Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt was invited to speak to members of the Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom at their hui in Kirikiriroa, Hamilton yesterday.
At the hui, which included prayers, informal discussions and formal speeches, Mr Hunt explained that human rights are not only about rights, they are also about building respectful relationships and taking seriously our responsibilities to each other.
"I attended the hui to speak, listen and discuss the experiences raised by the Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom, acknowledging that these experiences are part of a wider conversation about the importance of social inclusion and belonging in Aotearoa," he said.
He added, “the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch massacres devotes an entire volume to the critical importance of social inclusion, the Human Rights Commission takes seriously the Inquiry’s report and recommendations.”
Addressing over 150 members and their families, Mr Hunt described his past work advocating for human rights internationally and explained the role of the Human Rights Commission.
Mr Hunt observed that the Human Rights Commission has a statutory duty to educate all New Zealanders about relationships, responsibilities and rights, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
He said, “I commended the Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom for their instant response to the massacres in Christchurch on 15 March 2019. They immediately went to the mosque in Kirikiriroa to protect it from possible attack and to demonstrate solidarity. Later, they brought flowers to the mosque to show their respect for the Muslim community. In this way, they affirmed the importance of thriving relationships, honouring responsibilities and advancing all rights for everyone.”
“I look forward to the Human Rights Commission further engaging with the Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom in the future, in an honest and constructive spirit.”