Human Rights Day: Indigenous Rights
9 December 2008
The first signatures on the national petition calling on the government to support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will be presented to parliament at 1pm on Human Rights Day - Wednesday, 10 December.
Human Rights Day this year marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the first global statement expressing the inherent dignity and equality of all human beings. The theme of the year-long UN celebrations to mark the anniversary is 'Dignity and justice for all of us'.
"Unfortunately the New Zealand government appears to have little commitment to dignity and justice for all, as it remains one of only three governments around the world opposed to the most recent international human rights Declaration - the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples", Edwina Hughes, Peace Movement Aotearoa Coordinator, said today.
"This places NZ in a tiny minority of states that are ignoring their obligations under international law, and it makes a mockery of the government's claims to be a principled defender of human rights and a credible candidate for the UN Human Rights Council."
"We are calling on the new government to distance itself from the previous government's unprincipled position on the UN Declaration", Tracey Whare de Castro, Aotearoa Indigenous Rights Trust Trustee, added. "The Declaration sets minimum standards for the recognition and protection of the human rights of indigenous peoples around the world. What kind of message is the government sending if they continue to oppose it? That indigenous peoples cannot have the same human rights as others? Clearly that viewpoint is completely unacceptable."
Green Party MP Keith Locke, and Maori Party MPs Rahui Katene, Hone Harawira, and Te Ururoa Flavell will take part in the handover of the petition.
A copy of the recently launched Aotearoa Indigenous Rights Trust DVD 'Maori and the United Nations' will be presented to each of the MPs.