June 2nd, 2004

happy

Objectivity?

So today we had a group from the Human Rights Commission facilitating dialogue about the Treaty of Waitangi and its application in terms of human rights. The blurb we were given beforehand was very balanced, and brought up some interesting questions about things like the right to express one's culture vs the right to live without discrimination, etc.

Anyway, I went in thinking 'this could be interesting'. And, the first part was, although most of the discussion centred on the Treaty and people's views about that, rather than actual issues of human rights.

The second part, however, was a presentation on the history of the Treaty and the seabed and foreshore issue. So there's a group of 40 people, about 10 of whom know a little about the Treaty, a few who know a lot, and a bunch of immigrants from various countries who by their own admission know practically nothing about either.

The guy who did the presentation, sadly, made no attempt to be unbiased or objective. And these people sat there, lapping up opinion stated as fact, because they had nothing else to go on.

Is it okay for a representative of the Human Rights Commission to use a forum on human rights and the Treaty to indoctrinate people into a 'them' and 'us' mentality in order to forward their own agenda?
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