Category: UNPO

Balochistan: The Key To Regional Security

On the 8th of June 2009, over 50 people from UN Permanent Missions, various International NGOs and representatives of the Balochi people gathered in the Palais des Nations in Geneva to discuss the role of Baluchistan in the security of the region and the gross human rights violations that have taken place there due to this pivotal role.

The region of Balochistan is not only located in a key strategic position in relation to conflicts in the region, but is also rich in natural resources. Despite, or rather perhaps because of these factors, the Baluchi people have suffered continued marginalization and victimization, locally, domestically and internationally.

This event is designed to raise awareness of the challenges faced by the Balochi peope, as well as initiate a dialogue on potential solutions
Ms. Murphy, UNPO Representative, please click here .

Side event of the 11th Session of the Human Rights Council:
Balochistan, Self Determination
and its relation to Global and Regional Security.
June 8 2009
M. Murphy, UNPO
I thank Mr. Mengal and Dr Graves from Interfaith International for having collaborated with the UNPO, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization to bring about this very necessary event and we
thank you all for being here to take part.

The UNPO is a membership organization that consists of 57 minority groups, indigenous peoples and occupied or unrecognized territories spread across the world. Each are commited to 6 vital principles
that include the promotion of democracy, nonviolence and tolerance.
Whilst the objectives of the Masaai in Kenya and the Iraqi Kurds may differ quite substantially, our Members often share the same lack of involvement in the creation and implementation of policies that
affect them first and foremost. Also common to each of them is a lack of representation in international forums such as the UN, which is why we are so grateful to be here today.UNPO aims to create opportunities for our Members to engage with international entities. Opportunities such as this meeting today permit and promote dialogue between states who have vital financial, strategic and humanitarian interests in the region and the people who best know the area, and who are equally the people most affected by each and every decision taken.

As such, I do not intend to speak for too long. You are here after all to hear the Balochi representatives, not me and I am well aware of that!
That being the case, the rationale for creating dialogue between parties is keenly illustrated in the case of Balochistan and serves as a prime example of why UNPO continues to promote these meetings.

Firstly, there has been a lack of meaningful dialogue on a domestic scale between interstate and state leaders about the desire for greater autonomy and self‐determination. Indeed the violent suppression
of any political debate has caused long‐standing, simmering resentment in the region.
This absence of dialogue has been compounded by harsh crackdowns on political dissent and the disappearances of key leaders, a complete lack of media feedom and dire conditions in camps for people displaced as a result of conflicts in the region.
It is unsurprising that mistrust of the state is deep and widespread especially when these violations of basic rights accompany the lowest employment, literacy and economic indicators in the whole country
‐ despite the region’s natural wealth. Balochistan produces 40% of the country’s primary energy1, yet only 5‐6% population have a gas connection themselves.2

1 Carnegie Papers, Jan 2006
2 Foregin policy Centre, UK 2006

U N P O Calls For Engagement With Nonviolent Baloch Leaders

Since the division of the territory, the basic human rights of the Baloch people on the Iranian and Pakistani sides of the borders have been systematically violated

UNPO condemns the violent actions and tragic loss of innocent life and urges greater dialogue between nonviolent Baloch groups such as the Balochistan Peoples Party and Iranian authorities.
In light of the recent bomb attacks in West Balochistan, the UNPO denounces the use of violence for political means and urges both Baloch groups and the Iranian authorities to maintain an open dialogue to reconcile their differences.

Two bomb attacks in West Balochistan on October 18 killed six commanders of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards, the greatest number of Iranian military deaths for several years. Thirty seven others were killed in the attack for which the insurgent group, Jundallah claimed responsibility.

UNPO condemns the violent actions and tragic loss of innocent life and urges greater dialogue between nonviolent Baloch groups such as the Balochistan Peoples Party and Iranian authorities. Open cooperation with third party mediators would stem increasing resentment and hatred towards the centralised government whose policies continue to discriminate against the Baloch people and other ethnic and religious minorities.

Colonial borders established in the early 20th Century divided the Baloch nation into three. Balochistan is now contained largely within the borders of Iran and Pakistan with a smaller part overlapping Afghanistan. Since the division of the territory, the basic human rights of the Baloch people on the Iranian and Pakistani sides of the borders have been systematically violated. The region is rich in natural resources, has an abundance of rich minerals and fertile land and has a strategic coastline on the Oman Sea that stretches 1000 kilometres. Despite this, the Baloch people have the lowest socio-economic indicators in the whole of Iran and Pakistan.

