Visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights
Visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights
Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, February 2011
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous People, Professor James Anaya, is visiting Aotearoa New Zealand from 18 to 23 July 2010. He is here at the invitation of the government to follow up on the visit of the previous Special Rapporteur, Dr Rodolfo Stavenhagen, who came in 2005 to assess the human rights situation of Maori following the enactment of the foreshore and seabed legislation.
Please scroll down this page for information and media releases about the visit; as well as background information on United Nations Special Rapporteurs, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples' Rights, visits by United Nations Special Procedures, and links to recent reports by other UN human rights bodies which comment on the New Zealand government's performance in relation to indigenous peoples' rights and the foreshore and seabed legislation.
Information and media releases
About UN Special Rapporteurs
'Special Procedures' is the general name given to the mechanisms that were initially established by the Commission on Human Rights - then assumed by the Human Rights Council following its establishment in 2006 - to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world.
Special Procedures' mandates are established and defined by the resolution which created them, and usually call on mandate holders to examine, monitor, advise and publicly report on human rights situations in specific countries or territories, known as country mandates, or on major phenomena of human rights violations worldwide, known as thematic mandates. There are currently 31 thematic and 8 country mandates.
Special Procedures are independent experts, appointed because of their particular knowledge of human rights. Special Procedures can be either an individual (with the title of Special Rapporteur, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, or Independent Expert) or a Working Group of experts usually composed of five members (one from each UN region). Mandate-holders serve in their personal capacity, and do not receive salaries or any other financial compensation for their work. More information about Special Procedures is available here.
About the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples' Rights
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous People (the Special Rapporteur) is one of the thematic Special Procedures. The mandate of the Special Rapporteur was initially established by the Commission of Human Rights in 2001, renewed in 2004, and again in 2007 by a resolution of the Human Rights Council.
The work of the Special Rapporteur is based on a normative framework of international human rights instruments, including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The activities of the Special Rapporteur include: promoting good practices in relation to indigenous peoples and their rights; reporting on the human rights situations of indigenous peoples in specific countries; addressing specific cases of alleged violations of the rights of indigenous peoples through communications with governments and others; thematic studies on topics of special importance regarding the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples; follow-up on the recommendations included in his or his predecessor’s reports; reporting annually on his activities to the Human Rights Council; and attending and contributing to the annual meetings of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. More information about the Special Rapporteur is available here.
Professor Anaya is the James J. Lenoir Professor of Human Rights Law and Policy at the James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona, where he teaches and writes on international human rights, indigenous peoples' rights, and constitutional law. Professor Anaya is considered one of the world's most influential legal scholars and practitioners in indigenous peoples' rights under international law. He participated in the negotiations on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and has acted for indigenous peoples in cases resulting in landmark decisions, such as Awas Tingni v. Nicaragua before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. His publications include the widely acclaimed books Indigenous Peoples in International Law (1996, 2004) and International Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples (2009). More information about Professor Anaya is available here.
Visits by United Nations Special Procedures
There were, however, earlier official visits by UN human rights experts, for example, Erica-Irene Daes, Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations in 1992, and Miguel Alfonso Martínez, Special Rapporteur of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities on Treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements between States and indigenous populations in 1997.
Recent reports by other UN human rights bodies