Implementing the Declaration will strengthen participation of Indigenous peoples
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda has joined with Indigenous People’s Organisations from 15 countries in the Asia Pacific Region in a bid to breathe life into the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Meeting in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) to discuss their role in the implementation of the Declaration, the meeting of representatives from National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) adopted a resolution today which recognised the Declaration as a comprehensive statement of rights and responsibilities.
“The meeting agreed that recognising the fact that everyone has human rights and that Indigenous Peoples in the Asia Pacific region have not always been able to realise their human rights, must remain a top line priority,” Commissioner Gooda said.
“We acknowledged the sad reality that Indigenous Peoples in the region continue to have their basic human rights and fundamental freedoms violated.
“Importantly, the meeting agreed on the need for urgent action to protect, respect, promote and fulfill the inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples, especially in relation to the impact of climate change on the human rights of Indigenous Peoples,” Commissioner Gooda said.
The historic Tāmaki Makaurau meeting also threw its weight behind the central role of NHRIs in advocating for the protection, promotion and fulfilment of Indigenous Peoples rights and agreed to encourage the United Nations to support and promote the participation of NHRIs in international forums.
“The meeting unanimously welcomed the fact that Indigenous Peoples are organising themselves and actively using the Declaration in advocating for their inherent rights,” Commissioner Gooda said.
“The call has gone out to encourage States to ratify all UN human rights conventions to assist the implementation of the Declaration in the Asia-Pacific region.
“One of the main themes in the Declaration is the importance of resetting relationships between Indigenous Peoples, the broader community and governments.
“We have in this Declaration, both internationally and in Australia, the key signposts we need to follow to create an Australia where the rights of Indigenous Peoples and our cultural differences are valued, protected and seen as a positive part of Australian culture and society.
“The Declaration is a document for our time – a living, breathing document that can ultimately only lead to more respect, improved well being and greater participation of Indigenous Peoples in Australian society,” he said.
The Australian Human Rights Commission has produced materials to promote the Declaration and how it can be used in everyday life. The materials, including a community guide to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and a poster will be launched on Monday, 13 December at the Commission offices in Sydney from 5.30pm– 7.30pm.