September 13, 2016
Indigenous Rights Declaration proving useful
It’s nine years today since the passing of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Some of those who have worked with the historic document will gather in Auckland tonight to discuss whether anything has changed.
Panelists include Sir Pita Sharples, who endorsed the declaration on behalf of the New Zealand Government in 2010, Valmaine Toki, who sits on the UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues, and treaty lawyer and Maori Women’s Welfare League president Prue Kapua.
Human Rights Commission Maori manager Hemi Pirihi says the declaration stated existing rights rather than created new ones, but it sets a useful benchmark.
"A lot of people that are putting through claims to the Treaty of Waitangi process are leveraging off the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People. They use it as a tool to help strengthen their arguments. We're seeing it being used in terms of application to policy, changes in the local and regional government, so it's about bringing together that body of knowledge and seeing how we can pull together an implementation plan," Mr Pirihi says.
The hui is at Human Rights Commission office on level 7 of the AIG building in Shortland St, and it’s open to the public.
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