Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization

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Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO)
Map indicating worldwide UNPO membership (click to enlarge and for legend).
Map indicating worldwide UNPO membership (click to enlarge and for legend).
Headquarters The Hague, Netherlands
Membership 42 groupsa
 -  Secretary-General Marino Busdachin
(since 2003)
 -  President Ngawang Choephel Drakmargyapon
(since May 2010)
 -  Vice-President Mohamoud Daar
(since December 2012)
Establishment February 11, 1991
a. Last updated September 2012.[1]
b. Combined total of members' populations according to UNPO website.
c. Not putting any other organisations in the list.[clarification needed]

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), formed on the 11 February[2] 1991[3] in The Hague, Netherlands, is an international pro-democracy organisation. Its purpose is to facilitate the voices of unrepresented and marginalised nations and peoples worldwide. Technically, it is not a non-governmental organisation (NGO) as some of its members are governments or government agencies of unrecognized states. Its members consist of indigenous peoples, minorities, and unrecognised or occupied territories. The organization trains groups in how to advocate their causes effectively. Some former members, such as Armenia, East Timor, Estonia, Latvia, Georgia and Palau, have gained full independence and joined the United Nations.[4][5]


UNPO was conceived of in the 1980s by leaders of self-determination movements, Linnart Mäll of the Congress Estonia, Erkin Alptekin, of East Turkestan, and Lodi Gyari of Tibet, together with Michael van Walt van Praag, long the international law adviser of the 14th Dalai Lama. The founders were representatives of national movements of Estonia, Latvia, Tibet, Crimean Tatars, Armenia, Georgia, Tatarstan, East Turkestan, East Timor, Australian Aboriginals, The Cordillera, the Greek Minority in Albania, Kurdistan, Palau, Taiwan, and West Papua.[6] UNPO chose for its founding headquarters in 1991 The Hague in the Netherlands because the city aimed at becoming the International City of Peace and Justice and hosts international courts like the ICJ and ICC. UNPO has an advocacy office in Brussels, representation in Geneva and a network of associates and consultants based around the world. UNPO is funded by member contributions and donations from individuals and foundations.[7] A key UNPO goal was to replicate the success of the 14th Dalai Lama's non-violent message, and they often mentioned his name in the early years of the organization, as well as including in publications pictures of him visiting UNPO and supporting statements he made of the organization.[7][8]

To this end, UNPO trains its members in international law, international organizations, diplomacy, and public relations. UNPO has built its credibility by being the first organization to release on-ground information from remote areas, typically press releases from groups like MOSOP. Like Amnesty International, its techniques include issuing action alerts and being an objective source of information. UNPO is funded by member contributions and donations from individuals and foundations.[7]


UNPO’s vision is to affirm democracy as a fundamental human right, implement human, civil and political rights worldwide, uphold the universal right to autonomy and self-determination and further federalism. It encourages nonviolent methodologies to reach peaceful solutions to conflicts and oppression. UNPO supports members in getting their human and cultural rights respected and in preserving their environments. The organization provides a forum for members to network and assists them in participating at an international level.[7]

Although UNPO members often have different goals, they have one thing in common: they are generally not represented diplomatically (or only with a minor status, such as observer) in major international institutions, such as the United Nations. As a result, their ability to have their concerns addressed by the global bodies mandated to protect human rights and address conflict is limited.[7]

UNPO is dedicated to the five principles enshrined in its Covenant:

All members are required to sign and abide by the UNPO Covenant.[citation needed] UNPO members are required to be nonviolent.[9]

It should be noted that contrary to popular perception, self‐determination does not necessarily imply secession, separate nationhood, or even autonomy. It simply refers to the right of all peoples to freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. The exercise of this right can result in a variety of outcomes, ranging from political independence to full integration within an existing state.


The following are the 50 members listed on the UNPO Nations & People page,[10] the organizations that currently represent them, and the dates on which they joined the UNPO[11] (original members listed with shaded background):

