Indigenous rights workshop first of its kind

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Indigenous leaders, international experts and national human rights institutions (NHRIs) from more than 15 countries are in Auckland this week to attend a workshop on indigenous rights.

Organised by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and hosted by the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, the four-day workshop aims to help develop guidelines to assist governments and communities share knowledge and advance indigenous rights.

Participants will also contribute to ideas and suggestions for a comprehensive toolkit of resources for NHRIs, which will be developed by the Asia Pacific Forum and the OHCHR.

This is particularly timely for New Zealand, given the Governments support of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples earlier this year, says Bill Hamilton of the Human Rights Commission.

TheDeclaration was adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2007, after nearly 20 years of negotiations involving Indigenous peoples and governments from around the world.

The Declaration aims to foster a new relationship between governments and Indigenous peoples, based on partnership and mutual respect.

The workshop will address key human rights covered in the Declaration; such as self-determination; education, employment; culture; resources; and the principle of free, prior and informed consent.

The workshop begins with a powhiri at Orakei Marae on Tuesday 30 November.

The Hon Tariana Turia will provide an opening address on Wednesday 1 December.

Media enquiries: Gilbert Wong 09 306 2660, or Kat Ryan 09 375 8616.

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