Gubaaament minimising, diminishing indigenous rights

Wednesday, 4 July 2007, 4:46 pm
Press Release: The Maori Party
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:

'Government minimising and diminishing indigenous rights'

Hone Harawira, Maori Party spokesman for Foreign Affairs

Wednesday 4 July 2007

"I'm gutted but not surprised to hear that the Government is ready to
vote on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the
United Nations, without bothering to talk to indigenous people about
it first," said Hone Harawira, Maori Party spokesman for Foreign Affairs.

"And I'm not surprised by the deafening silence coming from Labour's
Maori Caucus either," said Harawira. "I mean, once they rolled over on
the Foreshore and Seabed, they were never going to stand up for Maori
rights again."

"Apparently government had thirteen meetings with Maori over a period
of six years, but none with hapu, and none with iwi either," said
Harawira. "For heaven's sake, they didn't even bother to ask the Maori
Party, and we hold four of the seven Maori seats."

"It took more than twenty years of travel, negotiation, hassle,
hustle, and horrendous cost from indigenous people all over the world
to get to a polite but acceptable declaration on minimum human rights
standards for indigenous people."

"And then last year, the indigenous world accepted yet another
'compromise' which was put to the United Nations Human Rights Council,
and adopted and supported widely."

"And what did our government do, this government that talks about
Maori potential?" asked Harawira. "They not only opposed it, they
demanded changes to even further minimise and diminish indigenous
rights," said Harawira.

"Maori deserve to know what's going on with indigenous rights,"
demanded Harawira. "The Africans are putting forward open amendments,
Canada has gone public with what it's doing, Mexico is pushing for the
adoption of last year's text, and New Zealand is out the back trying
to cut everything to pieces".

"We are very, very angry about all this. Maori, not just the Maori
Party, but every Maori has a right to know what this government is
doing about indigenous rights," said Harawira, "and Maori also have a
right to full participation in the discussion on international
statements on indigenous rights."

"Either this government starts coming up with some answers and some
action," said Harawira ominously, "or the Maori Party may send a
delegation to the United Nations to expose this government's
continuing hypocrisy on human rights for indigenous people."

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