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NZ in 'Coalition of Willing' vs Indigenous Rights

NZ Joins the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ against Indigenous Rights

Dr Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia, Co-leaders of the Maori Party

Friday 14 September 2007

The Government’s decision to continue its collusion with Australia, Canada and America in defiance of the United Nations, and vote against the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, will be viewed with dismay by tangata whenua said the Maori Party.

“This week in Question-time, the Government described the Declaration as ‘incompatible’ with Government policy” said Dr Sharples. “What are Maori to make of that – that the individual and collective rights of Indigenous People do not fit with Labour policy?"

“The Declaration has been described by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as a historic moment when UN Member States and indigenous peoples “have resolved to move forward together on the path of human rights, justice and development for all” said Dr Sharples.

“It is shameful to the extreme, that New Zealand voted against the outlawing of discrimination against Indigenous People; voted against justice, dignity and fundamental freedoms for all” said Dr Sharples.

“This day will be a red-letter day for Indigenous Peoples of Aotearoa and the globe” said Tariana Turia. “Whilst the Indigenous Peoples of some 143 nations around the world can be proud of their stand in support of the rights of indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions, our land of Aotearoa will be forever marked as standing in opposition”.

“How can this Government oppose a declaration which promotes and protects what is meant to be merely a minimum standard of human rights for Maori?” asked Mrs Turia.

“How can this Government vote against a text – despite two decades of advocacy – which sets out very basic rights of Indigenous People to their culture, language, employment, health, education and their own needs and aspirations?” said Mrs Turia.

"How can this Government vote against such a text - despite the fact they have been instrumental in weakening its provisions over the last few years? They've held Indigenous Peoples to ransom all over the world, and haven't even had the decency to support the watered down version at the final vote. It is very clear they still think of Indigenous Peoples as sub-human with only sub-human rights" said Mrs Turia.

“It seems to us, that the Government is happy to forever croon the catchcry of ‘Maori potential’ without ever putting in place commitments to allow Maori to translate potential into power on our own terms” said Mrs Turia.

“We are tired of the Government’s paternalistic wish-list approach to Maori” said Mrs Turia. “The Declaration on Indigenous Rights is fundamentally about making respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples manifest today, not some far off date in the future”.

“It makes manifest that indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination, to have their lands and culture protected, and their right to pursue their own visions of economic and social development” said Mrs Turia. “What part of ‘rights’ does this Government not get?”


ENDS

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