or representatives, and to seek first-hand information on their cases of deprivation of liberty.

The delegation will consist of human rights experts Mads Andenas, who currently heads the Working Group, and Roberto Garretón. They will be accompanied by staff from the Working Group’s Secretariat at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

A press conference on the preliminary observations of the Working Group will be held at West Plaza Hotel, Wellington, on 7 April 2014 at 12:00.

The final report of the visit will be presented to the Human Rights Council in September 2015.

After concluding its visit to New Zealand, the Working Group will visit the Republic of Nauru from 14 to 17 April 2014.

The Working Group was established by the former Commission on Human Rights in 1991 to investigate instances of alleged arbitrary deprivation of liberty. Its mandate was clarified and extended by the Commission in 1997 to cover the issue of administrative custody of asylum-seekers and immigrants. In September 2013, the Human Rights Council confirmed the scope of the Working Group's mandate and extended it for a further three-year period.

The Working Group is comprised of five independent expert members from various regions of the world. The Chair-Rapporteur is Mr. Mads Andenas (Norway) and the Vice-Chair is Mr. Vladimir Tochilovsky (Ukraine). Other members include Ms. Shaheen Sardar Ali (Pakistan), Mr. Roberto Garretón (Chile) and Mr. El Hadji Malick Sow (Senegal). Learn more, log on to:

Check the Database of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention:

UN Human Rights, Country Page – New Zealand:

For more information and press inquiries, please contact:
During the visit: Miguel de la Lama (mobile: +41 79 444 4078 / [email protected]) and Junko Tadaki (mobile: +41 79 201 0119 / [email protected]).
Before and after the visit: Miguel de la Lama (+41 22 917 9289) and Junko Tadaki (+ 41 22 917 9298) or write to [email protected]

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / [email protected])

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