Over the past few months the Commission held the first two of several Forums on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) to develop all New Zealanders’ understanding and application of it.
The first forum held in September, which focused on the UNDRIP’s past, present and future relevance to New Zealand, was held at the Human Rights Commission’s Auckland Office. Former MP Dr Pita Sharples, President of The Maori Women’s Welfare League Prue Kapua and member of the UN permanent forum on Indigenous Issues Valmaine Toki each spoke at the event.
The second forum, hosted by Awa and the Commission, focused more broadly on how international reporting processes can be used to advance Maori human rights issues, gave an overview of upcoming reporting opportunities and talked to attendees about how they can prepare their own reports for submission.
Indigenous Rights Commissioner Karen Johansen said that holding these sorts of forums are an important way the Commission can promote awareness of the Declaration and develop peoples understanding of how it can be used to improve their outcomes in Aotearoa New Zealand.
“Māori continue to experience poorer outcomes in education, health, employment and particularly in justice, where Māori continue to be over-represented.
“With its focus on participation, non-discrimination and self-determination, the Declaration can be a powerful tool to help give effect to the Treaty of Waitangi and can also support work being done by many communities, agencies and organisations, to improve outcomes for Māori and the enjoyment by Māori of their human rights.”
The Commission will be holding a number of events in the lead up to the 10th anniversary of the UNDRIP next year. Those interested in attending should keep an eye out on the Commission’s facebook page or email [email protected] to join the mailing list.