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NZ to Host United Nations Special Rapporteur

15 November 2005

NZ Government to Host United Nations Special Rapporteur

The Minister of Maori Affairs, Parekura Horomia today confirmed that the New Zealand Government will host a visit by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, Rodolfo Stavenhagen.

This visit is at the request of the Special Rapporteur and arises from a standing invitation, which New Zealand issued in 2004 to human rights Special Rapporteurs.

Mr Stavenhagen will be in New Zealand from November 16-24. The majority of his visit will be spent meeting with Maori groups throughout the country. At his request, Mr Stavenhagen will also meet with representatives from local and central government and be briefed by officials from relevant agencies.

“The Government welcomes the visit of the United Nations Special Rapporteur. Mr Stavenhagen will travel widely and have the opportunity to discuss issues with Maori from throughout the country,” said Parekura Horomia.

“New Zealand is at the forefront of international efforts to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms for everyone. In 2004, New Zealand supported the continuation of the United Nations Special Rapporteur’s mandate to safeguard the rights and freedoms of indigenous peoples,” said Mr Horomia.

Mr Stavenhagen, who is from Mexico, was appointed Special Rapporteur in 2001. A previous Special Rapporteur visited New Zealand in 1997. The role of the Special Rapporteur is to examine how obstacles to the full protection of human rights of indigenous people can be overcome.

Mr Stavenhagen will issue a statement and host a press conference close to the completion of his visit. He will publish a report on his visit at a later date.

ENDS

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