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Human Rights Day 2008: Petition on the
UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Update, 2 April 2009

A petition progress update, and transcripts of questions about the NZ government's position on the UN Declaration, are on this web page

Update, 10 December 2008

Thank you to everyone who collected signatures for the UN Declaration petition. Thirteen hundred and fifteen signatures were presented to parliament today, Human Rights Day - photos and speech notes of the presentation are available here.

Additional signatures on the petition will be presented next year, so please keep collecting over the summer; the final deadline for return of signatures is 15 April 2009.

December 2008

Below are three sections, with:

  • the details of the hand over of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples' petition to parliament on Human Rights Day, Wednesday, 10 December;
  • a reminder to send any forms with signatures for the petition to Peace Movement Aotearoa as soon as possible; and
  • where you can get more information about the UN Declaration and what you can do to support it.

  • Human Rights Day hand over to parliament
  • Come along and show your support for indigenous peoples' rights on Human Rights Day, Wednesday 10 December, when the petition is first presented to parliament - join Green Party MP Keith Locke and Maori Party MPs, including Rahui Katene, Hone Harawira and Te Ururoa Flavell, in parliament grounds at 1pm.

    Copies of the recently launched Aotearoa Indigenous Rights Trust DVD 'Maori and the United Nations' and the print version of Peace Movement Aotearoa's UN Declaration action alert will be available at the hand over.

  • Return of signatures on the petition
  • Please post any forms with signatures to Peace Movement Aotearoa, PO Box 9314, Wellington 6141, as soon as possible - petition forms must be in our PO Box by the morning of Tuesday, 9 December, to be included in the hand over on Wednesday. If you are able to collect any signatures over the next few days, the petition form is available at or from Peace Movement Aotearoa, email - and if you are collecting signatures over the weekend, please remember to fastpost the forms to us on Monday morning at the latest! Thank you.

    While there is a secondary deadline of 1 March 2009 for return of signatures, it is crucial that as many signatures as possible are included in Wednesday's hand over when the petition is first presented to parliament.

  • Information about the UN Declaration
  • "The Declaration is a visionary step towards addressing the human rights of indigenous peoples. It sets out a framework on which states can build or re-build their relationships with indigenous peoples. The result of more than two decades of negotiations, it provides a momentous opportunity for states and indigenous peoples to strengthen their relationships, promote reconciliation, and ensure that the past is not repeated. I encourage Member States and indigenous peoples to come together in a spirit of mutual respect, and make use of the Declaration as the living document it is so that it has a real and positive effect throughout the world." - Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General

    On 13 September 2007, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration provides minimum standards of protection for the rights and well-being of indigenous peoples around the world. Its adoption by the General Assembly was described by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as "a triumph for justice and human dignity", and by the General Assembly President as a "major step forward towards the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all".

    One hundred and forty three UN member states voted in favour of the Declaration, the NZ government was one of only four that voted against it. It is now one of only three governments that continue to oppose it - extraordinary behaviour by a government that describes itself as "a firm and principled defender of human rights", and is currently portraying itself as a "credible and committed" candidate for election to the UN Human Rights Council.

    For more information on the UN Declaration, and what you can do to support it, check out the action alert 'Act now to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples', published to mark the first anniversary of the UN Declaration's adoption and updated in November 2008.

    Peace Movement Aotearoa   |   Indigenous peoples' rights