Resentment has increased as the Baloch have been increasingly marginalised from political processes but Tehran has shown great resistance to openly and honestly engaging in dialogue with Baloch representatives or to increasing their role in the governing of their region. A policy of no tolerance towards any form of opposition in the region has spawned violent terrorist cells.

UNPO calls today for greater and active engagement with nonviolent groups through international mediators that will assist the mutually beneficial weakening of the extremist entities within the region by removing their alibi of reacting against political ostracisation.

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Iranian Groups To Address 2nd U N Forum On Minority Issues

On 12 and 13 November 2009, UNPO will facilitate the attendance of five Iranian groups to the 2nd Session of the Forum on Minority Issues: Ahwazi-Arabs, Kurds, Baloch, Azeri-Turks and Lur
On 12 and 13 November 2009, UNPO will facilitate the attendance of five Iranian groups to the 2nd Session of the Forum on Minority Issues: Ahwazi-Arabs, Kurds, Baloch, Azeri-Turks and Lur.

The Forum on Minority Issues was established specifically to provide an opportunity for dialogue and cooperation on issues pertaining to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities. Various groups are invited to highlight issues within a thematic framework and contribute to the work of the independent expert on minority issues.
The thematic focus of the upcoming session is “Minorities and Effective Political Participation.” In light of a history of repression and exacerbated recently in the aftermath of the election in Iran, representatives from four different groups will identify how their experiences and challenges apply to the general theme.
UNPO will produce a full report which will be made available next week on the achievements of the Forum and comment on the Forum’s recommendations.
For a Press Release Please Click here

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Cnfi Representatives Tell Brussels: “Iran’s Different Nationalities Can Have A Fair And Common Future Only In A Federal And Decentralized Democracy”

Nasser Boladai of the Balochistan Peoples Party and Loghman Ahmedi of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan participated in a series of visits, organised by the Unrepresented Peoples and Nations Organization (UNPO),

Brussels, 6 June 2012

Two days of meetings in Brussels on 4-5 June 2012 have enabled representatives of the Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran (CNFI) to raise the issue of ongoing human rights violations, especially against non-Persian peoples, and to reiterate the wide support for the concept of a federal Iran.
Nasser Boladai of the Balochistan Peoples Party and Loghman Ahmedi of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan participated in a series of visits, organised by the Unrepresented Peoples and Nations Organization (UNPO), during which they engaged in constructive discussions with Members of the European Parliament, European officials, political advisers, human rights organisations, think tanks and foundations.
These meetings built upon the progress made from previous CNFI advocacy visits in Brussels, most notably the two-day conference on ‘Human Rights, Democratisation and Federalism in Iran’ organized by the UNPO and CNFI in the European Parliament.
The central issue continued to be the persistent human rights violations and discrimination on the basis of language, religion or ethnicity. Nasser Boladai and Loghman Ahmedi, as well as the other members represented by the CNFI are convinced that Iran’s different nationalities can have a fair and common future, only if their rights are guaranteed within a federal and decentralized democracy.
A clear outcome from the meetings was the need to provide the European Union with information from which it can gain an accurate image of what is happening in Iran. CNFI representatives, Mr. Boladai and Mr. Ahmedi, suggested a “third way” – namely empowering the opposition as an inclusive movement for constructive and consensual change.
The unity of the support expressed during the meetings held is hoped to culminate in a European Parliament Urgency Resolution, with the CNFI intending to further the discussion of federalism and decentralization as an option for Iran and its peoples with practical measures this year and into the future.
____________________________________________
For media queries please contact:
Andrew Swan
+32 472 577 518 aswan@unpo.org
Maud Vanwalleghem +32 251 314 59
m.vanwalleghem@unpo.org

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From Gwadar To Zahedan: A Common Story Of Discrimination For The Baloch People

In a series of meetings organised by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) the Baloch representatives engaged in constructive dialogues with Members of the European Parliament, European officials, political advisers and human rights organisations.

