Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Follow us on TWITTER

Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

Does Iroquois Passport Rift Undercut Obama Administation's UN Indigenous Rights Declaration Re-Think?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 13, updated below -- With President Barack Obama's State Department facing criticism 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.

  The 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.

But communication 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:

Since 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.”

As this same Native publication has pointed out, this seems to violate Article 13 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

(1) 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.”

The US Mission 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 obligations.

Question: Is the requirement for members of the Iroquois lacrosse team to carry U.S. passports a violation of treaty obligations with the Iroquois?

Answer: 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.

But 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?

Update 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.

Update of July 15: and now it's the UK which will not accept the "Iroquois passports"...

* * *

MassiveGood, Praised by UN's Ban, Bill Clinton & Douste-Blazy, Called MassiveScam, $525,000 Spike Lee Film Yields $200,000

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive