Foreshore and seabed information   |   Indigenous Rights

NZ government put on notice at the United Nations

13 September 2004

Below is the Aotearoa Indigenous Rights Trust Intervention in response to the NZ government's tabling of a new paper on the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations in Geneva.

"My name is Tracey Whare, I am a Maori from Aotearoa New Zealand. I am here on behalf of my organisation, the Aotearoa Indigenous Rights Trust.

I have listened with interest to what the New Zealand government has said. Whilst the New Zealand government and others have tabled this paper and attempted to show themselves to be acting in good faith and being reasonable, I must express my concern regarding the following.

I am aware of no consultation undertaken with Maori regarding this proposal. Formal written requests have been made to the New Zealand government to disclose any new developments since the last intersessional working group. No information regarding this proposal was disclosed.

The New Zealand government is well aware of their obligation of consultation pursuant to the Treaty of Waitangi. That obligation has been seriously breached by the lack of consultation and dialogue with Maori regarding this proposal.

I wish to stress the importance of this lack of process and put the New Zealand government on notice that this matter will be brought to the attention of the Maori back home.

Thank you Mr Chair."

The formulation of a Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples first began in 1983 within the Working Group on Indigenous Populations. It took ten years for Indigenous representatives, government delegations and experts to formulate the text of what is known as the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In 1995, the Commission on Human Rights discussed the Draft Declaration adopted by the Working Group on Indigenous Populations and decided to establish the open-ended intersessional Working Group in order to continue to consider the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Those entitled to vote within this Working Group are the member governments of the Commission on Human Rights. Governments that are not members of the Commission, NGOs with consultative status and indigenous organisations with special accreditation have observer status.

Previous years have found that due to a lack of political will and commitment on the part of a small number of governments who managed to hinder any possibility of progress, all expectations have been frustrated. This lack of progress, on this the final year of the UN decade of indigenous peoples, means that there are now serious doubts over the future of the Declaration.

'Race', 'Privilege', and 'The Treaty'   |   Peace Movement Aotearoa