Jul 29, 2020

UNPO, experts to discuss COVID-19's impact on unrepresented nations and people

On Friday, 31 July 2020 at 15.00-17.00 Central European Time, the UNPO and noted experts from around the world will meet to discuss the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on unrepresented people worldwide. The event may be followed via live-stream on our Facebook page.

UNPO General Assembly 2020

Opening Conference: The Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on Unrepresented Nations and Peoples

 31 July 2020 | 15h00 - 17h00 Central European Time

Live Stream on UNPO's Facebook Page 


As a result of their marginalization at both the national and international levels, unrepresented nations and people have long been disproportionately impacted by fundamental rights violations and barriers to economic, social and cultural development. The Coronavirus pandemic has only accentuated these problems.

UNPO governmental members both past and present — such as Taiwan, Somaliland, Abkhazia, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Kosovo — have been, by-and-large, performing miracles in the face of lower levels of external funding and exclusion from coordination mechanisms such as the World Health Organization. In many ways, despite the marked challenges they have faced, these members have shown us what a world that places control closer to the people could look like, with greater efficiency, transparency and regard for the human rights of their people.

The experience of UNPO’s minority and indigenous community members, those represented by movements, NGOs and political parties, show the dangers of government that is not fully and equally representative of all. These member people have, in many instances, suffered from the negative impacts of coronavirus, both health and economic, to a greater degree than others, and have been targets of increased discrimination. With governance happening ever more behind doors and the public distracted by the ongoing crisis, it has been ever harder for them to have their voices heard. And, in the most extreme cases, governments have used coronavirus to postpone or curtail democratic processes or to carry out systemic repression.

This session, which will be chaired by UNPO President, Nasser Bolodai, will introduce this topic to the General Assembly, with a view to furthering discussions on this throughout the conference and working towards a conference resolution that will outline the UNPO’s recommendations to the international community. To that end, the session will largely consist of a panel of keynote addresses by eminent speakers who can address a variety of topics, as well as a presentation of our catalog of impacts on unrepresented nations and peoples from our own Head of Research and Policy, Fernando Burges.

Speakers will include Mrs Edna Adan Ismail (a midwife and Director and Founder of the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital in Somaliland; pioneer in the struggle for the abolition of FGM; former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Somaliland); the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Professor Fernand de Varennes; Dr Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj (Journalist, Social Anthropologist and international spokeswoman for indigenous rights); Professor Fiona McConnel (Professor of Geography from the University of Oxford); and Dr. Jehan El-Bayoumi (Physician, Professor of Medicine at George Washington University and Founding Director of the Rodham Institute).