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SOUL is going to Geneva to report on Govt’s racist policy

SOUL is going to Geneva to report on Government’s racist policies

SOUL, the mana whenua-led campaign working to protect Ihumātao from permanent destruction, is taking its case to the United Nations in Geneva in a bid to be heard by the New Zealand Government.

After highly successful presentations to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the UN in New York in April 2017, SOUL will now appeal to the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) for support to prevent Fletcher Building Limited’s high-priced housing development on confiscated Māori land.

SOUL representatives Pania Newton and Delwyne Roberts will travel to Geneva in August 2017 to attend the CERD meeting. They follow in the footsteps of their tupuna who took a case of land confiscation to the League of Nations in Geneva in 1924.

"I feel humbled to be invited to CERD following SOUL’s presentation to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The debacle at Ihumātao represents a monumental failure of democracy. It is morally unacceptable that the New Zealand Government has consistently refused to front up to the travesty of justice at Ihumātao, and - in the 21st century - continues to pass racially discriminatory laws in Aotearoa," says Pania Newton.

SOUL is particularly aggrieved by the Crown’s unflinching support for Fletcher’s profit-driven efforts to build on confiscated land using the Special Housing Area Act to do so.

Delwyne Roberts adds, "It is deeply disappointing that the New Zealand Government has not listened to the people, despite our every effort to be heard. We have no choice but to try to reach them through the UN to get a hearing."

The New Zealand Government is a signatory to CERD and this year it reports to the CERD Committee on progress towards eliminating racism in this country. The Government faces examination of its record on the basis of reports from a range of NGOs, including SOUL.

Pania Newton leaves for Geneva on Monday.

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