June 24, 2023
For the past week I have been in Switzerland, first in Zürich to speak at an event, then Bern, to visit the Swiss Federal Archives and now in Geneva to attend the 53rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council.
The United Nations has several headquarters: the main one in New York wih which most people are familiar; the much larger one is in Geneva, the location of the Human Rights mechanisms as well as the World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization, the World Intellectual Properties Organization, the International Labor Organization and numerous others. Then there are headquarters in Vienna and in Nairobi.
I found out something interesting. This year, Switzerland is celebrating the 175th anniversary of its 1848 Constitution, which is the official start of the current, modern-day Swiss Confederation. That means the Hawaiian Kingdom became a constitutional government eight years before Switzerland did, and the Hawaiian Kingdom was officially recognized as a modern sovereign state by the Anglo-Franco Proclamation of 1843, five years before Switzerland.
In talking about the Hawaiian Kingdom as a recognized sovereign state, we often refer to the treaties that our Kingdom had with the principal nations of the world, particularly those of Europe.
The reason I went to the city of Bern, which is the seat of the Swiss government, was to view the documents pertaining to the Swiss-Hawaiian Kingdom Treaty of 1864. It’s one thing to cite that we have a treaty and to show an image of the treaty. It is quite another thing to see the thick file of original, hand-written documents pertaining to the drafting, correspondence, discussions and ratification of the treaty. The huge files of supporting materials leading up to the treaty from the Swiss side are all there.
It is profoundly validating to know there are real documents from real people from a real country who made a real treaty with the real Hawaiian Kingdom. And that there are corresponding treaty-documents like these in the archives of other European capitals. Not only that, if one were to dig further, one would find trade records and diplomatic communications from the 137 Hawaiian Kingdom embassies and consulates from all over the world.
But, what is not in the Swiss Confederation file on the Hawaiian Kingdom Treaty is a document of notification terminating the treaty. And it would be safe to say, no such terminating document exists in the possession of any of our other treaty partners’ archives.
When we say the Hawaiian Kingdom Treaties were never terminated, abrogated, repealed, revoked, rescinded, retracted, annulled, abolished… it’s really true. The Hawaiian Kingdom actually exists in the indelible records of its treaties.
And the one treaty upon which the United States stakes it claim to Hawaii… does not exist! The so-called, “Treaty of Annexation”.
“Love of country is deep-seated in the breast of every Hawaiian, whatever his station.” — Queen Liliʻuokalani
Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono. The sovereignty (life) of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.
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