Monday, November 16, 2009

Self-rule opportunities missed

Self-rule opportunities missed

Monday, 16 November 2009 04:21
by Jude Lizama | Variety News Staff

EVOLVING in an ever changing post-9/11 political arena will be the best course of action for United States territories seeking political self determination, United Nations advisor, Dr. Carlyle Corbin told attendees during a recently held University of Guam public forum.

Corbin stated that the issue of commonwealth brought about by the government of Guam during the 1990s was complimented with great promise.

“The analysis that was done at that time was very critical. The CNMI covenant was in place for a few years prior to that and served as a very good basis for the attainment of certain autonomous powers,” he said, adding that “Had the Guam commonwealth been allowed to go forth, then at this point, 20 years later, if there is a definition of what is achievable, the territory would have evolved constitutionally and politically far more.”

The UN advisor also stated that most requests made by U.S. territories for further autonomy are often blocked by bureaucrats.

“In fact, we have not moved forward and there has been some degree of stagnation in terms of the political development,” he said.

Corbin added that all of the U.S. territories have done many things internally to try and address the issue of self determination, and break through the parameters of self determination status to determine what is possible and what is not. However, Corbin also cited that fact that prior efforts were also undertaken in a “pre-9/11” scenario. Additionally, the U.N. advisor stated that there is now a different view on “how much autonomy is given within the current arrangement.”

“All of these things are now continually evolving and the territories have to continue to follow, determine, and make their case, both in the U.S. Congressional arena and in the international arena as well.”

With to regards to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Corbin said that the resolution was adopted by consensus.

“It is not something that countries sign on to, necessarily,” he explained. “As a consensus, all countries around the world have agreed and supported with the exception of some who have made reservations on specific parts or specific paragraphs of the text.”

Corbin noted that there were “decades worth of favorable decisions in the United Nations” that were not implemented.

“If many of those were implemented, there would probably be fewer territories on the United Nations’ list,” he said. “Certainly, if those recommendations that were made by the United Nations with respect to Guam, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands have been implemented, then none of us would be having this discussion today. We would be having another discussion.”

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