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Commission welcomes Govt support on UN Declaration

Commission welcomes Govt support for UN Declaration

The Human Rights Commission welcomes the Government's support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, announced by Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York today.

New Zealand was one of four countries that voted against the adoption of the Declaration in 2007, along with Australia, Canada and the United States. Since then, Australia has changed its position, and Canada has said it will review its stance.

"This is good news for New Zealand both domestically and internationally," said Chief Human Rights Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan. "New Zealand generally has an excellent reputation for human rights internationally, but has faced criticism for not supporting the Declaration. This change of heart will be greatly welcomed internationally."

Ms Noonan said that the Declaration provides a useful guide when considering issues involving the human rights of indigenous peoples, and the Declaration should now be considered formally by government when developing law, policy and practice in relation to Maori.

Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres also supported the announcement. He said that the Commission had published a bilingual translation of the Declaration after it was adopted by the United Nations and used it as a framework in developing its recent discussion paper on Human Rights and the Treaty of Waitangi.

"The two documents complement each other very well, and the Declaration provides international support to the Treaty's emphasis, in its three articles, on responsible government, tino rangatiratanga and equal rights for all," he said.

Click here for a summary of the Declaration, * for the full text in Maori and English, click here:+

The Commission’s discussion paper Human Rights and the Treaty of Waitangi is available here:*

ENDS

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