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Human Rights Commissioners visit Ihumātao

Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt and Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo are visiting Ihumātao this afternoon (Friday 26 July).

“We are here to respectfully look, listen and learn,” said Paul Hunt.

“The Human Rights Commission acknowledges the mamae felt by many and the historic injustices that have led to the protest at Ihumātao.”

Hunt said the dispute at Ihumātao raises profound and difficult issues for Aotearoa New Zealand.

“In working towards a lasting solution there are complex cultural, legal, economic, political, historic and human rights aspects to this case that need to be considered.”

“New Zealand has endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which provides valuable guidance. The Commission is urgently looking at how international human rights thinking, including the Declaration, could contribute to a solution,” said Hunt.

“There are several issues facing the mana whenua and all other participants involved in the dispute. We need to bring together a range of perspectives to identify ways of resolving this dispute in an enduring way.”

Hunt said one of the perspectives that could help work towards a solution is an understanding of New Zealand’s International Human Rights obligations in this area.

“Human rights provide insights about justice, dignity, and wellbeing of individuals and communities, which can contribute to identifying a fair way forward.”

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