Representatives of Baloch Communities in Iran and Pakistan urge European Union to speak out against the continued violation of human rights

Brussels, 10 July 2012 – Mr. Nasser Boladai and Mr. Noordin Mengal, representatives of Baloch communities in Iran and Pakistan respectively, visited Brussels on 9-10 July 2012 to raise awareness of the continued human rights violations against Baloch people in both countries, and to urge the European Union to speak out against the systematic suppression exerted upon them by the Iranian and Pakistani regimes.

In a series of meetings organised by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) the Baloch representatives engaged in constructive dialogues with Members of the European Parliament, European officials, political advisers and human rights organisations. Mr. Boladai and Mr. Mengal explained in detail the severity of the human rights violations that include, among others, arbitrary arrests, continuing disappearances, torture, and killings. Everyday life for Baloch continued to be characterised by severely limited access to education and basic services such as electricity, restrictions on their freedom of religious expression and little, if no, space for political organization campaigning for the rights of Baloch, particularly in Iran.

Discussions focused on the significance of the European Parliament’s Delegations for Relations with the South Asia and Iran, as well as of the Subcommittee for Human Rights, to promote Baloch peoples’ rights in their discussions and engagement, however limited, with Iranian and Pakistani governments. Pledges of support from many of the deputies with whom meetings were held will ensure that future actions and initiatives can be undertaken in the coming months with the intention of better informing European Union policy actors and raising constructive proposals for change and reform.

For media queries please contact:

Andrew Swan: +32 472 577 518 aswan@unpo.org

Vaya Mousa: +32 251 31459 v.mousa@unpo.org

For the PDF Version of the Press Release press here

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Iranian Minorities: What Future After Ahmadinejad? Tuesday, 11th June 2013, 14.00 16.00 (Tbc) Room Xxvii, Palais Des Nations Geneva, Switzerland

speakers who will contribute with their expertise in this regard include: Ms. Monireh Sulemani – Representative of the Balochistan Peoples Party, Mr. Hillel Neuer – Executive Director of the UN Watch, Mr. Karim Mr. Abdollah Hejab -;Mr. Taimoor Aliassi G) Ms. Marina Nemat – Iranian activist, author of “After Tehran: The Life Reclaimed”, Human Dignity Prize winner.

On behalf of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, you are cordially invited to attend the parallel event ”Iranian minorities: what future after Ahmadinejad?” taking place at Palais des Nations (room XXVII) – Geneva, on 11th June 2013, 14.00-16.00.

Through this event, UNPO in cooperation with the Nonviolent Radical Party aims at bringing attention to the human rights situation of religious and national minorities in Iran and discussing the impact that the upcoming Iranian presidential elections could mean for them and the country‘s human rights situation as a whole.

Iran’s population includes a large number of religious, ethnic, and linguistic minorities. These groups are highly diverse, but share common experiences of economic marginalization, political repression and denial of even the most basic of cultural rights. This year marks a decisive moment for Iran and its minorities. It is the first time since 1993 that Iran comes under review for its respect of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This combines with the approach of the Iranian presidential elections that will be held in June. Both events are expected to have implications for the respect of minority rights in Iran, including on the rights of minorities to enjoy their own cultures and identities, to profess and practice their own religions and use their own languages.

The event will bring together human rights activists from minority groups in Iran, distinguished political scholars, and international experts and representatives from international organizations who will inform the audience of the present minority rights predicament in Iran.

The confirmed speakers who will contribute with their expertise in this regard include:

Mr. Hillel Neuer – Executive Director of the UN Watch, a human rights NGO in Geneva, Switzerland);

Mr. Karim Abdian – Director of the Ahwaz Education and Human Rights Foundation;

Mr. Abdollah Hejab – Representative of Iranian Kurdistan and member of UNPO Presidency;

Ms. Monireh Sulemani – Representative of the Balochistan Peoples Party

Mr. Taimoor Aliassi – UN Representative of the Association for Human Rights in Kurdistan of Iran – Geneva (KMMK – G)

Ms. Marina Nemat – Iranian activist, author of “After Tehran: The Life Reclaimed”, Human Dignity Prize winner.

A representative of the Nonviolent Radical Party will moderate the event.

More information on the Conference will be available soon on www.unpo.org and on our Facebook page.

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED AND MUST BE SUBMITTED BEFORE 6th June 2013

Please fill in the registration form here.

