The Conference on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is hoped to provide a needed pathway forward for indigenous rights in New Zealand, says the Human Rights Commission.
The conference, which opens at Te Papa in Wellington today and is being jointly hosted by the Commission and the Massey University-based Global Centre for Indigenous Leadership, takes place only a few days before the 10th anniversary of the Declaration, providing an ideal platform for conversation about its relevance and impact in New Zealand.
Chief Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford says the anniversary is a significant milestone, and one that allows for the necessary reflection and conversation around the declaration.
“As we have said for some time, there are still significant gaps in the implementation of the declaration in Aotearoa New Zealand.
“The conference is an opportunity to assess what progress has been made in the past decade, and identify the concrete steps that are needed to achieve the ends of the Declaration and improve realisation of indigenous rights in this country.
“We have brought together a powerful group of thought-leading speakers and facilitators, who will use their knowledge to guide this important conversation. We’re hopeful that at the end of the conference, we will be able to construct a framework for implementing the Declaration that will benefit our indigenous communities.
“The Commission remains focused on how we can encourage discussion around the Declaration and play a part in ensuring it is implemented fully for the benefit of future generations. The conference is an important part of that work.” Mr Rutherford says.