13 Mar 2017

US court ruling on Guam described as frustrating

7:12 am on 13 March 2017

A long-time campaigner for Guam's independence says a federal court ruling last week is frustrating, and misses the point of decolonisation.

The island's push for a plebiscite on its political status was dealt a setback when a judge ruled the law limiting a vote to native inhabitants was unconstitutional, violating the rights of non-native residents.

The case was brought to the US federal court on Guam by Arnold Davis, a white, non-native resident, who sued the government after he claimed his constitutional rights were violated by the limits.

But Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero, who is the co-chair of the Independence for Guam committee, said the vote should be limited to native inhabitants, as it was their rights that were taken away.

"A decolonisation vote is not a right that should be extended to all because it is a vote that is intended to restore a right that was taken away from a very specific group of people, and that is the human rights of sovereignty," she said.

Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero said the ruling stalls any progress towards a plebiscite, but the native community would not be giving up its fight.