13 May 2015 UNITED NATIONS, GENEVA – The Alaska-Hawaii Alliance for Self-Determination is delighted by the request made by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the United States delegation at the Universal Periodic Review of the United States of America on Monday, 11 May 2015 at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
This simple intervention by Pakistan clearly indicates that the situations of Alaska and Hawaii are matters of international law… specifically pertaining to decolonization.
What was the question?
Pakistan simply asked the United States to: “Respond to the suggestion made by the Special Procedures in paragraph 69(n) of report A/68/284 regarding the cases of Alaska, Hawaii and the Dakotas.“ This was in reference to the 2013 report to the UN General Assembly by Dr. Alfred deZayas the UN Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, where he recommended the Decolonization Committee be receptive to communications from indigenous and non-represented peoples.
What does it mean?
Pakistan’s intervention recognizes that the situations of Alaska and Hawaii are within the context of international law as opposed to US domestic law. This recognition by a State makes it possible for Alaska and Hawaii to access, at the international level, procedures and mechanisms like the Decolonization Committee, to exercise their right to self-determination.
Position of Alaska and Hawaii
The peoples of both Alaska and Hawaii maintain that their countries were never lawfully annexed or otherwise acquired by the United States of America and that the US concealed this fact to mislead the UN General Assembly and subvert its decolonization process. The US falsified referenda in Alaska (1958) and Hawaii (1959) and, using this “manufactured consent,” misled the world into believing the people of Alaska and Hawaii chose to become “federal states” under the domestic laws of the United States.
Ambassador Ronald Barnes of Alaska stated:
“We are very happy with this development at the Universal Periodic Review for the United States of America (US UPR). The official document of the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) in paragraph 86 of the Summary issued for the USA UPR dialogue affirms that Alaska and Hawaii continue to claim their rights as states of peoples — as recognized sovereign nations. The Shadow Reports submitted by Alaska and Hawaii establish the historical standing of Alaska and Hawaii as sovereign nations. We call on the international community to support Alaska and Hawaii in our endeavour to access procedures under international law to peacefully pursue our right to self-determination in restoring our status as sovereign nations.”
Leon Siu from the Koani Foundation and Ke Aupuni o Hawaii added:
“At long last a UN member State is inquiring about what really happened in Alaska and Hawaii. This is a significant step toward unmasking the circumstances behind the illegal US occupation of the Hawaiian Islands. We hope that Pakistan’s inquiry will lead to support from other States for an official examination into the matter and affirm our right to exercise self-determination. The first matter of course would be for the US to comply with the laws of occupation and implement the necessary steps to end its foreign occupation of Hawaii.”
Sarah James, Chairperson of the Gwichʻin Steering Committee added, “Self-determination would mean that we, the people of the land, would be the decision-makers in issues like protecting our caribou birthing grounds from the ravages of oil and gas extractive industries. It would mean we can preserve our environment, our natural resources and our way of life. In no case may a peoples be deprived of their right to subsistence.”
What now?
The Alaska-Hawaii Alliance for Self-Determination will eagerly utilize the door opened by the intervention of Pakistan and invite the UN member States to respect Alaska and Hawaii as sovereign nations claiming their rights to self-determination and self-governance. We call on member States to get involved in persuading the US to act in accordance to the rule of international law to end the unlawful occupations of Alaska and Hawaii. We call on States to support Alaska and Hawaii in requesting the UN Decolonization Committee examine the United States’ actions regarding the irregular plebiscites of 1958 in Alaska and 1959 in Hawaii, and to take appropriate actions to address the violations. We call on UN member States to assist Alaska and Hawaii in activating the proper UN mechanisms for decolonization, de-occupation or whatever is deemed appropriate for peaceful and just resolution to the offenses committed.
What was the USA response?
The US UPR representative responded by ignoring the international context of Pakistan’s query—the fact that under international law, Alaskan native peoples and Hawaiian Kingdom subjects comprise the body politic of sovereign nations under occupation. The US response cited policies by their government to apply domestic “American Indian” policies to those the US government unilaterally identifies as “Native Hawaiian” or “Alaskan Native.” In essence, the US “answer” was entirely unacceptable and misleading. It deliberately avoided the international stature of Alaskans and Hawaiians and portrayed them as tribal wards of the state. Ironically, the US “answer” confirmed that their position on the matter of Alaska and Hawaii is classic colonialism — an insult to the dignity of peoples and nations and an affront to the principles of self-determination.