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Home> Self Determination: International Law & Practice > Killing for Self Determination
Self Determination: International Law & Practice
Fourth World Eye - An On Line Newsletter
The brand of human rights the NATO Alliance is now defending in Yugoslavia is not guaranteed for Fourth World peoples. Indeed, as their armies enter and occupy the province of Kosovo, the states of Britain, United States of America and France are actively pursuing a course of action in the United Nations and in regional organizations aimed at denying the right of self-determination to hundreds of millions of Fourth World peoples...
...Self-determination is a right guaranteed under international law to all peoples seeking to freely choose their social, economic, political and cultural future without external interference. It is a human right written into the United Nations Charter, it is a guarantee written into human rights conventions and treaties, and it is a right for which the United States and other European states have committed their lives and treasures. Simply stated, the principle as written into the Convention on Civil and Political Rights ratified by the United States in 1992 asserts:
The United States government agreed to the principle slightly modified as it appeared in the Helsinki Act of 1975.
The principle is unambiguous in its application to peoples having the collective right to freely choose their own future. The right to choose is what the United States and other states like France, Britain and Canada seek to deny Fourth World peoples.
The United States President Woodrow Wilson gave birth to this self-evident principle of self-determination in international literature in 1919 as a part of his famous 14 Point Plan designed to settle World War I. Recognition of the right of all peoples to freely choose how they live applied to the peoples formerly controlled under the Ottoman Empire-the Hungarians, Croatians, Slovenians, Serbians, Montenegrins, as well as the Bosnians. The principle stood for freedom for the Moravians and Bohemians as well as the Slovaks. The self-determination principle stood for the right to choose without external influences for the peoples of Moldova too.
Curiously, the United States Department of State (and specifically the Office of Legal Affairs) has been the most vigorous manipulator of decisions in multi-lateral organizations to limit the social, economic and political scope of self-determination as it might be applied to indigenous peoples. The United States has actively worked to achieve a drastic narrowing of the term's meaning in the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the International Labour Organization, and in the Organization of American States. The U.S. Department of State's success is written in the rewritten version of the International Labour Organization's 1957 Convention "tribal and semi tribal populations" in the form of the ILO's 1989 Convention 169. It is written in the Commission on Human Rights stalled consideration of the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
...The U.S. State Department's Legal Affairs Office has a strangle-hold over the U.S. government's foreign policy when it comes to Fourth World peoples. That office virtually controls whether international bodies accept or reject new laws guaranteeing their right to self-determination....
Fourth World nations have taken a confused approach to dealing with this dramatic move in international organizations.
This is especially true of Indian nations, Alaskan Native communities and the Hawaiians. Indian nations in particular have been utterly absent from international meetings concerning the subject of self-determination over the last twenty years. They have been informed, but remain oblivious to the international decisions aimed at denying their right of self-determination. Fourth World nations in the South Pacific, Melanesia, Africa, and South America have been most active, but they lack the influence on U.S. policy that American Indian nations have, but fail to use...