FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
1 October 2021
The Peace For Okinawa Coalition denounces Governor David Ige's order allowing healthcare workers to deny medical treatment to people in the Hawaiian Islands aged 65 and older.
The order was signed on September 1, but not reported by the media until September 12 (Schaefers). It comes as a result of Hawaii's medical crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic, due largely to Governor Ige's decision to continue allowing large numbers of tourists into the Islands. Thus, the order is essentially a decision to sacrifice the elderly in exchange for tourism.
Although Governor Ige is of Okinawan descent, his lack of concern for the elderly directly contradicts Okinawan values. In Uchinaguchi, the Indigenous Okinawan language, there exists a famous proverb, “Tusui du takara,” or “The elderly are a precious treasure.” Uchinanchu are famous for longevity, due in part to caring for our elderly. Governor Ige's lack of respect for the elderly is abhorrent and unacceptable.
Hawaii has a large Uchinanchu (Indigenous Okinawan) diaspora population estimated to be around 50,000, many of whom could also be denied medical care by Governor Ige.
Furthermore, Governor Ige's order to ration healthcare is unnecessary. As Lieutenant Governor Josh Green points out, there are many other options that can be employed to ensure everyone in Hawaii has access to medical care (Green).
Under Governor Ige's leadership, Hawaiians as well as the Pacific Islander community at large have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. This appears to stem from Governor Ige's chronic disregard for the human rights of Hawaiians, as was witnessed at Mauna Kea.
Access to medical care is a fundamental human right that no one should be denied. We urge the United Nations and other human rights organizations to investigate and take action against Governor Ige.
The Peace For Okinawa Coalition is a non-profit organization headquartered in Okinawa City, with an extension office in Honolulu. Our mission is to promote Luchu / Okinawan culture, history, languages, and rights. We are founded and led by millennial Luchuans / Okinawans, and work with many others around the world.
Green, Josh. 9-18-2021. “Hawaii Should Never Ration Care.” https://www.facebook.com/LtGovJoshGreen/posts/1471283283244630
Schaefers, Allison. 9-12-2021. “Older patients could be denied treatment under Hawaii's 'crisis standards of care' plan if COVID-19 cases continue to surge.” Honolulu Star-Advertiser. https://www.staradvertiser.com/2021/09/12/hawaii-news/older-patients-could-be-denied-treatment-under-states-crisis-standards-of-care-plan-if-covid-19-cases-continue-to-surge/
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