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Sharing expertise to advance indigenous peoples' rights

Graphic: Commissioner Karen Johansen (left) at a community event

NHRIs from the Asia Pacific have made a number of significant contributions to a recent UN meeting on advancing the rights of indigenous peoples.

National human rights institutions (NHRIs) from the Asia Pacific region have made a number of significant contributions to a recent United Nations meeting on promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples.

The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) held its 8th session from 20-24 July 2015.

Commissioner Karen Johansen and Kaiwhakarite Matua Pereri Hathway from the New Zealand Human Rights Commission attended the gathering in Geneva.

Ms Johansen provided statements in response to EMRIP's study and advice on the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples with respect to their cultural heritage, as well as on the status of implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Other contributions from NHRIs included:

  • A video statement from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda, from the Australian Human Rights Commission, on indigenous peoples' rights in relation to business enterprise
  • A statement from the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia on follow up to the Declaration, including on implementation by the Government of the Commission's recommendation from the national inquiry on indigenous peoples' land rights
  • A statement from the ICC Working Group on Sustainable Development Goal, which was presented by the ICC Geneva Representative.

EMRIP Expert Albert Barume welcomed the important roles of NHRIs in protecting and promoting the rights of indigenous peoples and encouraged EMRIP to enhance its engagement with NHRIs.

This statement was supported by a number of other interventions, including the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, which formally recommended that the Human Rights Council request EMRIP to prepare a study on the ways and means in which NHRIs can aid in the protection and promotion of indigenous peoples' rights and in the practical implementation of the Declaration.

All the NHRI statements to EMRIP's 8th session are available on the ICC website.

The 2016 session of EMRIP will include a focus on business and indigenous peoples, as well as discussions on the promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous people with disabilities.

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Image credits

  1. Commissioner Karen Johansen (left) at a community event - New Zealand Human Rights Commission