United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and Maori children
5 September 2012
Human Rights expert Bill Hamilton told the Public Health Association’s annual conference at Pipitea Campus, Victoria University, Wellington today that The United Nations Declaration On The Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) affirms the needs and rights of indigenous children and should be used to advocate for the rights of Maori children.
“When it comes to indigenous children UNDRIP does a number of things,” Bill Hamilton from the Human Rights Commission told conference delegates.
“It affirms the right of indigenous people to be different and have their own and distinctive knowledge and cultural practices. It also recommends that indigenous communities retain the right to shared responsibility for the up-bringing, training, education and wellbeing of their children.
“When it comes to education UNDRIP very specifically supports indigenous educational models, and education in indigenous languages. It advocates the establishment of indigenous educational institutions.
“With the development of kohanga reo and kura kaupapa Maori we are well on our way to supporting and educating our tamariki in this way. Research is showing a steady increase in Maori educational achievement as a direct result of the evolution of Maori education.
“UNDRIP also outlines the responsibility of the state to protect indigenous children from economic exploitation, and be protected from all forms of violence. With rates of family violence high in Maori whanau, we need to work with government to develop strategies to keep our tamariki safe.
“Maori have played a leadership role in the development of UNDRIP right from the start, and we continue to do so by applying international human rights standards to challenging policy issues.
“The periodic reports we provide to the United Nations are a way not just to focus on inequalities but also on the strengths of indigenous solutions.”