'War on terror'
The fate of Algerian refugee Ahmed Zaoui continued to hang in the balance pending review of a security assessment alleging he was a risk to New Zealand security. A senior member of Algeria's Islamic Salvation Front (Front islamique du salut, FIS) party, he claimed asylum on his arrival in New Zealand in December 2002, and was recognized as a refugee in August 2003. He was subsequently detained for 23 months - 10 in solitary confinement - under a security risk certificate issued by the Director of Security on the basis of intelligence information to which neither he nor his counsel have access. His appeal against the security risk certificate filed in March 2003 had still not been heard at the end of 2006.
Violence against women
In July a joint taskforce on violence against women made up of representatives from government, non-governmental agencies and the judiciary released its first report. The taskforce noted that the victims of extreme family violence in New Zealand are predominantly women and children, and launched a programme of action. Its aims included: a nationwide campaign to change attitudes to violence; changes in the justice sector to meet the needs of victims, offenders and family members; and a review of deaths resulting from family violence to gain greater understanding of how to strengthen prevention systems.
In September the police began a year-long trial of the Taser stun-gun despite concerns expressed by AI, other human rights groups and the Mental Health Commission.
By the end of 2006 the government had not announced steps to implement the Action Plan for Human Rights it commissioned in 2002 and formally received in March 2005.