Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO)
Map indicating worldwide UNPO membership (click to enlarge and for legend).
• General Secretary
|Establishment||11 February 1991|
|Part of a series on|
|NGOs and political groups|
The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) is an international pro-democracy organization. It was formed on 11 February 1991 in The Hague, Netherlands. Its purpose is to facilitate the voices of unrepresented and marginalised nations and peoples worldwide. It is not a non-governmental organization (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. UNPO 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.
UNPO was conceived of in the 1980s by leaders of self-determination movements, Linnart Mäll of the Congress of 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
UNPO is dedicated to the five principles enshrined in its Covenant:
- The equal right to self-determination;
- Adherence to the internationally accepted human rights standards as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments;
- Adherence to the principles of democratic pluralism and rejection of totalitarianism and religious intolerance;
- Promotion of non-violence and the rejection of terrorism as an instrument of policy; and
- Protection of the natural environment.
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 listed as members by the UNPO.
Original members are listed withand in bold.
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Organizations representing nations may become suspended from the UNPO if they fail to follow its covenant.
Suspended members who became part of United Nations are highlighed with a .
|Represented people||Date joined||Date suspended||Represented by|
|Aboriginals of Australia||11 February 1991||7 July 2012||National Committee to Defend Black Rights|
|Burma||15 May 2008||13 February 2010||National Council of the Union of Burma|
|Buryatia||3 February 1996||13 February 2010||All-Buryat Association for the Development of Culture|
|Cabinda||17 April 1997||18 September 2011|
|Chechen Republic of Ichkeria||6 August 1991||10 September 2010|
|Dene||19 December 2004||9 October 2009||Buffalo River Dene Nation|
|Greek Minority in Albania||11 February 1991||7 July 2012||Democratic Union of the Greek Ethnic Minority in Albania|
|Inkeri||17 January 1993||9 October 2009|
|Kalahui Hawai'i||3 August 1993||7 July 2012||Ka Lahui Hawaii|
|Karenni State||19 January 1993||7 July 2012||Karenni National Progressive Party|
|Khalistan||24 January 1993||4 August 1993||(suspension made permanent 22 January 1995)|
|Komi||17 January 1993||9 October 2009|
|Maasai||19 December 2004||7 July 2012||Maasai Women for Education and Economic Development|
|Mari||6 August 1991||9 October 2009|
|Mon||3 February 1996||7 July 2012||Mon Unity League|
|Nahua del Alto Balsas||19 December 2004||20 September 2008|
|Scania||19 January 1993||18 September 2011|
|Shan||17 April 1997||6 February 2010|
|Tsimshian||2 February 2007||18 September 2011|
|Tuva Republic||3 February 1996||13 February 2010|
|West Papua||11 February 1991||20 September 2008|
Some members of the UNPO have left because of United Nations recognition, autonomy agreements, or for other reasons.
Former members who became part of United Nations are highlighed with a .
|Former member||Date Joined||Date Withdrew||Note|
|Albanians in Macedonia||16 April 1994||1 March 2008||Reached agreement on wider rights with Macedonia in 2001|
|Amazigh||World Amazigh Congress|
|Armenia||11 February 1991||2 March 1992||Became member of the UN in 1992|
|Bashkortostan||3 February 1996||30 June 1998|
|Bougainville||6 August 1991||1 March 2008||Reached autonomy agreement with Papua New Guinea in 2000|
|Chuvash||17 January 1993||1 March 2008|
|Estonia||11 February 1991||17 August 1991||Became member of the UN in 1991|
|Gagauzia||16 April 1994||1 December 2007||Reached autonomy agreement with Moldova in 1994.|
|Georgia||11 February 1991||31 July 1992||Became member of the UN in 1991|
|Hungarian Minority in Romania||30 July 1994||2015||Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania|
|Ingushetia||30 July 1994||1 March 2008|
|Kumyk||17 April 1997||1 March 2008|
|Lakotah Nation||30 July 1994||1 December 2007||Followed by the declaration of the Republic of Lakotah|
|Latvia||11 February 1991||17 August 1991||Became member of the UN in 1991|
|Maohi||30 July 1994||1 December 2007|
|Nuxalk||23 September 1998||1 March 2008|
|Palau||11 February 1991||15 December 1994||Became member of the UN in 1994|
|Rusyn||23 September 1998||1 December 2007|
|Sakha||3 August 1993||30 June 1998|
|Talysh||26 June 2005||1 March 2008||Rejoined 15 July 2014|
|Tamil Eelam||11 February 1991||19 May 2009||Sri Lankan victory in the Sri Lankan Civil War in 2009.|
|Tatarstan||11 February 1991||1 March 2008|
|Timor-Leste||17 January 1993||27 September 2002||Became member of the UN in 2002|
|Michael van Walt van Praag (Netherlands)||1991–1998|
|Tsering Jampa (Tibet)||1997–1998|
|Helen S. Corbett (Australian Aboriginals)||1998–1999|
|Erkin Alptekin (Uyghurs)||1999–2003|
|Marino Busdachin (Italy)||2003–present|
- Karl Habsburg-Lothringen – (Austria) 19 January 2002 – 31 December 2002
Chairmen of the General Assembly
- Linnart Mäll – (Estonia) 1991–1993
- Erkin Alptekin – (Uyghurs) 1993–1997
- Seif Sharif Hamad – (Zanzibar) 1997–2001
- John J. Nimrod – (Assyrians) 2001–2005
- Göran Hansson – (Scania) 2005–2006
- Ledum Mitee – (Ogoni) 2006–2010
- Ngawang Choephel Drakmargyapon – 2010–2017
- Nasser Boladai (since 2017)
- Federal Union of European Nationalities
- United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories
- Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples
- List of national liberation movements recognized by intergovernmental organizations
- European Free Alliance
- Stateless nation
- "Members". UNPO. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
- "UNPO Organizational Structure". UNPO. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
- "UNPO World Statesman.org". Worldstatesman. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
- "About UNPO". UNPO. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
- Barbara Crossette, Those Knocking, Unheeded, at UN's Doors Find Champion, New York Times, 18 December 1994.
- Tishkov, Valerie, An Anthropology of NGOs, Eurozine, July 2008
- Simmons, ed. Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization Yearbook 1995. Kluwer Law International. pp. 1–3. ISBN 90-411-0223-X.
- UNPO 20 th Anniversary Publication: Twenty Years of Promoting Nonviolence, Human Rights and Self Determination (PDF). The Hague, Netherlands: UNPO. 2011.
- Gluckman, Ron (1998). "World's wanna-be republics find a home with UNPO". Asiaweek. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
- Bob, Clifford (2005). The Marketing of Rebellion: Insurgents, Media, and International Activism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 47–48, 76–77.
- UNPO Covenant
- Downing, John D. H. John Derek Hall Downing (2011). Encyclopedia of Social Movement Media. SAGE. p. 290. ISBN 9780761926887.
- Simmons, Mary Kate. Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization: yearbook. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 187. ISBN 9789041102232. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
- International Organizations N – W
- "Worldstatesmen International Organizations". Worldstatesman. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- UNPO Presidency & Secretariat, UNPO web site.