Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
Flag of
Flag
Logo of
Logo
Members of UNPO. Former members are in dark gray.
Members of UNPO. Former members are in dark gray.
Membership44 groups[1]
Leaders
• President[2]
Edna Adan Ismail
• Vice-Presidents[2]
Elisenda Paluzie
Rubina Greenwood
• Presidency members include
Abdirahman Mahdi
Dolkun Isa
Paul Strauss
Tina Rose Muña Barnes
Establishment11 February 1991
Website
unpo.org Edit this at Wikidata

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, or simply UNPO is an international organization established to facilitate the voices of unrepresented and marginalised nations and peoples worldwide. It was formed on 11 February 1991[3][4] in The Hague, Netherlands. Its members consist of indigenous peoples, minorities, and unrecognised or occupied territories.

UNPO works to develop the understanding of and respect for the right to self-determination, provides advice and support related to questions of international recognition and political autonomy, trains groups on how to advocate for their causes effectively, and directly advocates for an international response to human rights violations perpetrated against UNPO member groups. Some former members, such as Armenia, East Timor, Estonia, Latvia, Georgia and Palau, have gained full independence and joined the United Nations (UN).[5][6]

History

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 [nl], along with 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 in the Philippines, the Greek minority in Albania, Kurdistan, Palau, Taiwan, and West Papua.[7] A key UNPO goal was, and remains, to replicate the success of the 14th Dalai Lama's and the Tibetan people's non-violent message in the face of oppression and occupation.[8][9]

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 International Court of Justice (ICJ) and International Criminal Court (ICC). A Foundation was established in the Netherlands to provide secretarial support to the UNPO General Assembly and to carry out research and educational activities related to unrepresented peoples worldwide. The Foundation maintains a permanent presence before the European Union, United States and United Nations. It is funded by a combination of member contributions, donations from individuals and project-based grants from foundations.[citation needed]

Aims

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.[8]

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 (UN). As a result, their ability to have their concerns addressed by the global bodies mandated to protect human rights and address conflict is limited.[8]

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

All members are required to sign and abide by the UNPO Covenant.[10] UNPO members are required to be nonviolent.[11]

Members

The following are listed as members by the UNPO.[12]

Original members are listed with pink background and in bold. Members who are recognised as independent countries by at least 1 UN Member or by other countries recognised by at least 1 UN member are marked by asterisk (*).

Member Date joined Represented by Ref
Abkhazians* 6 August 1991 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia [13]
Aceh 11 February 1991 Acheh-Sumatra National Liberation Front [14]
Afrikaners 15 May 2008 Freedom Front Plus [15]
Ahwazi 14 November 2003 Democratic Solidarity Party of Ahwaz [16]
Assyrians 6 August 1991 Assyrian Universal Alliance [17]
Balochistan 1 March 2008 Balochistan National Party (Mengal) [18]
Barotseland Barotseland 23 November 2013 Barotse National Freedom Alliance [19]
Bellah people 6 June 2017 Malian Association for the Preservation of Bellah Culture [20]
Republic of Biafra Biafra 31 July 2020 Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra/Biafra Independence Movement [1][21]
Brittany Brittany 8 June 2015 Kelc’h An Dael [br] [22]
Catalonia Catalans 14 December 2018 Assemblea Nacional Catalana [23]
Chittagong Hill Tracts 6 August 1991 Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti [24]
Crimean Tatars 11 February 1991 Milli Mejlis [25]
District of Columbia (Washington, DC) 4 December 2015 D.C. Statehood Congressional Delegation [26]
East Turkestan East Turkestan 11 February 1991 World Uyghur Congress [27]
Gilgit Baltistan 20 September 2008 Gilgit Baltistan Democratic Alliance [28]
Guam Guam 31 July 2020 Government of Guam [1][21]
Haratin 18 September 2011 Initiative de Résurgence du Mouvement Abolitionniste en Mauritanie [29]
Hmong 2 February 2007 Congress of World Hmong People [30]
Iranian Kurds 2 February 2007 Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan and Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan [31]
Kabylia 6 June 2017 MAK-Anavad [32]
Khmer Krom 15 July 2001 Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation [33]
Lezghin 7 July 2012 Federal Lezgian National and Cultural Autonomy [34]
Nagalim 23 January 1993 National Socialist Council of Nagalim [35]
Ogaden Ogaden 6 February 2010 Ogaden National Liberation Front [36]
Ogoni Ogoni 19 January 1993 Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People [37]
Oromo 19 December 2004 Oromo Liberation Front [38]
Rehoboth Basters 2 February 2007 Captains Council [39]
Savoy Savoy 15 July 2014 Provisional Government of the State of Savoy [40]
Sindhis 19 January 2002 World Sindhi Congress [41]
Somaliland Somaliland* 19 December 2004 Government of Somaliland [42]
Republic of South Maluku South Moluccas 6 August 1991 Republic of South Moluccas [43]
Southern Azerbaijanis 2 February 2007 South Azerbaijan Democratic Party [44]
Southern Mongolians 2 February 2007 Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center [45]
Sulu 5 January 2015 Sulu Foundation of Nine Ethnic Tribes [46]
Taiwan Taiwan* 11 February 1991 Taiwan Foundation for Democracy [47]
Tibet Tibet 11 February 1991 Central Tibetan Administration [48]
West Balochistan 26 June 2005 Balochistan People's Party [49]
Western Togolanders 2017 Homeland Study Group Foundation [50]
Republic of West Papua West Papuans 11 February 1991 Free Papua Movement [7][51]
Yoruba people 31 July 2020 Yoruba World Congress [1][21]
Zambesia 31 July 2020 Movement for the Survival of the River Races of Zambesia [1][21]

