Monitoring COVID-19 managed isolation and quarantine facilities
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On 17 June 2020, the Chief Ombudsman announced he is setting up a new inspection programme to monitor and report on COVID-19 isolation and quarantine facilities.
This work helps fulfil New Zealand’s obligations to the Optional Protocol to the United Nations (UN) Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT), an international human rights agreement New Zealand ratified in 2007. The Chief Ombudsman is responsible for inspecting the treatment of people in health and disability places of detention – where people are not free to leave at will.
The Government requires that all people arriving in New Zealand go into either managed isolation or quarantine, for 14 days, to keep COVID-19 from entering the community.
- New Zealand Government's Managed Isolation and Quarantine website
- COVID-19 health advice and information on the Ministry of Health's website
Programme development and updates
The new inspection programme will be developed in stages from June 2020 onwards. This will involve information gathering, planning, and recruitment, with inspections expected to start from August 2020.
The treatment and conditions of people detained in managed isolation and quarantine facilities will be assessed using the same principles and criteria used by the Ombudsman to conduct his COVID-19 inspections of other health and disability facilities, and prisons.
- Criteria for OPCAT COVID-19 inspections - pamphlet
- Criteria for OPCAT COVID-19 inspections
- OPCAT inspections and visits during COVID-19 pandemic – update and Statement of Principles
- OPCAT inspections during COVID-19 pandemic – update and Statement of Principles poster
The Ombudsman monitors managed isolation and quarantine facilities to prevent human rights violations occurring. His OPCAT role does not include a complaints function.
If you want to report any concerns or make a complaint about a managed isolation or quarantine facility, contact the staff from the quarantine and managed isolation programme at your facility in the first instance.
If you have already done this and you believe you have not been treated fairly by a government agency (such as the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) or the Ministry of Health), the Ombudsman may be able to assist.
The Ombudsman may also be able to assist if you have applied for an exemption from managed isolation, and you think something has gone wrong with the processing of your application.