The Unrepresented Nations and People Organization (UNPO) is an international, nonviolent and democratic membership organisation. Its Members are indigenous peoples, minorities, unrecognised States and occupied territories that have joined together to defend their political, social and cultural rights, to preserve their environments and to promote their right to self-determination.
Although the aspirations of UNPO Members differ greatly, they are all united by one shared condition – they are not adequately represented at major international fora, such as the United Nations. As a consequence, their opportunity to participate on the international stage is significantly limited, as is their ability to access and draw upon the support of the global bodies mandated to defend their rights, protect their environments, and mitigate the effects of conflict.
In today’s world where over 90 percent of conflicts are intra-state, UNPO has been established to fill this gap, providing an international forum through which its Members can become effective participants and contributors to the international community. In an increasingly interdependent world it is ever more important that those who continue to be denied their rights or remain excluded be given an opportunity to present their case. UNPO works therefore to address the consequences of marginalisation, working with its Members to promote their democratic causes, to provide information, and to articulate creative and nonviolent strategies for progress, above all however, UNPO works to ensure their voices are heard.
In 1991 at the Peace Palace in The Hague, 15 representatives from self-determination movements belonging to Australian Aboriginals, Armenia, Crimean Tatars, Cordillera, East Timor, East Turkestan, Estonia, Georgia, the Greek Minority in Albania, Kurdistan, Latvia, Palau, Tibet, Taiwan, Tatarstan and West Papua came together to found UNPO. It was and remains unique as an international organisation in that it is built entirely by its Members. Through this strong connection to those suffering the consequences of the exclusion the organisation seeks to address, UNPO has since grown into a prominent and respected international forum.
UNPO’s membership has also grown steadily from its original fifteen founders, representing now more than 40 Members worldwide. Although the work of UNPO adapts continually to meet the challenges of its Members and the nature of the international political climate, each Member remains committed to respecting the five principles enshrined in the UNPO Covenant: nonviolence, human rights, democracy and self-determination, environmental protection, and tolerance.
UNPO remains committed to offering an increasing number of nations and peoples an entry point into the international community, enabling its Members also to learn from one another; lending their support where there are setbacks and sharing their experiences in success.
The General Assembly, composed of delegations of all of its Members, is the highest organ of the UNPO. The General Assembly holds its regular session every eighteen months to two years. In June 2017, UNPO held its 13th General Assembly in Edinburgh, Scotland.
UNPO Members use the General Assembly to share their experiences, successes and issues. It is also a venue for considering specific topics of concern and for the adoption of Member-specific resolutions. The General Assembly also discusses the achievements and shortcomings in the organisation's performance since the previous Assembly and lays down strategies that will guide the Secretariat in performing its functions until the following General Assembly.
In addition, the General Assembly elects the Presidency Members and the organisation's President and Vice-President. It also elects the General Secretary and the Treasurer for a mandate of three years.
UNPO's Presidency is composed of eight Members, in addition to a President and two Vice-Presidents. The Presidency has the duty to supervise the implementation of the overall policy of the organisation during its term, as mandated by the Assembly. The Presidency represents the General Assembly and closely collaborates with the General Secretary in carrying out the overall activity of the organisation.
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