Testimony supporting reso referring to UN _ US congress by plaenui

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									Testimony in Support of SCR 138 & SR 98
Requesting the United States government and the United Nation to review the actions taken in 1959 relevant to Hawaii’s Statehood.

Senate Hawaiian Affairs Committee Hearing: Thursday 2:30 p.m. Conf. Room 016
Testimony from Poka Laenui Tel: 1(808)697-3045 plaenui@pixi.com

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Aloha Kakou: I heartily endorse these resolutions. Hawai`i had been an independent nation/state, recognized in the international community as such, prior to the U.S. invasion and overthrow in 1893. According to some interpretation of U.S. history, by 1898, we were incorporated into the United States as a territory, the governor appointed by the President of the United States. Our international status remained essentially that of a U.S. territory until 1946. In 1946, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 66 in which it identified those non-self governing territories which the United States, as the administering authority, was obligated to bring to self-governance. Hawai`i was one of several territories identified in which the U.S. became so obligated. Others were Panama Canal Zone, Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, Alaska and Puerto Rico. That resolution referenced the United Nations Charter, at Section 73 which called upon its membership which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount, and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by the present Charter, the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories, and, to this end: (a) to ensure, with due respect for the culture of the peoples concerned, their political, economic, social, and educational advancement, their just treatment, and their protection against abuses; (b) to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the peoples, and to assist them in the progressive development of their free political institutions, according to the particular circumstances of each territory and its peoples and their varying stages of advancement, . . . Since the adoption of the U.N. Charter in San Francisco in 1945, the United Nations had discussed and agreed upon the fact that when self-government is developed for a non-self governing people, the people must be given a range of choices of their relationship to the administering authority. That range includes, independence, free
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association or integration. That range of choices was reiterated in 1960 in the passage of General Assembly Resolution 1541 setting forth the Principles Which Should Guide Members in Determining Whether or not an Obligation Exists to Transmit the Information, Called for in Article 73(e) of the Charter of the United Nations. That resolution states in part: A Non-Self-Governing Territory can be said to have reached a full measure of self-government by: (a) Emergence as a sovereign independent State (b) Free association with an independent State; or (c) Integration with an independent State. Hand in hand with this GA Resolution 1541 was another resolution adopted the day before, on the 14th of December 1960, the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, which declared that all peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. These resolutions were expressions of prior U.N. resolutions on the right of peoples to self-determination. These were not new rights created in 1960 but were explications on the rights already identified in the U.N. Charter and which were in existence at that time, in 1945. I had the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with William F. Quinn, William Richardson, and Mahealani Kamau`u in a television program DIALOGUE which played over Hawai`i Educational Television, I believe in August of 1996. That discussion questioned the validity and wisdom of the 1959 Statehood vote. Mr. Quinn was the Governor for the territory of Hawai`i in 1959 and oversaw the vote. Mr. Richardson was the Chairperson of the Democratic Party at the time and subsequently became Lt. Governor and Chief Justice of the Hawai`i Supreme Court. Mahealani Kamau`u and I were both trying to graduate from high school. She is now the Executive Director of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation. I have become an advocate for Human Rights, spending some years as the international advocate for various world wide organizations, a lecturer on indigenous peoples’ rights internationally and locally, and have consulted as an expert in that area with the United Nations. The conversation was moderated by Professor Dan Boylan. In that conversation, former Governor Quinn reflected that he was simply unaware of the requirement that the people of Hawai`i was to be given three choices, independence, free association or integration. William Richardson himself had been uninformed of the requirement. It seems, almost no one in Hawai`i knew of these requirements.
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In 1959, there was in essence only one choice, that of integration. The question on the Statehood ballot asked only: Shall Hawaii immediately be admitted into the Union as a State? The Admissions Act,
Section 7(b)(1) Pub. Law 86-3, 73 Stat 4

A Yes or a No vote resulted in the same choice, one of integration within the United States, either as a State or as a territory of the United States. The question of free association or independence was never asked. The United States failed to meet the international standards for self-determination. Today, the illegalities of 1893 has come so much to light that both the U.S. Congress and the Hawai`i State Legislature readily admit to them. The consequent remedies for them, however, have not yet been resolved. The illegalities of 1959 have yet to reach the same state of awareness. Yet, that awareness is growing, locally, nationally, and internationally. But rather than leaving the question of consequences begging, as where the 1893 illegalities have been left, among the many informed people, there is a desire to deal with the matter forthrightly - that is by asking the United Nations, through its specialized committee created specifically to address the questions of non-self-governing territories, to provide assistance in working this matter out. The name of that committee is The Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. In Hawai`i, there is wide views on what should be the outcome as a result of these issues. Some prefer an independent nation/state. Others prefer a free association relationship with the United States. Still others prefer integration, the status quo or some other similar relationship. But before we can properly deal with even these issues, we need to first resolve the real range of choices we are entitled to. Referring the question to the broad wisdom of the United States Congress and the United Nations will assist us in answering that initial question. That special committee may be able to provide the technical guidance in leading us in the process. From that point, we can proceed with the discussion of Hawaiian sovereignty with a much more informed public. Mahalo a nui loa. Poka Laenui (Hayden F. Burgess)

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