The Human Rights Commission says International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is a timely reminder that more needs to be done by New Zealand to ensure the participation and representation of Maori New Zealanders.
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which has been supported by New Zealand since 2010, still remains largely invisible in law, policy and practice.
Indigenous Rights Commissioner, Karen Johansen says that New Zealanders should observe the day, but also look at how we are going to ensure Māori New Zealanders enjoy the same human rights as others.
“International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is about promoting and protecting the rights of the world’s indigenous population and as a nation we should be proud of our human rights record and the positive aspects of our Treaty history.
“However, Māori continue to experience poorer outcomes in education, health, employment and particularly in justice, where Māori continue to be over-represented.
“The principle of participation is at the heart of both UNDRIP and the Treaty of Waitangi, however a lack of participation has been at the heart of many Maori concerns relating to recent Government actions around the Te Ture Whenua Reform Bill, the TPPA and the Kermadec Sanctuary Establishment Bill.
“Improving participation processes and putting meaningful partnership into action, could help to address many of the issues currently facing Aotearoa and UNDRIP can be a powerful tool to help achieve that.”
The Commission appreciates more needs to be done to help people understand how to use UNDRIP to the greatest effect and will be undertaking a programme of activities and events to promote awareness of the Declaration.
“As part of this programme, we will also be looking at how well indigenous rights are being realised in Aotearoa New Zealand and will be seeking people’s views as we develop our monitoring report in 2017,”
“We want to encourage discussion about indigenous rights and what needs to happen to give effect to them. Importantly, we want to empower Māori to utilise UNDRIP,” Ms Johansen says.
You can watch the Human Rights Commission's Interventions at EMRIP 2016 on the Right to Health and Indigenous Peoples, and the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples below: