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The Role of International Relations

in the Development of the
Independent and Sovereign Nation-State of Hawai'i


Patrick Gary Sickels

(Assistant to International Law Professor Francis A. Boyle)

Delivered to the 'Aha Kupuna (Council of Elders)

First Plenary Session of the Interim Government of the Nation of Hawai'i

Saturday, March 5, 1994
Ka'anapali Beach Hotel
Lahaina, Maui, Hawai'i

Thank you. I'd first like to thank the Ohana Council for the wonderful hospitality that they have shown me during my stay in Hawai'i. I would also like to extend an especially warm greeting to Bumpy Kanahele, Nathan Brown, Ben Kahikina and his family, and to everyone else who has made me feel so welcome in the state of Hawaii, the nation of Hawai'i, the people of Hawai'i, and in the spirit of Aloha, I thank you.

I also wish to extend greetings from Professor Boyle. He apologizes that he was not able to be here during this historic event, but he assures you that he is with you in spirit, and will help you if there is anything that you need toward your goal, towards an independent nation of Hawai'i.

First of all I'd like to go over some comments Professor Boyle made regarding the Public Law. I know that some of you may not have the packets yet, some of you may not have seen the video tape of Professor Boyle, or read the transcript. I strongly encourage all of you to at least view the video tape, and I know they're going to show a smaller version of it, but you should look at the whole thing. It covers the entire framework of independence, how it can be achieved, why it can be achieved. You should take it out, show it to others, others who have not seen it. Education is critical in this situation. People must know what the law means. People in the so-called State of Hawai'i must know what the law means. The law means the Kanaka Maoli people of Hawai'i have the right, and indeed have an obligation, to restore their government. It does not have to be a monarchy. It can be any sort of government that you choose, but you have the right to determine your own fate and self-determination. That is for you to decide. No one else has a right to tell you any of this. [applause]

I am speaking to you on the Public Law as a matter of international law. Nothing domestic, we're not worried about domestic law. It's a matter of black letter public international law. This law is an admission by the United States that it illegally overthrew your sovereign government and deprived you of your sovereign rights. And through the admissions of the Public Law, the United States has admitted that the so-called State of Hawai'i is nothing more than the illegal military arm of a colonial power. It has no sovereignty. It has no right to issue laws, regulations, or anything else, relating to the people or to the land that we are calling Hawai'i.

Now, to go further, Bumpy has given you an idea of what has gone on in the past. Nathan is talking to you about the present. I would like to speak to you about, take a small leap into the future. I would like to preface my comments by stating that it is not for me or anyone else to tell the Kanaka Maoli people what to do with their self-determination, their independence, and their sovereignty. The Kanaka Maoli people are sovereign, and you will determine all of these rights for yourselves. What I am here for is to provide an example of a framework by which you can establish your sovereignty, not only over the lands of Hawai'i, but in a way so that you are able to join the world community and the benefits of being a recognized member of the world. Furthermore, as I have mentioned before, my comments are based on international law, not any domestic laws. That the Kanaka Maoli may set up for themselves. What I am presenting is simply the framework under the law of nations, the higher law, the law by which the world and its people are governed.

Now the best place for us to begin in discussing this is to ask, What is the importance of Hawai'i, independent Hawai'i, of establishing diplomatic relations and relations with foreign nations? And I will give you four major reasons why the opening up of diplomatic relations with foreign states and entering into international agreements is to the benefit of the state and nation of Hawai'i. These are: the establishment of legitimacy; protection against the genocide that has been committed against you; regulation of foreign trade, investment, and finance in the lands of Hawai'i; and settlement of claims.

We begin with legitimacy. Whenever one is restoring or restructuring a nation, one of the most difficult things to establish to the world is that you have a legitimate right to exist. We know this. The Public Law says so. And under international law, we know this. But we have to show the rest of the world why this is. It's especially true with the Hawaiian Nation, who has been under, as I mentioned before, the illegal military occupation by the United States and the so-called State of Hawai'i. Bilateral recognition with other foreign nations is the first step to establishing Hawai'i as an independent nation, an independent country in the world. With the capacity to enter into agreements with foreign states, you will not only be establishing an unshakable claim to legitimacy, you will also be strengthening your ability to develop.

Now the ultimate resolution of bilateral recognition is the United Nations, and I believe that you should strive to become a full member of the United Nations, but I must caution you, the United Nations is not a cure-all for the problems that will beset you. You are going to be faced with having the United States extricate itself from the independent nation of Hawai'i. This is going to be a difficult process. The UN can assist, but it cannot solve. This is a problem for the Kanaka Maoli people to solve with negotiations with the United States, or whatever else they choose for their destiny. However, the United Nations has the great advantage of having very powerful symbolic effect. Those nations that are considered to be in the family of nations are said to be members of the United Nations. Upon achieving sufficient bilateral recognition, Hawai'i can make the ultimate jump to becoming a member state with the United Nations.

However, the United Nations is not the only international organization that you should strive to join. In fact, I would mention to you that I think there are other international organizations which are more valuable to join. The United Nations provides symbolic, symbolic legitimacy, symbolic aid, but there are other organizations which can provide for you substantive aid, aid in assisting you in the finance, development of your government and your people, aid in protection, security, and aid in your own development of whatever industries you choose to concentrate on.

Some of this, some of the joining of other international organizations, is based with the necessity of protection. You need to be very clear on this. I have spent a long time on the Bosnia-Herzegovina case. I've done a great deal of research on this, and the Kanaka Maoli people have been subjected to no less than, no less than the crime of genocide. The legal definition of such is met. You have been forced out of your homes. You have been dispersed. You have been forced into the least productive lands. You have had no right to control your destiny. All this and more constitutes genocide. This is not only under the international definition of genocide, but under the Proxmire Act, which is the United States' ratification of the Genocide Convention. So not only has the United States and the so-called State of Hawai'i committed genocide under international law, it has committed genocide against you under its own law, and can be held accountable as such. And also note, at the Indigenous People's Tribunal, it was established as a matter of fact that the Kanaka Maoli people shall become extinct for all intensive purposes within a generation or so.

International recognition and the development of security agreements with other states in the region can help provide the protection necessary to halt and reverse the genocide that has been practiced against your people for well over a hundred years. This goes far far before the start from the overthrow of the government, a legitimate government. The very fact that you are developing international relations with other governments makes it far more difficult for the United States to continue its process as a colonial power. International pressure can be brought to bear on the United States. The United States is not going to simply pack up and leave. It has to be a slow process of pressure, both with your negotiations and your decisions, but international states can help you, too. International states, there are many of them, in this region, in Latin America, in Africa, who have all been subjected to the same sort of genocide and other illegalities which have been practiced against you, and I believe that they would be willing to join you and assist you in your struggles for independence. Furthermore, you may be able to negotiate with other nations reciprocal defense agreements involving an exchange of military protection and training for your own individual military forces, however the Kupuna Council decides to create, or whatever government under a permanent government you decide to create.

This does not, of course, mean that you cannot start negotiating with the United States. You certainly should. But the key in this is that the United States needs to make agreements with you that are of an international nature. It can no longer be the United States simply imposing regulations, like the one dollar leases for the military base. They need to sign treaties with you, on your terms, for whether or not they can stay at those military bases.

Another point that international relations can assist you with is the ability for foreign trade, finance, and development. Any fledgling government, as will be created this weekend, always runs into financial difficulties. It is simply part of the territory. As you slowly absorb the functions of government, costs pile up. Until you have a revenue system developed, budgets may be a problem. Friendly foreign governments are often willing to extend grants, loans, or other forms of foreign assistance to newly formed independent governments. For example, just recently the Palestinians, the PLO, signed a peace treaty with Israel in Washington. Since that time, the Palestinians have been receiving grants of millions and millions of dollars, which they have been using to develop their own resources in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. I submit that you will be able to negotiate for these foreign subsidies as well. In addition you may also become eligible for World Bank or other international funds. Now, a word of caution. These institutions are not run for people. They are run for the benefit of the rich and wealthy powerful nations, and as a result they often issue usurious interest rates, so you must be careful, but small amounts to get you off the ground can be very useful when you're establishing yourself as an independent government.

Foreign funds, in addition, can assist with tourism and industrial development, and as an example of this, you'll note that the Kanaka Maoli people at this time, and in general, are capital poor, but labor rich. That's not only the people who are on the islands, but the people who have been dispersed to Alaska, California, across the world. The problem that you are having is that these foreign companies are coming in to your nation, bringing their own people in, to develop and take away your land. That has to be stopped. One of the ways to do it is to negotiate treaties for foreign capital which you can use to employ your own people, develop your resources in the way that you want to develop them. And such a situation is beneficial to both, because your people can come back. The nation of Hawai'i will eventually develop its own capital base and its own revenue, but for right now you can use this foreign capital, as long as you are the ones who are able to regulate it. And these funds can be used to bring back the three hundred thousand or so people who have been forced to leave their homes, their families, because they cannot afford to live here, their home. This foreign capital can be used to employ these people, at a wage sufficient for a prosperous standard of living, which can in turn help bring these dispersed people back home to Hawai'i.

Another point is you also have the opportunity to settle your claims. Now when speaking about international law, as I am today, the initial thoughts, whenever you're talking about settling claims, runs to such things as the International Court of Justice, the World Court, etcetera. And Nathan and I have been spending a great deal of time, and will continue to spend a great deal of time, setting up documents and what not to bring your claims to international tribunals, depending, of course, on whether or not this is the route that the government wishes, the independent government, wishes to follow.

But there is something else that you want to realize beyond international tribunals. On your establishment of status as a member of the international community, investment by foreigners into Hawai'i can be completely regulated by the nation, the independent nation of Hawai'i, since any actions that are taken on a sovereign country's land, the land here, your independent government's sovereign land, it is your laws which apply. You have the power to take these people into court. You have the power to create the systems for redress of grievances. You also have the power to go to other friendly nations and set up arbitration claims. These are all possibilities. Simply throwing them out for you to examine them, and to think about them. You may find that the best route to go is simply to knock out all foreign investment. That's for you to decide. Or you may decide that the best thing to do is talk to friendly neutral countries. However it goes for you, you understand that once you become an independent nation, you have the power to do this.

So, to summarize the four points that I made at this point, you must remember that international recognition at any level will never be a cure all for all the problems of the people of Hawai'i. I need to make that very clear. But international recognition can certainly provide the assistance you need to get the independent nation moving, and provide you with the necessary protection for survival.

For example, this is what happened to the Jews in Europe, in 1939 to 1945. One third of their population was destroyed by a single nation, not to mention what happened to them in other nations, such as the Soviet Union. Jews had no state. They had no independent government. Now the Jews have that, the state of Israel, which is now even recognized by the PLO. It is their source of pride, and it is their source of protection, and I submit that the international development of Hawai'i can protect and nurture the Kanaka Maoli people as Israel has done for the Jews.

The next questions are: how do you set this up, how do you develop international recognition? Well the first thing that you need is a seat of government, a provincial capital. The seat of government will be however tomorrow, tonight you decide to develop your government. There will need to be some sort of province made for that. Could be a city, could be a strip of land, it could be done independently, but something of this sort should be set up.

You will need the ability to negotiate. You will need some sort of foreign ministry, of such, that will have the ability to go and make treaties and other international agreements with the world. You will need to be able to ratify those treaties signed by your foreign ministry, and you'll need to set up a mechanism for that. And most importantly, you will need to establish that these treaties will be binding on you into perpetuity, whatever government form you take.

