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.
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.