Pacific American News Journal
Mei-May 1996 Volume 2 Issue 5
Dear Native Hawaiian Friends:
I believe there has developed some confusion on the question
of where I might stand on the proposed "native Hawaiian
vote" that is currently being organized under the auspices
of the Hawaiian Sovereignty Elections Council (HSEC). On March 5,
1995 I sent a formal Opinion Letter to the Honorable Pu'uhonua
Kanahele for transmission to HSEC on the very narrow and
precisely defined question: "... whether or not the
elections to be supervised by the Hawaiian Sovereignty Elections
Council as described in H.B.976 would constitute a genuine
'plebiscite' in accordance with the generally recognized
standards of international law and practice." I answered
this question in the negative for the reasons indicated in the
Letter. This Letter was never intended to endorse H.B.976 or HSEC
to any extent.
It has since come to my attention that on or about February
12, 1996, HSEC has deleted the word "plebiscite" and
has substituted instead the words "native Hawaiian
vote." Certainly the new language is preferable to the old
language. But the substitution of the words "native Hawaiian
vote" for "plebiscite" directly raises the
question whether or not this "native Hawaiian vote" as
currently organized by HSEC will either effectuate, or else
abridge, the right of the Native Hawaiian People to
self-determination under international law. In Public Law Number
103-150 (the so-called Apology Resolution), Section 1(3) refers
expressly to "... the rights of Native Hawaiians to
self-determination ..." In addition, a preambular clause in
the Apology Resolution states quite clearly: "Whereas the
indigenous Hawaiian people never directly relinquished their
claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people or over their
national lands to the United States, either through their
monarchy or through a plebiscite or referendum ..."
It is obvious from this language that the United States
Government, Congress, and President have now officially conceded
that the Native Hawaiian People are entitled to "a
plebiscite or referendum" in order to exercise "the
rights of Native Hawaiians to self-determination." My March
9, 1995 Letter clearly states the four necessary preconditions
for the Native Hawaiian People to exercise their right of
self-determination under international law and practice. Quite
obviously, H.B.976 as originally drafted and also as currently
amended to refer to a "native Hawaiian vote" does not
fulfill any one of those four necessary preconditions.
Under these circumstances, you must understand that if you go
forward with this "native Hawaiian vote" as currently
organized by HSEC, there exists a very high probability that U.S.
colonial occupation officials in Hawaii and Washington DC,
together with their supporters and sympathizers, will publicly
proclaim that the HSEC "native Hawaiian vote"
constituted a valid exercise of the right to self-determination
by the Native Hawaiian People and therefore that the Native
Hawaiian People have no further right to "a plebiscite or
referendum" as required by international law and as
recognized by the Apology Resolution.
In other words, by going forward with HSEC's "native
Hawaiian vote," the odds are quite high that you will be
unjustly deprived of your right to "a plebiscite or
referendum" and thus ultimately deprived of your
"rights to self-determination" as required by
international law and as recognized by the Apology Resolution.
Therefore, I must respectfully recommend in the strongest
terms possible that you insist upon exercising your right to
self-determination only by means of a "plebiscite" as
defined by my March 9, 1995 Letter. The United States Government,
Congress and President have already conceded that you are
entitled to "a plebiscite or referendum" in order to
exercise your "rights to self-determination. "You must
never agree to or go along with anything less than this.
Otherwise, you risk losing your now internationally recognized
"inherent sovereignty as a people."
May God always be with you.
Yours very truly,
Francis A. Boyle
Professor of International Law
Send mail to email@example.com
with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 1996 Hale Pai Pacific American-News Journal
Last modified: February 28, 1998
Hale Pai Mei Page
Hale Pai Home Page