19 Dec 2013

Basic rights 'trampled on' during raids

9:28 pm on 19 December 2013

The Human Rights Commission says innocent people including children had their basic rights trampled on during the Urewera raids in 2007.

A report released by the commission on Thursday says people caught up in the Operation Eight police raids were subjected to unnecessary trauma and not enough was done to support them in the aftermath.

The raids targeted attempts to set up a private militia at camps in eastern Bay of Plenty.

The commission said it received 31 complaints, which included the execution of 41 search warrants and road blocks at Ruatoki and Taneatua.

It said the complaints included armed police confining children for several hours without food, and police stopping and photographing people at the roadblocks without consent.

In May this year, the Independent Police Conduct Authority found that police acted unlawfully in setting up the roadblocks, detaining and searching people.

Commission chair David Rutherford told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Thursday the raids badly affected those caught up in them.

"Probably most concerned about children, what they saw and what they put up with on the day. Just being denied food, very scared about what was going on, being completely innocent."

Mr Rutherford said he hopes the affected communities and police can reconcile without the need for legal action.