Former members

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

The following lists former and suspended members.[12]

Former members who became part of the UN are highlighted with a blue background and italics. Original members (from 11 February 1991) are listed with pink background and in bold. Former members who are recognised as independent countries by at least 1 UN Member or by other countries recognised by at least 1 UN member are marked by asterisk (*). Suspended members are marked by yellow background.

Former member Date joined Date withdrew Note Ref
Aboriginals of Australia 11 February 1991 7 July 2012 Represented by National Committee to Defend Black Rights [52]
Albanians in North Macedonia 16 April 1994 1 March 2008 Reached agreement on wider rights with North Macedonia in 2001 [53]
Amazigh 28 November 2014 26 November 2016 Represented by World Amazigh Congress [54]
Ambazonia 25 October 2006 7 June 2021 Represented by the Southern Cameroons National Council and Ambazonia Governing Council (from September 2018). [55]
 Armenia 11 February 1991 2 March 1992 Became member of the UN in 1992 [56]
Bashkortostan Bashkortostan 3 February 1996 30 June 1998 [57]
Batwa 17 January 1993 December 2019 Cultural Conservation Act [58]
Bougainville 6 August 1991 1 March 2008 Reached an agreement with Papua New Guinea in 2021, in which Bougainville will be independent by 2027 [59]
Buffalo River Dene Nation 19 December 2004 9 October 2009 [60]
 Burma 15 May 2008 13 February 2010 Represented by National Council of the Union of Burma. The Myanmar military junta was dissolved in 2011. [61]
Buryatia Buryatia 3 February 1996 13 February 2010 Represented by All-Buryat Association for the Development of Culture [62]
Cabinda 17 April 1997 18 September 2011 Represented by the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda [63]
Chameria 8 June 2015 December 2019 Democratic Foundation of Chameria [64][12]
Chechen Republic of Ichkeria* 6 August 1991 10 September 2010 Government-in-exile in London. [65]
Chin 15 July 2001 26 November 2016 Represented by Chin National Front [66]
Chuvashia Chuvash 17 January 1993 1 March 2008 Represented by the Chuvash National Congress [67]
Circassia Circassia 16 April 1994 6 November 2015 Represented by International Circassian Association [68]
Cordillera 11 February 1991 6 November 2015 Represented by Cordillera Peoples' Alliance [69]
Degar-Montagnards 14 November 2003 29 April 2016 Represented by Montagnard Foundation, Inc. [70]
 East Timor 17 January 1993 27 September 2002 Became member of the UN in 2002 [71]
 Estonia 11 February 1991 17 August 1991 Became member of the UN in 1991 [72]
Gagauzia 16 April 1994 1 December 2007 Reached autonomy agreement with Moldova in 1994 [73]
 Georgia 11 February 1991 31 July 1992 Became member of the UN in 1991 [74]
Greek minority in Albania 11 February 1991 7 July 2012 Represented by Omonoia [75]
Hungary Hungarian minority in Romania 30 July 1994 2015 Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania [76]
Ingushetia Ingushetia 30 July 1994 1 March 2008 [77]
Inkeri 17 January 1993 9 October 2009 [78]
Kurdistan Region Iraqi Kurdistan 11 February 1991 1 July 2015 Represented by Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iraq and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan [79]
Iraqi Turkmen 6 August 1991 27 November 2016 Represented by Iraqi Turkmen Front, Turkmen Nationalist Movement, Turkmen Wafa Movement, and Islamic Union of Iraqi Turkmens [80]
Kalahui Hawaii 3 August 1993 7 July 2012 Represented by Ka Lahui Hawaii [81]
Karenni State 19 January 1993 7 July 2012 Represented by Karenni National Progressive Party[failed verification] [82]
Khalistan 24 January 1993[83] 4 August 1993 Membership suspended on 4 August 1993 and suspension made permanent 22 January 1995.[84] [85]
Komi Republic Komi 17 January 1993 9 October 2009 [86]
Republic of Kosova Kosovo* 6 August 1991 24 March 2018 Represented by Democratic League of Kosovo [87]
Kumyk 17 April 1997 1 March 2008 [88]
Lakota Nation 30 July 1994 1 December 2007 Followed by the declaration of the Republic of Lakotah [89]
Latin American Indigenous Peoples (Project) 2016 ? [12]
 Latvia 11 February 1991 17 August 1991 Became member of the UN in 1991 [90]
Maasai people Maasai 19 December 2004 7 July 2012 Represented by Maasai Women for Education and Economic Development [91]
Maohi 30 July 1994 1 December 2007 Represented by Hiti Tau [92]
Madhesh 14 October 2017 October 30 2023 Represented by Alliance for Independent Madhesh [93]
Mapuche 19 January 1993 26 April 2016 Represented by Mapuche Inter-Regional Council [94]
Mari 6 August 1991 9 October 2009 [95]
Mon 3 February 1996 7 July 2012 Represented by Mon Unity League [96]
Moro 26 September 2010 28 November 2014 Represented by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, autonomy and peace deal with the government in 2014 [97]
Nahua Del Alto Balsas 19 December 2004 20 September 2008 [98]
Nuxalk Nation 23 September 1998 1 March 2008 [99]
 Palau (Belau) 11 February 1991 15 December 1994 Became member of the UN in 1994 [100]
Rusyn 23 September 1998 1 December 2007 [101]
Yakutia Sakha 3 August 1993 30 June 1998 [102]
Sandžak Sanjak 17 January 1993 18 September 2011 Represented by the Bosnian National Council of Sanjak [103]
Skåneland Scania (Skåneland) 19 January 1993 18 September 2011 Membership suspended on 18 September 2011.[104] [105]
Shan 17 April 1997 6 February 2010 [106]
South Arabia 29 April 2016 Represented by the Southern Democratic Assembly for Self-Determination for South Arabia's People [107]
Talysh 15 July 2014 National Talysh Movement [108]
Tatarstan Tatarstan 11 February 1991 1 March 2008 [109]
Trieste (Free Territory of Trieste) 28 December 2014 Represented by TRIEST NGO [110]
Tsimshian 2 February 2007 18 September 2011 [111]
Tuva Tuva 3 February 1996 13 February 2010 [112]
Udmurtia Udmurt 17 January 1993 6 July 2013 Represented by Udmurt Council [113]
Vhavenda 14 November 2003 1 July 2015 Represented by Dabalorivhuwa Patriotic Front [114]
Zanzibar Zanzibar 6 August 1991 1 July 2015 Represented by Zanzibar Democratic Alternative, in cooperation with the Civic United Front [115]

Suspensions

UNPO's representing nations may become suspended from the Organization if they fail to follow its covenant.[116]

In 24 January 1993,  Khalistan was briefly admitted in the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, but was suspended in a few months. The membership suspension was made permanent on 22 January 1995.[117][118]

 Scania was also suspended on 18 September 2011.[119]

Leadership

Secretaries general[120]

Name Term
Netherlands Michael van Walt van Praag [nl] (Netherlands) 1991–1998
Tibet Tsering Jampa [fr] (Tibet) 1997–1998
Helen S. Corbett (Australian Aboriginals) 1998–1999
East Turkestan Erkin Alptekin (Uyghurs) 1999–2003
Italy Marino Busdachin (Italy) 2003–2018
United States Ralph J. Bunche III (USA) 2018–2023
Catalonia Mercè Monje Cano (Catalonia) 2023–current

Chair/Presidents of the General Assembly

Special Executive Director

See also

References

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