INDEPENDENT NEWS

Big Win In Campaign Against Torture

Published: Fri 8 Nov 2002 04:05 PM
Big Win In Campaign Against Torture
A UN General Assembly committee has voted overwhelmingly for a new treaty designed to prevent torture, following a ten-year campaign in which New Zealand has played a critical role.
The Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture, which sets up a system of regular visits to places of detention, was adopted with 104 votes in favour and 8 against. Those against were the US, China, Cuba, Israel, Japan, Nigeria, Syria, and Viet Nam.
"New Zealanders can be proud of the role played by the thousands of New Zealanders who have joined Amnesty International's third major Campaign Against Torture and helped to make this possible," said Amnesty's New Zealand director, Ced Simpson.
Prime Minister Helen Clark pledged the Government's support to the campaign at its global launch in Wellington on 18 October 2000, and New Zealand has lobbied other UN Member States as part of the campaign.
Visits by independent experts able to make concrete recommendations, as provided by the treaty protocol, have proven to be one of the most effective means to prevent torture.
The Optional Protocol will now be presented for its formal adoption during the plenary session of the UN General Assembly in December and will then be open for signature. The Optional Protocol will enter into force upon the 20th ratification.

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