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Govt considered ‘hostile’ toward Indigenous People

New Zealand Government considered ‘hostile’ toward Indigenous Peoples everywhere

Manu Caddie, Director of the Pacific Centre for Participatory Democracy based in Gisborne, said the criticism levelled by Amnesty International at the government’s ‘package’ of suggested amendments to the draft United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Geneva, will be an embarrassment for the Labour government coming so close on the heals of the recent visit by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples in November, the findings in 2004 of the Waitangi Tribunal in relation the Foreshore and Seabed legislation and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination decision earlier this year that also found the legislation discriminates against Maori.

“By my count the score is now 4-0 against the government. How many more completely independent assessments of their flawed position do they need? The MFAT and Crown Law officials acting on behalf of the government in Geneva are giving New Zealand a tarnished reputation that is going to impact on how this country is perceived by the international community.”

“Of particular concern in this case is the lack of public consultation on the position New Zealand is taking, there has been no process of public submissions on the dDRIP since 1994 and while officials claim that the government’s position is well known, they made a radical departure from the previous policy on October 20 when the MFAT official called the present text of the draft Declaration "unworkable and unacceptable" for many States. This was at the time a caretaker government was in place with no mandate to make significant policy changes, and the latest ‘package’ of amendments have confirmed a completely new and frankly hostile stance toward indigenous peoples everywhere.

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“How can New Zealand speak out on human rights violations and corrupt governance in countries like Zimbabwe, Uganda and Burma if our own house is not in order? The integrity of our moral position is quickly being undermined. The belligerent actions of the New Zealand government are impacting not only on the rights of indigenous peoples here but around the world – and the whole world is watching.”

“Amnesty International does not make such strong statements lightly, they research the issues, look at the impacts of the activities they are commenting on and consider carefully the integrity of their claims.”

Several countries spoke after the introduction of this "package" and not one of them supported it. Several in fact took great exception to its introduction and its reversal of other proposals already submitted.

ENDS


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