FOR ANY QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT
Dovilė Morkevičiūtė dovile@unpo.org

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European Parliament Conference On Human Rights, Democracy And The Right To Decide Opens Xii Session Of The Unpo General Assembly

Exploring a similar situation of occupation of an indigenous land rich in natural resources Mr Nasser Boladai, Spokesperson of the Balochistan Peoples Party, presented the case of Balochistan, a region that is tied to multiple states’ geo-political interests.

European Parliament Conference on Human Rights, Democracy and the Right to Decide Opens XII Session of the UNPO General Assembly

Brussels 2 July 2015 – In light of the continuous need to raise awareness on the human rights situation of those seeking self-determination and democracy, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), in cooperation with the European Free Alliance (EFA) and Center Maurits Coppieters (CMC), convened a high-level conference at the European Parliament entitled “Auctioning Human Rights? Democracy and the Right to Decide”.

Hosted by Mr Josu Juaristi Abaunz MEP (GUE/NGL), the conference brought together academic experts, human rights activists and high level politicians, among which Mr Ian Hudghton MEP; Mr Jordi Solé i Ferrando, Secretary General of EFA and Catalan MP; Mr Csaba Sógor MEP; Ms Nelly Maes, former MEP and former President of EFA; Mr Shri Ushatan Talukder, Bangladeshi MP from the Chittagong Hill Tracts; and Mr Yonadam Kanna, Iraqi MP and Secretary General of the Assyrian Democratic Movement. Looking at diverse examples of unrepresented nations and peoples, the conference offered a fruitful opportunity for participants to share their experiences, which ranged from more successful cases, such as Scotland, Catalonia and Kosovo, to cases whereby geopolitical and economic interests continue to impede the fulfillment of human rights. The conference was organized on the occasion of the opening of the XII Session of the UNPO General Assembly.

Following the opening remarks by Josu Juaristi Abaunz MEP and Mr Marino Busdachin, UNPO General Secretary, Mr Ian Hudghton MEP and President of the Scottish National Party (SNP), opened the first panel, entitled Building Momentum on the Right to Decide, with an overview of the eventful decade that Scotland is going through.. The referendum of 2014 was the most iconic achievement to this date in the Scottish people’s struggle for self-determination, as it offered them a democratic opportunity to determine their own future. Regardless of the outcome of the referendum, Mr Hudghton said, the legacy of this political event is unquestionable.

The second speaker, Mr Jordi Solé i Ferrando, Secretary General of EFA and Catalan MP, shared his views on the current state of play in Catalonia. For a new country in the making, Mr Solé explained that independence and socio-economic improvement are synonyms and both are key to success in the case of Catalonia. He further explained that Catalonia’s desire is to become the next EU member. Closing the first panel, Mr Zsolt Sylagyi, representative of the Hungarian Community in Transylvania, delivered a speech illustrating how Romania’s centralised political system has driven the country’s intelligence service to consider minority questions as a matter of national security. He added that the EU, in light of the values it aims to promote, should contribute to encourage Romania to enact reforms to accommodate the concept of local autonomy.

The second panel, entitled Money Talks: Undermining Self-Determination and Democracy in the 21st Century, started off with a speech by Mr Michael Jewkes, Doctoral Researcher at KU Leuven. Presenting different theoretical models of self-determination and their relation tosecession, Mr Jewkes emphasized that priority must be given to the improvement of international recognition of national identities.

Addressing the need of unrepresented nations and peoples to access to diplomatic forums, Dr Fiona McConnell, Associate Professor at Oxford University, Highlighted that UNPO has been crucial in offering these peoples a platform and form of legitimacy.

Further elaborating on the importance of balancing traditional diplomacy with paradiplomacy, Ms Lorena Lopez de Lacalle, Secretary of International Relations of Eusko Alkartasuna, spoke about the Basque struggle for self-determination and the difficulties imposed by the Spanish and French States. According to her, the Basque ambitions for a greater say in international relations and communications with external actors can only be achieved through full independence and, consequently, through real diplomacy.

Ms Nelly Maes, former President of EFA, former MEP and former president of the Flemish Peace Institute, argued that the EU construction is based on democratic values but, in practice, the dominant framework holding the Union together is the free-market, which in turn makes economic interests prevail over the promotion of minorities and nations. She emphasized the need to build solidarity among oppressed peoples and work together to strengthen every nation’s right to decide its own future.

