UNPO Presidency – 1st Session
01-03 February 2007: The newly elected UNPO Presidency met for its First Session at the European Parliament in Brussels, debating a broad range of issues central to the future direction of the organisation, both amongst the assembled UNPO Members, and with the participation of invited MEPs and guests. Six new Members were admitted into UNPO.
Visibility and Growth were top of the agenda as the newly elected UNPO Presidency met for its first session from 1 – 3 February 2007 at the European Parliament in
Following the elections at the VIII UNPO General Assembly, held in
Providing an essential element of continuity between full assemblies of UNPO Members, the Presidency meets several times every year, and is mandated to supervise and assist in the implementation of the overall policy of the organisation as articulated at the meetings of the General Assembly.
By convening at the European Parliament, the Presidency clearly signalled its intention to continue building upon its successful efforts to raise the profile of UNPO Members at a European Union level, a process greatly facilitated by the ongoing support of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), and in particular Mr. Marco Pannella MEP and Mr. Marco Cappato MEP, both of whom offered written statements of support and solidarity.
This gathering of human rights activists and community leaders drew however also the attention of a number of other MEPs, including Mr. István Szent-Ivanyi MEP, who has recently worked with UNPO and other international organisations in response to allegations of terrorism against UNPO Members from
Before this session of the UNPO Presidency was an extensive and diverse agenda in need of reflection and debate. One of the most pressing issues was the continued detention of former UNPO Presidency Member and UNPO Member Representative from the Southern Cameroons Mr. Nfor Ngala Nfor, arrested on 20 January 2007 at a press conference in the
An equal sense of urgency marked the discussion of 7 Ahwazi-Arab activists presently facing imminent execution at the hands of Iranian authorities, who have already publicly hanged a number of their compatriots. After hearing the harrowing report of the Member Representative from the Ahwazi, the Presidency resolved again to urge all UNPO Members to appeal to Iranian authorities to bring to an immediate end these executions, and to afford to each of these activists the free and open trials internationally recognised standards of justice and human rights entitles them.
This appeal strengthened also the resolve of the UNPO Presidency to continue their support for the ongoing campaign to bring before the United Nations General Assembly a resolution calling for a Universal Moratorium on the Death Penalty, and for the work of the Third World Congress against the Death Penalty, which was simultaneously taking place in
This meeting of the UNPO Presidency was also represented a significant moment with respect to UNPO’s future and growth, as it considered for the first time in over a year, the applications of several new members. Following a long process of research and evaluation, six of the numerous applications received by the UNPO Secretariat were recommended to the Presidency for admittance. Representatives from Iranian Kurdistan, Rehoboth Basters, Hmong Chaofa, and Southern Azerbaijan, were present to offer their own presentations, with the UNPO Secretariat presenting the case of Tsimshian Nation, and
[More information about the new UNPO Members]
Over the course of the three day meeting, the Presidency considered also its position on a range of additional issues, including; means of combating the continued prevalence of landmines; strategies for making use of emerging technologies in the field of media and communications; and activities related to the annual UNPO Day of Action on 11 February.
Work will now begin to implement the decisions taken by the Presidency, which following several days of debate, has begun the process of articulating a vision to guide UNPO until the next General Assembly. Their next meeting, provisionally scheduled for May, will be the next step in this ongoing process.