Member Date Joined Representing
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia 6 August 1991 Abkhazia Abkhazia
Acheh-Sumatra National Liberation Front 15 July 2014 Flag of Aceh.svg Acheh
Freedom Front Plus 15 May 2008 Afrikaner Vryheidsvlag.svg Afrikaner
Democratic Solidarity Party of Al-Ahwaz 14 November 2003 Separatists in Iran's Khuzistan
Assyrian Universal Alliance 6 August 1991 Flag of Assyria.svg Assyria
Balochistan National Party 1 March 2008 Flag of Balochistan.svg Balochistan
Community of Indigenous Peoples of Rwanda 17 January 1993 Batwa
Chin National Front 15 July 2001 Flag of Chin State.svg Chin
United People's Party of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (JSS) 6 August 1991 Flag of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Shanti Bahini.svg Chittagong Hill Tracts
International Circassian Association 16 April 1994 Flag of Adygea.svg Circassia
Cordillera Peoples' Alliance 11 February 1991 Igorot
Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People 11 February 1991 Flag of the Crimean Tatar people.svg Crimean Tatars
World Uyghur Congress 11 February 1991 Kokbayraq flag.svg East Turkestan
Gilgit–Baltistan Democratic Alliance 20 September 2008 Gilgit–Baltistan
Initiative de Résurgence du Mouvement Abolitionniste en Mauritanie (IRA) 18 September 2011 Haratin
Hmong ChaoFa Federated State 2 February 2007 Hmong Flag.png Hmong
Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania 30 July 1994 Hungary Hungarian Minority in Romania
Inner Mongolian People's Party 2 February 2007 Flag of the Inner Mongolian People's Party.svg Inner Mongolia
Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran 2 February 2007 Flag of Kurdistan.svg Separatists in Iranian Kurdistan
Kurdistan Democratic Party and by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan 11 February 1991 Flag of Kurdistan.svg Iraqi Kurdistan
Dr. Muzaffer Arslan 6 August 1991 Flag of Iraq Turkmen Front.svg Iraqi Turkmen
Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation 15 July 2001 Flag of KKF.svg Khmer Krom
Democratic League of Kosova 6 August 1991 Kosovo Kosova
Federal Lezgian National and Cultural Autonomy 7 July 2012 Lezgian
Mapuche Inter-Regional Council 19 January 1993 Flag of the Mapuches.svg Mapuche
Moro Islamic Liberation Front 26 September 2010 Moro
Montagnard Foundation, Inc. 14 November 2003 Degar-Montagnards
National Socialist Council of Nagaland 19 January 1993 Nagalim
Ogaden National Liberation Front 6 February 2010 Flag of Ogaden National Liberation Front(2).svg Ogaden
Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People 19 January 1993 Flag of the Ogoni people.svg Ogoni
Oromo Liberation Front 19 December 2004 Flag of the Oromo Liberation Front.svg Oromo
Captains Council 2 February 2007 Rehobothflag.svg Rehoboth Basters
The Government of the State of Savoy 15 July 2014 Savoie flag.svg Savoy
World Sindhi Institute 19 January 2002 Flag of Sindh.svg Sindh
Government of Somaliland 19 December 2004 Somaliland Somaliland
Government in Exile of the Republic of South Moluccas 6 August 1991 Flag of South Moluccas.svg Republic of the South Moluccas
Southern Azerbaijan National Awakening Movement 2 February 2007 SouthAzerbaijanFlag.gif Separatists in Iranian Azerbaijan
Southern Cameroons National Council 19 December 2004 Flag of The Federal Republic of Southern Cameroons.svg Southern Cameroons
Taiwan Foundation for Democracy 11 February 1991 Taiwan Taiwan
The National Talysh Movement 15 July 2014 Flag of the Talysh-Mughan Republic1.jpg Talysh
Central Tibetan Administration 11 February 1991 Tibet Tibet
Udmurt Council (Udmurt Kenesh) 17 January 1993 Flag of Udmurtia.svg Udmurt
Dabalorivhuwa Patriotic Front 14 November 2003 DPFsouthafrica.jpg Vhavenda
Balochistan People's Party 26 June 2005 Separatists in Iranian Balochistan
Zanzibar Democratic Alternative, in cooperation with the Civic United Front 6 August 1991 Flag of Zanzibar.svg Zanzibar

Suspended members[edit]

Organisations representing nations may become suspended from the UNPO if they fail to follow its covenant.[12]

Flag Represented people Date joined Date suspended Represented by Reason for suspension
Australian Aboriginal Flag.svg Aboriginals of Australia 11 February 1991 7 July 2012 National Committee to Defend Black Rights
Dene 19 December 2004 9 October 2009 Buffalo River Dene Nation
Flag of Myanmar.svg Burma 15 May 2008 13 February 2010 National Council of the Union of Burma
Flag of Buryatia.svg Buryatia 3 February 1996 13 February 2010 All-Buryat Association for the Development of Culture
Flag of Greece.svg Greek Minority in Albania 11 February 1991 7 July 2012 Democratic Union of the Greek Ethnic Minority in Albania
Flag of Cabinda Province.svg Cabinda 17 April 1997 18 September 2011
Flag of Chechen Republic of Ichkeria.svg Chechen Republic of Ichkeria 6 August 1991 10 September 2010
Inkerin lippu.svg Inkeri 17 January 1993 9 October 2009
Flag of Hawaii.svg Kalahui Hawai'i 3 August 1993 7 July 2012 Ka Lahui Hawaii
Flag of Kayah State.svg Karenni State 19 January 1993 t 7 July 2012 Karenni National Progressive Party
Flagge Khalistans.svg Khalistan 24 January 1993 4 August 1993 (suspension made permanent 22 January 1995)
Flag of Komi.svg Komi 17 January 1993 9 October 2009
Bandera masai.svg Maasai 19 December 2004 7 July 2012 Maasai Women for Education and Economic Development
Flag of Mari El.svg Mari 6 August 1991 9 October 2009
Flag of Myanmar.svg/Flag of Thailand.svg Mon 3 February 1996 7 July 2012 Mon Unity League
Flag of Mexico.svg Nahua del Alto Balsas 19 December 2004 20 September 2008
Flag of Skåne.svg Scania 19 January 1993 18 September 2011[13]
Flag of Myanmar.svg/Flag of Thailand.svg Shan 17 April 1997 6 February 2010
Tsimshian 2 February 2007 18 September 2011
Flag of Tuva.svg Tuva Republic 3 February 1996 13 February 2010
Morning Star flag.svg West Papua 11 February 1991 20 September 2008

Former members[edit]

Some members of the UNPO have left because of United Nations recognition, autonomy agreements, or for other reasons.

