Rights and Resurgence in Aotearoa New Zealand: A Case Study of The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ Role in Self-Determination

University essay from Lunds universitet/LUMID International Master programme in applied International Development and Management; Lunds universitet/Institutionen för kulturgeografi och ekonomisk geografi

Abstract: The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (The Declaration) has gained increasing attention as a tool for promoting indigenous rights. This study contributes to the discussion about its effectiveness by analysing the Declaration’s role in advancing indigenous peoples’ self-determination. A qualitative case study is conducted with Māori activists in New Zealand, using a rights-based and indigenous-based approach to form the analytical framework. Principle findings indicate that the power imbalance in New Zealand and weak responsiveness by government to Māori rights undermine their self-determination. The Declaration can help bridge this imbalance by providing norms and standards to hold government accountable. It is also found that no single approach or advocacy method is used alone, and Māori deftly combine the Declaration with indigenous methods of activism to enhance their self-determination.

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