Operation 8: Human Rights Commission Report

Read the complete analysis of alleged Maori terrorism in the Urewera

The Human Rights Commission has finally released its report into Operation 8 and the human rights violations associated with the armed paramilitary operation at Ruatoki and elsewhere on 15th October 2007. It should be read in conjunction with the Independent Police Conduct Authority report published in May 2013. Both reports can be downloaded at the following links.

HRC Report
IPCA Report

Both reports focus on the actions of the armed paramilitary police on the day of their operation on 15th October 2007. The IPCA report addresses unlawful behaviour by the police and the HRC report addresses human rights violations. Neither looks any deeper at the justification for Operation 8. That will only be achieved through a full and independent inquiry into the conduct of Operation 8 from beginning to end. The activities on 15th October 2007 were just the visible tip of the iceberg.

Now I don’t know myself but The Kumara Vine reports that the first draft of the HRC report was so weak they were told to rewrite it.

Media Release

Commission releases Operation Eight human rights analysis

Today the Human Rights Commission released a report on Police actions during Operation Eight concluding that innocent people were exposed to unnecessary trauma and had their human rights negatively impacted.

The Commission received 31 complaints about Police actions covering a range of concerns including being stopped at the roadblock at Ruatoki and photographed without consent, the negative implications of using the Terrorism Suppression Act, and the impact on children confined for several hours, some without food.

“Our report focuses on the innocent people affected by the operation. These people had done nothing wrong and did not break any laws but had their basic rights trampled. The report does not deal with those people arrested or charged,”  says Chief Commissioner David Rutherford.

“The report also concludes that no comprehensive assessment of the impact on innocent people was carried out; and insufficient support was provided to innocent people.

“It’s very clear more should have been done in the immediate aftermath to support innocent people. We make five recommendations to help ensure negative impacts are minimised in the future.

“On the positive side, much progress has been made since 2007. We’re pleased to see Police have made changes to their processes and policies to ensure this doesn’t happen again. For example, we welcome the completion of a review of Police policy for dealing with children and vulnerable people when executing search warrants.

“It is also worth noting that new search and surveillance legislation has been introduced since Operation Eight that addresses much of the behaviour complained about.

“The Commission’s report follows the conclusion of related court cases and the release of the IPCA report earlier this year. We considered it inappropriate to release our analysis before the completion of these two matters.

“Over recent months the Commission has been consulting with both Police and Tūhoe leadership and we understand that substantial progress has been made in repairing the relationship. My hope is that this report will help further that endeavour,” says Mr Rutherford.

Links: The Operation 8 Series