Putting indigenous rights into action in Aotearoa

Putting indigenous rights into action in Aotearoa

April 5, 2019

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the United Nations in 2007 and supported by New Zealand in 2010. It sets out human rights standards that align with and support our own Treaty of Waitangi and has been described as “a blueprint for implementing Te Tiriti”.

But how is it being put into action? What more needs to be done?  The New Zealand Government has announced it will work with Iwi and Māori to develop a strategy or action plan for the Declaration.  What should this look like?  How do you want to be involved?

Visit by UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

A group of independent indigenous Experts have been invited to visit Aotearoa in April to assist. The three expert members of the UN body known as the ‘EMRIP’ have agreed to provide advice on developing an action plan or strategy to support the Declaration, and how this could be done through an inclusive process that is in line with global best practice. 

They want to hear from Māori communities and organisations: 

  • about how the Declaration is being implemented in Aotearoa
  • any policies, strategies or good practices already in place
  • what is needed from any action plan that is developed to advance the Declaration.  

The two hui will happen in Auckland and Wellington.

Auckland Hui
When: 10 am – 2 pm Tuesday 9 April 2019
Where: Hoani Waititi Marae, 451 West Coast Road, Oratia

Wellington Hui
When: 10am – 2pm, Friday 12 April 2019
Where: Pipitea Marae, 55-59 Thorndon Quay, Pipitea

At the conclusion of the hui (2.30pm) there will also be an information session for people interested in attending the EMRIP’s annual meeting, to be held from 15-19 July in Geneva.  

RSVP Please register to confirm your attendance and for catering purposes. Please RSVP to [email protected]  

An action plan for the Declaration 

New Zealand supported the Declaration in 2010.  There are a range of policies and strategies in place that are relevant, but no overall strategy or plan for how the rights in the Declaration will be achieved.  

The Minister for Māori Development, Hon. Nanaia Mahuta, has just announced that the government will develop a national action plan this year, saying: “The Declaration plan will identify specific actions that can make real progress on the aspirations of Māori as the tangata whenua of Aotearoa”.  Work on the Declaration plan will begin soon and will include engagement with Māori in the second half of 2019.

The EMRIP visit is to seek expert advice to inform that work, and to begin discussions with communities and local experts about how the Declaration can be put into action in a meaningful and effective way. 

These hui with the EMRIP members are so they can hear from Māori about what an action plan or national strategy needs to do and how it can best be developed. 

Further information about the EMRIP

The EMRIP is one of three UN expert bodies that focus specifically on the rights of Indigenous Peoples. It is made up of seven independent experts who are appointed by the Human Rights Council to provide advice and expertise on Indigenous Peoples’ rights.  

Three EMRIP members will be involved in the visit to New Zealand.  The visiting indigenous experts are: Ms Laila Vars (Norway), Ms Megan Davis (Australia) and Mr Edtami Mansayagan (Philippines).   

Country visits are a recent addition to the EMRIP’s advisory role, enabling Governments and Indigenous Peoples to seek specific guidance on how the Declaration can be applied in their particular national context.  New Zealand will be only the third country to receive a visit by the EMRIP.  

The EMRIP members have been invited to New Zealand by the Aotearoa Independent Monitoring Mechanism for the Declaration and the Human Rights Commission, and with the agreement of the New Zealand Government.

The purpose of the EMRIP’s visit is to: provide advice to support an action plan, including advice on the objectives, key focus areas and specific measures to implement the Declaration. They will also advise on the process for developing the plan or strategy, to ensure that this is done in a way that enables the participation of Māori whānau, hapū, iwi and organisations throughout.

During their visit, the EMRIP members will meet with various organisations and experts, hold two hui (in Auckland and Wellington) and will also meet with Government.

The visit is not to review or judge New Zealand’s progress so far, but is to assist the Government, Māori and others to strengthen implementation of the Declaration going forward.

Further information about the EMRIP can be found on their website here.

Contact

For further information about the hui or to discuss any accessibility, dietary or other requirements, please contact: Jessica ([email protected]; 0220130443) or Paula ([email protected]; 0220130488) at the Human Rights Commission.