the Sultanate policy

Brief information about the Sultanate policy

The Royal Hashemite Sultanate of Sulu & Sabah

We are the 35th Reigning Sultan of Sulu & Sabah being the last son of HM Sultan Esmail E. Kiram I (Sultan of Sulu & Sabah 1947 to 1973). Our policies are:

1. Peace and order and peaceful co-existence with others;

2. To unite our people in the Sultanate dominions of Zamboanga peninsula, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Palaw…an and our Sultanate dominion of Sabah — now occupied without consent by Malaysia as from 1963 to this day;

3. To recover from Malaysia our land of Sabah, the land of the Tausugs, that our people owned since 1658 but Malaysia unlawfully occupied Sabah in 1963 to this day.

4. It is our desired aim to recover Sabah from Malaysia so that from its GDP of over 50 billion US dollars per year we can provide free hospitals and medicines, free medical clinics and medicines in rural areas, free education, free community housing to the poor, orphans, elderly and the aged, schools, colleges, universities, roads, electricity, drinking water, roads, airports, seaports, telecommunications, industry and jobs to our people in Sulu and Sabah and for Filipinos.

5. To pursue, develop and maintain our unequivocal support for the full implementation of the 1996 Peace Agreement signed by the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) to enshrine a persistent and lasting peace and prosperity in Mindanao and the Philippines.

6. To continue to forge a continuous and everlasting relations with the MNLF and install lasting peace and prosperity in Mindanao, with the vital assistance of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) now numbering over 350,000 troops, together with other peace loving peoples of the world and to achieve our noble aim of self-determination through a genuine autonomy status (within the Philippines), similar to the Aland Suomi Finland autonomy enjoyed since 1921 of a minority group of Alanders numbering only over 65,000 in a Finnish population of over 4 million. Our people the Tausugs number over 10 million people in Sulu and Sabah today.

These Aland Suomi inalienable autonomy rights were enshrined and guaranteed by the Constitution of Finland and the League of Nations (forerunner of the United Nations) since 1921, and they are:

a) Own parliament and own government;

b) Own flag;

c) Own coat of arms as a region of Finland used on Aland Suomi passport along with the arms or symbol of Finland below;

d) Own passport;

e) Own language and protection use of own language and customs;

f) Member of the Nordic Council (association of Scandinavian or Nordic nations) similar to regional Association of Southeast Asian Nations;

g) Own police force; h) Regional citizenship;

i) Close cooperation with Finland, Nordic Council and others;

j) Veto on any international agreement of Finland that affects the welfare of the Aland Suomi people;

This Mission and our rights on self-rule of our people when achieved by us will only enhance, foster and strongly develop long lasting peace and order and prosperity for our people in Sabah, in Mindanao and the Southeast Asian region. We urge you to support us achieve these objects and aims. Below the text of a statement from the Aland Suomi Parliament:

The example of Aland: autonomy as a minority protector By Susanne Eriksson, Senior Legal Adviser of the Aland Parliament The autonomy enjoyed by Aland is not only of interest to the local population. Over the past few years, the island has attracted growing international attention as an example of how to successfully secure the position of a minority. The words “war” and “armed conflict” bring to mind classic warfare between nations, but in today’s world such clashes are becoming more of an exception than a rule. Accordingly, most of the approximately 40 armed conflicts currently being fought around the world are internal struggles in countries with some sort of minority problem.

Such problems cannot be solved by creating new small independent states ad infinitum. Looking for alternatives to nation-building, countries are increasingly turning their eyes towards Åland, whose autonomy is perceived as a compromise between independence and total integration. Over the past few decades, Aland has attracted growing international interest. A large number of politicians, reporters and researchers from all over the world have studied Åland’s autonomy as a potential solution to conflicts.

The list of regions and minorities that have led people to take an interest in Åland is long: Israel-Palestine, Nagorno-Karabach, Northern Ireland, Georgia, Kosovo, Sri Lanka, Aceh in Indonesia, Kashmir between India and Pakistan, Zanzibar, and East Timor. A number of the parties have examined Aland’s model in an attempt to avert a crisis, while others are trying to find a solution to a conflict that has already broken out. How, then, can Aland really serve as an example? Writing a functional constitution is hard, but it is not impossible.

There are many experts on international and constitutional law who are capable of framing regulations that protect the rights of minorities, but the real problem is often to make them work in practice. The colours and shape of the Aland official tourist logo are based on the Åland flag.

There is no doubt that Åland has a functioning system of autonomy based not only on a good constitution but also on workable reality. During numerous visits by representatives of various minorities, it has been interesting to recall how a minority that initially refused to accept any form of self-rule has by now, almost 85 years later, built up a well-functioning society with the help of such autonomy. It is a society that enjoys amiable relations both with its old and new motherland.

What is more, Åland is a prime example of how autonomy can be extended over time. Every problem does not have to be solved at once as self-government can be expanded at an appropriate time. There is full awareness in Aland that no single solution can ever be universally applied to other problems, which is why Alanders would prefer to speak of Aland as an example rather than a model. They have no ambitions of imposing their solution on anybody, nor do they have the power to do so. In fact, the absence of any such power may be a blessing, just like the fact that nobody can suspect Åland of pursuing any self-interest in this matter. The preconditions for autonomy in Aland have been and remain favourable.

