Jul 10, 2015

UNPO’s XII General Assembly Adopts Resolution on Sulu

On 3 July 2015, representatives of the Sulu Foundation of Nine Ethnic Tribes Inc. (Sufoneti) presented their resolution to the UNPO General Assembly. Ms Norilyana Binti Dzulkifli raised the concepts of recognition, full autonomy, and self-determination, while insisting that Sulu’s struggle is a pacific one. The UNPO General Assembly adopted the resolution, thus affirming its support to the process of recognition and peacebuilding in Sulu.

The UNPO General Assembly, 

Underlining that Sulu is situated in the South of the Philippines and composed of multiple ethnicities/tribes. They belong to a special and unique history of the Sulu Sultanate, practice a common culture and have common customs, profess several religions and live in a compact and poor area with only basic development means provided by the government of the Philippines;

Noting that the Sulu previously was a dominant Sultanate / Government with the famous and unique history known by the world;

Noting that the Sulu are involved in the conflict as the minority in the South of the Philippines.

Noting that the Sulu people is a Muslim community living in the Sulu Archipelago, a chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean in the South of the  Philippines.

Noting that during the Spanish control of the region, which started in the 16th Century, the Sultanate had limited self-governance. Following the Spanish-American war, in 1898, America took control of the Philippines. In 1915, an agreement between American commanders and the Sultan Jamalul Kiram was signed. This agreement, called the ‘Carpenter Agreement’, relinquished all temporal power of the Sultan over the territory. During World War II, the Sulu archipelago was occupied by the Japanese. In 1946, the Sulu archipelago became part of the Philippines.  According  to  the  Sulu,  the  Carpenter  Agreement  only  places  limitations  on  the  Sultan’s  functions meaning that the Sultan of Sulu can still act as Head of the state, of the religious order and still has  power over the people of Sulu;

Reaffirming that the Sulu was a sovereign country and free from colonialism, and therefore the Sulu people could govern and develop on its own;

Regretting that the Sulu has been involved in the conflict of Southern Philippines until today and could not develop as other modern countries even though they are rich with the natural resources from the sea and land;

Emphasising that the Sulu people is committed to world recognition and that it has been looking for it from the very beginning. The purpose of recognition calls for full autonomy as a solution. Realizing this truth, the current Government of the Philippines opted for the solution of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), but the BBL could not be accepted by the majority of Sulu and Southern Philippines because it would involve the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the implementation;

Emphasising that Sulus in all Sulu areas have been longing to live together under one full autonomy country; in the face of history, custom, culture, family bonding and human rights, the Sulus stand their ground with one voice, one mind and one spirit;

Proclaiming the Rajah Baginda III (Tuan Sharif Mohd. Nadhidir Nadhuha Mohd. Pulalon Amiril Muhminin) as the leader who has been recognized by the Sulus as the representative on the international movement and will be advises by local experts of Sulu and outsiders;

Affirming that the Sulu resolution could build an awareness of the importance of recognition, autonomy, democracy, self-governance, self-determination, diplomacy, security and peace on Sulu specifically and the Southern Philippines generally.

Fully believing that the Sulu’s full autonomy would contribute to the ASEAN regional peace and to the ASEAN unity in every aspects.

Noting that the general principles of the Sulu resolution of recognition and full autonomy are the following:

1. The Sulu is entitled to be recognized as a sovereignty country with full autonomy.

2. The Sulu are entitled to their rights without distinction of any kind, such as race, language, political, social origin or economic status.

3. Security in Sulu and Southern Philippines security is a fundamental right.

4. All people in the world need to respect each other based on the concept of multiculturalism.

5. Any reform or development agenda should be based on the local historical specificity and cultural heritage.

6. The recognition resolution should take the inclusivity approach and should be a national security objective.

7. The support of UNPO is irrefutable by any power big or small.

8. The humanitarian support of the international community is insufficient.

9. And the bold steps taken by the present leadership (Rajah Baginda III) are noteworthy.  

Fully believing that any solution to Sulu’s conflict should be animated by peace, negotiations and non-violent.

Appreciating the collaboration between the Rajah Baginda III and the local Government of Sulu, who have the same mission and vision in regard to the recognition of Sulu as a sovereign country. Therefore, both parties are committed to working out an acceptable solution based on the ‘unique history of Sulu’ and the principle of recognition, and full autonomy in their preparation to govern their own country. However, the peace process can naturally be fragile if mishandled and we cannot rest assured until and unless the final settlement is concretised.

Therefore, we, the UNPO General Assembly:

1. Solemnly Affirm our support to the resolution of the Sulu for the process of recognition and full autonomy.

2. Proclaim the Rajah Baginda III (Tuan Sharif Mohd. Nadhidir Nadhuha Mohd. Pulalon Amiril Muhminin) as the leader of Sulu.

3. Request the kind attention of the United Nations, the ASEAN Member States, the Philippines Government, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Civil Societies and Organizations to support and participate in the process of finding a solution to the Sulu’s conflict by way of peace, negotiations and non-violence.

4. Request the kind participation of the ASEAN Member States, the other Countries, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Civil Societies and Organizations to support and contribute to the development of Sulu in any aspect, therefore the international movement will foster the development of Sulu as a new country.

5. Insist that the recognition and full autonomy of Sulu will contribute to the ASEAN regional peace and security. And also the unity and strength of ASEAN in every aspects.


To take a look at the Sulu Resolution, please click here.