United Nations Indigenous Experts release report on New Zealand

United Nations Indigenous Experts release report on New Zealand

July 18, 2019

The Human Rights Commission welcomes the release today, of UN advice to support New Zealand’s implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  

The Advisory Note was produced by a UN expert body on Indigenous Peoples’ rights, known as the EMRIP, to help New Zealand develop an action plan to implement the UN Declaration.

The advice follows a visit to New Zealand by the UN experts in April, when they met with various organisations, experts and Government, and attended community hui in Auckland and Wellington. 

EMRIP member Laila Vars announced the release of the Advisory Note during the EMRIP’s annual meeting in Geneva this week.  

In making the announcement, Ms Vars noted that the willingness in New Zealand to engage in these discussions was an example of good practice internationally. Ms Vars also noted the EMRIP’s deep appreciation “for all the Māori organisations and representatives, individuals, mothers, youth, elders and teachers that we were able to speak to. We learned so much. ...  We sensed where the challenges lie.”

The Advisory Note covers issues such as: self-determination; participation and partnership; health, education and justice; and systemic challenges and barriers that need to be addressed.

The Commission’s Kaiwhakarite Hemi Pirihi welcomed the advice, saying, “The EMRIP’s Advisory Note shows that the EMRIP heard some strong and consistent themes during their visit. It provides useful observations on the issues we face and gives practical advice on what an action plan for the Declaration might involve in the New Zealand context.”  

“We strongly support the EMRIP’s Advice, including their recommendations on potential roles that the Commission could play in the development and monitoring of the action plan. We look forward to continued involvement in that work.”

The Advisory Note will be used as work is progressed on a national action plan for the UN Declaration. Further information about that process can be found on the Te Puni Kōkiri website here.