Now there are just a few other issues that I would like to address that relate to the international development of Hawai'i. These involve citizenship, dual nationality, and immigration. Of course you, when you set up your government, will have the right to determine who will be your citizens. That is clear. It will be up to the individual citizen to determine whether he or she wants to become a citizen of Hawai'i if you allow them to, remain a citizen of the United States or whatever other nation they're from, or become a dual national. You can probably develop some sort of system where the Kanaka Maoli automatically becomes citizens of Hawai'i, and then non-Kanaka Maoli can be naturalized by whatever process that you choose to develop. This is fully consistent with principals of customary international law, and it is customary for individual nations to develop the process of naturalization, individual regulation of this being the province of the naturalizing nation.

I'd also like to clear up one other point. I've been asked much in my short stay here whether or not people can actually become dual nationals, and some people have the impression it is impossible to be that, that you can only swear allegiance to one nation. That is absolutely untrue. As an example, Professor Boyle has fulfilled the citizenship requirements of both the United States and Ireland. He is a dual national of both. He has his passports issued in both nations. And he both the rights and responsibilities common to both nations. So long as you set up citizenship requirement that do not require an either or system, your people can choose to remain dual nationals, consistent with the rights and obligations that both nations provide.

Those people who are still living on Hawai'i and who do not accept Hawaiian citizenship can still retain whatever citizenship they had, but they will only have a status as being foreign citizens, foreign alien residents, or what have you, and they will be subject to your immigration and naturalization laws. The question of deportment of foreign resident aliens can be addressed by you however you want to set up the situation. That is for you to decide.

Again, as to immigration, you have all the authority to determine who can immigrate and become a resident alien. You will need to establish some sort of principals and policies and probably an international recognition service similar to that of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the INS, of the United States. There may be a way to facilitate development of this policy by working initially with the INS. That's totally up to you, but they may have the resources that you find useful, before you're able to set up your own system.

Another question that I've been asked while I've been here is whether or not there should be a plebiscite, a referendum, on the independence of Hawai'i. I suggest to you that this is not only unnecessary, but it is in fact counterproductive, and it is not required under international law. The Public Law, and the official findings of Congress, make it very clear as a matter of international law that the Hawaiian people have no less than the right to restore their sovereignty and independence. The scope and definition of your independence and government is up to you. No one else has the right to impose a system upon you. You do not need to establish this by a plebiscite or referendum. You have it inherently as being Kanaka Maoli people. It inheres in you. You have the sovereignty. That's been made quite clear by the Public Law. No one else has this. And also, I might want to point out, as an example of a plebiscite gone wrong was in Puerto Rico a few years ago. That plebiscite was bought. It was bought by rich land owning interests. And this is the common way that plebiscites are used to destroy the movements of people. Must be very careful in these situations. Plebiscites are usually used to take rights away from people, not to grant them, and you have no need to do that in this case. The Public Law provides all the foundation that you need to establish your own government.

And if I may I would just like to wrap up my comments by something that I saw in the paper a couple of days ago. It was a proposed land swap of Kapalama for Olomana. Who spoke for the Kanaka Maoli? State Representative Devon Nekova admitted he did not know whether this land swap would be good for the Kanaka Maoli people or not. The OHA admitted that Osoyi-conco was receiving overwhelmingly valuable property in terms of revenue generation. The land swap was endorsed by the Department of Land and Natural Resources. [boos] At the end of this article, Representative Arakaki asked this question: If you feel, as the Apology says, that these lands were stolen, then what right do we have to determine how these lands are going to be used? And the answer to Mr. Arakaki's question is: they have no right over the lands of Hawai'i!

Sovereignty and self-determination mean that the Kanaka Maoli people have the right to determine their own future, and the laws of their lands and their people. International recognition is one way that can help you achieve this sovereignty, and this can help you in the regulation of your lives and your lands as you see fit.

Thank you very much.

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