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On the status of Bir Tawil

Initially written by Co-General Secretary Amelia Bjornsdottir (they, she, he) starting 01:23 UTC on the 27th day of July 2022 a.d..

In sum, the republican Commission, fully vested by virtue of a population of 1 in the collective physical person of Ellenor et al Bjornsdottir, hereby fully disclaims Bir Tawil, which is unsettled, inhabited sporadically by Bedouins (Ababda and Bishari) and is neither claimed by Egypt nor Sudan but was claimed by both in the past, unless the people of that land might seek to claim it for the republic.

Background

Bir Tawil is a quadrilateral wedge of land sited between Egypt and Sudan, on the Sudanese side of the border, in northeastern Africa. It is claimed by an organization with a US Internet domain name forwarding itself as the Free Private City of Bi'r Tawil - birtawil.us (deliberately not rendered as a link). No 2nd-degree UN-recognized state recognizes the Free Private City nor any other claim. To Egypt, Bir Tawil is part of Sudan, and to Sudan, Bir Tawil is part of Egypt, related to borders accepted and asserted by both nation-states in 1899 and 1902 - Sudan asserts the 1902 line, and Egypt asserts the 1899 line. We cite Wikipedia’s page on the province, as said page existed on the 27th of July, 2022 a.d..

It is customary for micronational entities, such as Evdonia - sovereign entities claiming but often not possessing land, and not recognized by any 2nd-degree UN-recognized state - to at least consider laying claim to Bir Tawil. If I’m not mistaken, former President Ellenor Bjornsdottir, back when we had a President, and back when she thought she was a boy, may have laid claim to this strip of land. We will explain why we do not see a claim to Bir Tawil as legitimately ours to make.

Reasoning

Since time immemorial, Bir Tawil has been used by Ababda and Bishari peoples, for purposes which aren’t immediately clear to me as the province is arid, although the 2016 Guardian (an English newspaper) travelogue on the province says they “carry goods,” “graze crops” and “make camp” there, and it appears that while there is no surface water, there are wells, hence its name. For the same reason (use by Ababda), settled nearby Halayeb is currently subject to overwhelming military force from Egypt in a manner to apparently protect those peoples' rights in that area. Until the last decade or so it was administered by Sudan. Any attempt to establish a settlement in Bir Tawil risks infringing the ancient passage rights (aboriginal title) of the Ababda and Bishari peoples. In practice, as the Guardian travelogue notes, Bir Tawil is only accessible from Sudan, which does not administer the area in any meaningful way.

Legal implications for Evdonia

In the foregoing paragraph, I appeal to a principle of aboriginal title. This is also appealed to in the long first interpretation note of paragraph 1 of the Limits section of the provisional constitution (the document On the political status of the republic), where we are compelled to act in the best interests of the holders of aboriginal title, even at disadvantage to Evdonia. I don’t know that Canadian colonial common law, which we recognise as influential, and as binding for the purposes of the extraterritorial Commission on Republic House, really speaks on the matter of territory not claimed. If one intersects aboriginal title with the English, and Canadian colonial, common law principle that all land is owned by the Crown and all title to land (except aboriginal title, which is equal to the Crown claim) is subinfeudated, doesn’t that make the Ababda and Bishari the rightful sovereigns, or deciders of their sovereigns, like the Crown in England, as the holders of aboriginal title as well as allodial title by use and defence? I’m not even trained as a judge, and having to act as such on a subject I referred to myself (this could be considered a case you could cite as “In re a Bir Tawil Regional Commission, 2022, sole citizen of Evdonia sitting as the High Court thereof”) is wracking my brain.

Conclusion

Without the fully informed and freely given consent of the Ababda and Bishari peoples, organized in the form of a democratically-elected Assembly (or perhaps an aristocratic Assembly which all families are members of, as may be more suitable for the local situation) which forms part of, and appoints, a duly-appointed provisional Commission (General Secretary, Ministries as required, and a justice system), I do not believe Bir Tawil is suitable for Evdonia to make a land claim over on behalf of a Bir Tawil Regional Commission, or any other. The republican Commission is prohibited from creating a Bir Tawil Regional Commission, or any other Commission claiming to administer and defend that land, unless a provisional Commission as previously described shall arise and seek to be made a Commission of Evdonia.