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UN Declaration implementation gap must be addressed

UN Declaration implementation gap must be addressed, says Commission

9 August 2017: Almost 10 years on from the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples should be used to highlight its implementation gap, says the Human Rights Commission.

The tenth anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will be marked next month and the Commission’s Kaiwhakarite Matua, Perēri Hathaway, says that while the milestone is something to be celebrated, the implementation of the Declaration still needs to be fully realised.

“Māori, like many other indigenous communities throughout the world, are painfully aware of the major implementation gap between what indigenous rights are protected through the Declaration and their realisation in practice. This must change.”

“The Declaration offers real opportunities for positive change for tangata whenua, and Aotearoa New Zealand. However, almost 10 years on from its adoption, a lack of political will, resources and commitment has meant this is still to be realised.

“Using the Declaration to develop a framework for future action will be vital for ensuring the rights of Māori, as tangata whenua, are protected. This will be an important theme at the Declaration’s 10th Anniversary Conference to be held at Te Papa next month.”

The Conference on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is being held jointly by the NZ Human Rights Commission and the Massey University-based Global Centre for Indigenous Leadership at Te Papa in Wellington from 5-6 September 2017.

“The aim of this conference will be to provide a clear pathway forward for our indigenous communities and to provide a national forum for discussion, education, and awareness around the Declaration and indigenous rights,” Mr Hathaway says.

“The Conference provides an opportunity to further develop understanding and awareness of the Declaration and empower people to use it when making submissions, reporting to Government, writing shadow reports to the UN, or appearing before the Courts or Waitangi Tribunal.

“The Commission, since late last year, have held a series of speakers’ forums to promote awareness and discussion around the Declaration which have been well attended. The Conference will allow us to continue to build on this interest and continue to give people a voice to share their own stories and experiences,” Mr Hathaway says.


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