  • Former socialist republics of the Soviet Union, with UN recognition, withdrew after independence was restored in 1991:[citation needed]
Flag Date Joined Date Withdrew
 Armenia 11 February 1991 2 March 1992
 Estonia 11 February 1991 17 August 1991
 Georgia 11 February 1991 31 July 1992
 Latvia 11 February 1991 17 August 1991
  • Others with UN recognition:
Flag Date Joined Date Withdrew Note
 Timor-Leste 17 January 1993 27 September 2002 former Portuguese colony annexed by Indonesia in 1975 and independent since 2002
 Palau 11 February 1991 15 December 1994 part of the US–administered Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands and independent since 1994
  • Left for other reasons:[14]
Flag Date Joined Date Withdrew Note
Flag of Aceh.svg Aceh 6 August 1991 1 March 2008 reached autonomy agreement with Indonesia in 2005
Flag of Albania.svg Albanians in Macedonia 16 April 1994 1 March 2008 reached agreement on wider rights with Macedonia in 2001
Flag of Bashkortostan.svg Bashkortostan 3 February 1996 30 June 1998
Bougainville 6 August 1991 1 March 2008 reached autonomy agreement with Papua New Guinea in 2000
Flag of Chuvashia.svg Chuvash 17 January 1993 1 March 2008
Flag of Gagauzia.svg Gagauzia 16 April 1994 1 December 2007 reached autonomy agreement with Moldova in 1994. return 15 July 2014
Flag of Ingushetia.svg Ingushetia 30 July 1994 1 March 2008
Flag of the Kumukh people.png Kumyk 17 April 1997 1 March 2008
Pine Ridge Flag.svg Lakotah Nation 30 July 1994 1 December 2007 followed by the declaration of the Republic of Lakotah
Flag of French Polynesia.svg Maohi 30 July 1994 1 December 2007
Nuxalk 23 September 1998 1 March 2008
Rusyn 23 September 1998 1 December 2007
Sakha 3 August 1993 30 June 1998
Talysh 26 June 2005 1 March 2008 return 15 July 2014
Tatarstan 11 February 1991 1 March 2008
Tamil Eelam 11 February 1991 19 May 2009 Sri Lankan victory in the Sri Lankan Civil War in 2009.


Secretaries General

Name Term
Netherlands Michael van Walt van Praag (Netherlands) 1991-1998
Tibet Tsering Jampa (Tibet) 1997–1998
Australian Aboriginal Flag.svg Helen S. Corbett (Australian Aboriginals) 1998–1999
East Turkestan Erkin Alptekin (Uyghurs) 1999–2003
Italy Marino Busdachin (Italy) 2003–present[16]

Executive Director

Chairmen of the General Assembly


See also[edit]


  1. ^ International Organizations N - W
  2. ^ http://www.worldstatesmen.org/International_Organizations2.html#UNPO World Statesman.org. Retrieved February 7, 2012
  3. ^ [1] UNPO official website 'About UNPO'. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
  4. ^ Barbara Crossette, Those Knocking, Unheeded, at U.N.'s Doors Find Champion, New York Times, 18 December 1994.
  5. ^ Tishkov, Valerie, An Anthropology of NGOs, Eurozine, July 2008
  6. ^ Simmons, ed. Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization Yearbook 1995. Kluwer Law International. pp. 1–3. ISBN 90-411-0223-X. 
  7. ^ a b c d e UNPO 20 th Anniversary Publication: Twenty Years of Promoting Nonviolence, Human Rights and Self Determination. The Hague, Netherlands: UNPO. 2011. 
  8. ^ Gluckman, Ron (1998). "World's wanna-be republics find a home with UNPO". Asiaweek. Retrieved 2010-11-04. 
  9. ^ Bob, Clifford (2005). The Marketing of Rebellion: Insurgents, Media, and International Activism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 47–48, 76–77. 
  10. ^ [2] UNPO official website, Members of the UNPO
  11. ^ http://www.worldstatesmen.org/International_Organizations2.html#UNPO World Statesman.org. Retrieval date unknown
  12. ^ UNPO Covenant
  13. ^ International Organizations N - W
  14. ^ http://www.unpo.org/map.html[dead link][dead link]
  15. ^ "worldstatesmen International Organizations". Retrieved 9-7-2012.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  16. ^ UNPO Presidency & Secretariat, UNPO web site.

External links[edit]