Passport Rift Undercut Obama Administation's
Rights Declaration Re-Think?
July 13, updated below -- With President Barack Obama's State
from the Iroquois nation and lacrosse team, Inner
City Press on Tuesday asked the US Mission to the United Nations for
a response to the Iroquois.
UN hook, which
it appears that the US Mission disputes, is Ambassador Susan Rice's
April 21, 2010 announcement of “the U.S. decision to review our
position regarding the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. President
Obama has promised greater engagement with federally recognized
tribal governments, and improved communication with Native American
tribes is a prominent theme in the Administration.” US State
Department video here.
with the Iroquois tribe seems to be a problem. The Iroquois seek to
travel to the UK and back for a tournament of lacrosse, a sport they
invented and gifted to the world. Until now, they have used their own
passports. But this time they have been told unless they take out US
passports, they will not be allowed to return:
last week, the team learned that the Obama administration declined to
honor the Haudenosaunee passports, and instead has asked the group to
travel on U.S. passports – an action that would violate the
sovereignty of the six Haudenosaunee (or Iroquois) Confederacy
nations – the Onondaga, Mohawk, Seneca, Oneida, Tuscarora and
Cayuga. Haudenosaunee citizens have been traveling internationally on
their own passports for more than 30 years, said Chief Oren Lyons.”
publication has pointed out, this seems to violate Article 13
of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within
the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any
country, including his own, and to return to his country.”
declined to give an on the record explanation, instead later pointing
to a Q&A and then “Question Taken” from the State Department
in Washington, none of which addressed how the rift related to the
Administration's re-thinking of not joining the UN Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous People.
Susan Rice, Iroquois passport rift and UN DRIP not shown
While it is to
many surprising that the Obama
administration would take a position viewed as less Native friendly
than was the case under the prior administration, once they did this
it is not surprising they'd argue it does not violate treaty
Is the requirement for members of the Iroquois lacrosse team to
carry U.S. passports a violation of treaty obligations with the
Requiring U.S. citizen tribal members to carry U.S. passports for
this air travel into and out of the United States is not a violation
of treaty obligations.
what does it
say about the Administration's re-think, announced in April by Susan
Rice, of the Bush administration's non-joining of the Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous People?
of July 14: The State Department on
July 14 reversed its position of
the previous day. Spokesman P.J. Crowley explained, "There was
flexibility there to grant this kind of one-time waiver given the
unique circumstances of this particular trip." Whether this
“improved communication with Native American tribes” is one-time
also is not yet known. Watch this site.
of July 15: and now it's the UK
which will not accept the "Iroquois passports"...
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