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 for people arriving from overseas.
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.
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 July 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 facility’s management team, the relevant district health board, or the Ministry of Health. If you’re not sure what assistance may be available or don’t know who to contact for help, call the free government helpline on 0800 779 997, 8am to 5pm, 7 days a week.
If you have already done this and you believe you have not been treated fairly by a government agency (such as a district health board or the Ministry of Health), the Ombudsman may be able to assist.
The Ombudsman may also be able to assist if you are unhappy with a government agency’s decision following a review of your application to be exempted from managed isolation or quarantine, or you have not received a review decision promptly.