Aside from geographically well-defined boundaries and linguistic homogeneity, Åland has a sound economy that has been growing at a brisk pace. Moreover, Finland is a democratic country based on the rule of law and controversy over Åland’s affiliation has never assumed any violent forms circumstances that do not exist in many of today’s conflict areas. That said, it was never self-evident that Aland would be a success story. After all, the odds are not the best for autonomy that is imposed on people against their will, as was the case with Aland.

However, Aland’s example shows that a solution with which all the parties were initially dissatisfied can be successful in the long term. Numerous studies on Aland’s political status have shown that the range of issues attracting interest were wide-ranging indeed.

Here are some examples:

1. Autonomy secured by the Finnish Constitution. The Act on the Autonomy of Aland provides for a division of political power between Aland and the rest of Finland. Laws affecting Aland’s status are passed following the procedure prescribed for the enactment of constitutional legislation subject to adoption by the Parliament of Aland (lagtinget), meaning that the island’s autonomy enjoys very strong legal protection. In practice, this means that Aland can veto any changes to the division of power between Aland and the central government of Finland.

2. Origin of self-government in Aland. The fact that the Aland issue was settled by an international resolution arouses a lot of interest. The decision of the League of Nations was a compromise that took into consideration not only the two countries involved but also the interests of the local population and, above all, the need to protect their language.

3. International guarantees. As a result of the involvement of the League of Nations in the establishment of self-rule, Aland secured international guarantees for its language and local customs. Consequently, the preservation of the Swedish language is both a national and international matter.

4. Language regulations. Aland is the only region in Finland with only one official language, Swedish, whereas the rest of the country is bilingual. The regulations concerning the language used in administration and education attract a lot of interest.

5. Division of power. The fact that legislative powers are divided between the central government and Aland, and not delegated, is of interest. Many people have studied the question of what legislative powers can be assigned to self-governing bodies and what areas are of such a nature that they apply to the country as a whole.

6. Regional citizenship. Regional citizenship, which is a precondition for land ownership and transaction of business, is reserved exclusively for persons permanently residing in Aland. Additionally, regional citizenship is a prerequisite for eligibility to vote in local parliamentary elections.

7. Law and order. The fact that most members of the police force come from Aland has created a degree of interest in places where it is important that the police enjoy the confidence of the local population.

8. The Aland Delegation. The role of the Åland Delegation as an intermediary between the central government and Åland continues to attract interest.

9. Symbols. The flag of Aland is often of great interest to people, just like Aland’s passport, which has the words “Suomi”, “Finland”, and “Aland” printed on the cover in equal size.

10. Influence over international agreements. Even though foreign policy is in the domain of the central government, Aland is not without influence in this area. Under the Act on the Autonomy of Aland, the consent of the Parliament of Aland is required for international agreements affecting the inherent powers of the province; for instance, this provision meant that the Parliament had to take a position on whether to join the European Union along with Finland in 1995.

11. Participation in Nordic cooperation. Nordic cooperation is a noteworthy form of cross-border cooperation which entitles the Nordic self-governing regions to participate more or less on the same terms as sovereign states.

12. Pragmatism. The people of Aland have always been down-to-earth with little interest in theoretical speculation. For one thing, they have never bothered to discuss whether they should be perceived as a minority, a matter that has generated lively debate and disagreement elsewhere. Instead, the people of Åland have focused on tangible regulations that secure their interests. Åland has had and will continue to have the resources to respond to the interest that its political status generates world-wide.

Over the years, Alanders have hosted a large number of seminars and received lecturers and visitors from all over the world wishing to learn more about the Aland example. This helpful openness seems certain to remain part of the character of the province. Alanders have realised that it is of great importance for the credibility of the Aland example that representatives of both the majority and minority of the local population have declared that they are pleased with the solution.

The central government is also interested in providing information about the Aland solution in situations where it may be of relevance. To this end, the Aland Government and the State of Finland have jointly appointed a contact group under the auspices of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The province of Aland, also known as the Aland Islands, has a special status in Finland as a demilitarized, self-governing region. The basis for this rests in the Treaty of Paris that ended the Crimean War in 1856. Their demilitarized, neutral status was confirmed and extended in subsequent treaties, in particular the multilateral Åland Convention concluded in 1921 on the initiative of the League of Nations. The autonomous status of Aland is also based on a decision of the Council of the League of Nations in 1921 that resolved a dispute between Finland and Sweden over the islands and is intended to guarantee the preservation of the local language, which is Swedish, and the local culture. Aland has its own representative on the Nordic Council, as have the other Nordic self-governing areas, the Faroe Islands and Greenland.

The province of Aland consists of more tha 6 500 islands and skerries, of which 6 400 are larger the 3 000 m². The current population of 65 000 live on only 65 islands, and over 40% live in the only town, the capital, Mariehamn. Nature is perhaps Aland’s greatest attraction. The climate is milder than elsewhere in Finland, the bird population is exceptionally varied and the flora very distinctive. The special character of the islands has inspired painters, writers and musicians over the centuries, and today they attract many people interested in sailing, traditonal boat-building, fishing, cycling, summer cultural events and historical ruins. Source: Portraying Finland Published April 2007

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