Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO)
Map indicating worldwide UNPO membership (click to enlarge and for legend).
|Headquarters||The Hague, Netherlands|
|•||General Secretary||Marino Busdachin
(since December 2012)
(since July 2015)
(since July 2015)
|Establishment||February 11, 1991|
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|NGOs and political groups|
The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), formed on February 11, 1991 in The Hague, Netherlands, is an international pro-democracy organization. Its purpose is to facilitate the voices of unrepresented and marginalised nations and peoples worldwide. Technically, 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. 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.
UNPO was conceived 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 Aborigines, The Cordillera, the Greek Minority in Albania, Kurdistan, Palau, Taiwan, and West Papua. In 1991, UNPO chose The Hague in the Netherlands for its founding headquarters because the city aimed to become the International City of Peace and Justice and was also host to international institutions such as the International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court. UNPO has an advocacy office in Brussels, representation in Geneva and a network of associates and consultants based around the world. Funding comes from 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; they often mentioned his name in the early years of the organization, included photos of him visiting UNPO in their publications and printed supporting statements he made for 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. As with Amnesty International, its techniques include issuing action alerts and being an objective source of information.
The 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.
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The following listed as members by the UNPO.
Original members are listed withand in bold.
|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 – 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 – Since 2010
- 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
- "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 U.N.'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 Welcomes New Member, District of Columbia". Retrieved November 11, 2015.
- International Organizations N - W
- "Worldstatesmen International Organizations". Worldstatesman. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- UNPO Presidency & Secretariat, UNPO web site.