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Speech by Tauni Sinclair to the WCAR in Durban

Speech delivered by Tauni Sinclair to the WCAR in Durban

Statement By Te Kawau Maro – Indigenous Maori Organisation – Aotearoa – New Zealand – WCAR – Durban – 4th September 2001

Madam President

This intervention is made by the Maori delegation from Aotearoa / New Zealand.

We bring greetings from our people to African peoples, and also congratulate Mary Robinson and her team who were reported on the national news stating that “the show must go on” end quote.

We acknowledge one of Africa’s’ greatest sons, Nelson Mandela, imbued with moral ethical and human characteristics distinguishing as one of the greatest political figures of all time. Madam President – this conference is a spearhead – a psychological assault on racist attitudes and discriminating social structures - it is about acknowledging past injustices and apologising for such wrongs – It is about a programme of action to deliver justice, compensation and reparations to victims. To refuse to apologise shows a lack of moral fibre and courage of conviction- leaving a festering sore, untreated.

Regarding colonialism – there is no dispute it occurred, the brackets in the documents must come off. Otherwise what was that aberration against humanity–?
We must admit it, acknowledge it, and move on. There is no other way.

Regarding reparations and compensations – those who reject this are out of touch with developing trends. Precedents have been established as a beginning, however they require improvement, such as full and equal participation by all parties.

The negotiated process Maori have been through is multifaceted – results being return of certain lands, assets, resources and finance – it is not perfect, it is only a beginning not an end, the greatest progress has been the cathartic experience of Maori documenting their own traditional and colonial histories – a renaissance of Maori consciousness and identity – knowledge that Maori are not to be stigmitised as authors of their own misfortune.

The wider community of NZ can no longer plead ignorance of Maori issues – racist barriers will come down, a change in attitude preceeds an effective change in the law.
And what of ignorant commentators stating the country would be bankrupted if apologies of past colonial injustices and Treaty breaches were made – it has not occurred. The world has not fallen apart. In fact it is much healthier.

Regarding Para 27, qualifying Self-determination. Self-determination should be left open as a principle within the context of racism and discrimination. It is not appropriate to negotiate self-determination, either its extent or limitations in a declaration dealing with racism. Paragraph 27 – appears to re-write paragraph 26. It is unnecessary. It is suggested the term “Indigenous Peoples” in the Declaration and Programme of Action be defined within the context of racism and discrimination and related intolerance.
Indigenous Peoples should not be prejudiced by future negotiations on Self-determination. This Racism Declaration is a shield of minimum standards against racism, not a definite statement on self-determination.
Lets move on. Thank-you.

tkm@ihug.co.nz

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