New Zealand and Australia are accused of undermining their positions on human rights in the Pacific by not signing up to the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights.
The Suva based NGO, the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre, or PCRC, describes the agreement as a moral document that can be used as a strong advocacy tool in the effort to protect indigenous rights.
New Zealand and Australia were two of the four nations that voted against the UN declaration saying the non binding agreement clashed with local legislation.
A spokesperson for the PCRC, Ema Tagicakibau, says the two nations have reduced their standing in the region:
“Both Australia and New Zealand governments who are very strong advocates on human rights in the region, should really practice what they preach and start with the attitudes and the policies that they have on the indigenous peoples in their own countries, because then, we can then, from other parts of the Pacific, know that they have practiced what they preach in their own countries and we can then believe them when they so to the rest of us.”
A spokesperson for the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre, Ema Tagicakibau