The third panel, entitled Holding Human Rights Hostage: Self-Determination, Democracy & Tolerance was opened by Mr Abdirahman Mahdi, ONLF Foreign Secretary. After briefly presenting the history and geography of Ogaden, Mr Mahdi explained how the Ethiopian regime has systematically denied the Ogaden people their right to self-determination and moreover committed aggressive and systematic human rights violations against this ethnic group. The situation has further escalated due to interests of multinational oil companies that are contrary tothose of the people in Ogaden.

Exploring a similar situation of occupation of an indigenous land rich in natural resources Mr Nasser Boladai, Spokesperson of the Balochistan Peoples Party, presented the case of Balochistan, a region that is tied to multiple states’ geo-political interests. In consideration of its coal and gas resources, Pakistani and Iranian interests in the region deprive the Baloch people of any rights. Mr Boladai further explained how the struggle for a secular and democratic Iranian republic with a federal structure based on the equality of its components has lead the Baloch people to suffer mass displacement, killings, disappearances and unjust imprisonments.

Mr Abidine Merzough, European Coordinator of IRA-Mauritania, drew attention to the long struggle against slavery and the appalling human rights situation in Mauritania. He highlighted the importance and effectiveness of UNPO’s support to the cause of the Haratin people, but warned that every time international awareness is raised on the situation in the country, there is a new wave of crackdown on activists. Mr Merzough also reminded the audience of the case of Biram Dah Abeid, Member of the UNPO Presidency still imprisoned for his pacific activism against slavery.

The fourth and last panel, entitled Working Towards Success? Stories from Europe and Beyond started by looking at the case of Kosovo. Mr Agron Bajrami, Editor in Chief of Koha Ditore, delivered a remarkable speech, giving his perspective on his country’s progression towards independence. Mr Bajrami reminded the audience that initially the international community did not pay attention to the peaceful pro-independence Kosovar movement and it was only when violent conflict broke out that major international actors mobilized, thus helping to shape the outcome. Full recognition, he argued, will always remain an issue, as great powers are not prone to breaking the status quo of international relations.

Dr Joanie Willett, member of Mebyon Kernow, presented the case of the Cornish nation. She revealed that the success behind the national element in Cornwall has developed partly thanks to the prospective of building an alternative to the discredited three party system based in London. If for the UK’s political center Cornwallremains largely insignificant, the Cornish put their land at the very core of everything they do.

The last speaker, Mr Artur Gaguliya, Head of the Department of Europe, USA and Canada in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia, explained how his country has managed to increasingly conclude international agreements and advance its State budget, despite the drawbacks of his country’s limited recognition, as well as infrastructural damages caused by the war in the 1990s. Still facing diplomatic and trade challenges, including visa issues and international blockades, Abkhazia has nevertheless reinforced its democratic process through institution building and the holding of free and fair elections, to which UNPO sent an electoral observation mission in 2014. Mr Gaguliya reiterated Abkhazia’s commitment to the fundamental principles of democracy and expressed hope that his country will manage to strengthen its relationship with the EU in the future.

Highlighting a diverse set of cases, ranging from Catalonia to Scotland, from Balochistan to Kosovo, from Ogaden to Abkhazia, the conference concluded that, regardless of a nation’s or people’s geography, history, identity and status quo, there is a real need to build solidarity and share expertise among nations and peoples struggling for self-determination. UNPO remains committed to offer all its members a platform to access the international community, and will continue to work to ensure that their voices are heard and their rights protected.

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Xii Unpo Ga Adopts General Resolution And Elects New Presidency

Mr Nasser Boladai from West Balochistan was then elected the new President of UNPO and Mr Abdirahman Mahdi from Ogaden the new Vice-President, with 2/3 of the voting-eligible Members supporting their nomination.

XII UNPO GA Adopts General Resolution and Elects New Presidency

On 4 July 2015, UNPO Members gathered at the Flemish Parliament in Brussels for the final day of the Organization’s XII General Assembly. The agenda consisted of a debate and adoption of a General Resolution aimed at guiding the work of UNPO until the next General Assembly, as well as of the election of a new President, Vice-President and 9 Presidency Members. The final session, chaired by newly elected UNPO President Mr Nasser Boladai of West Balochistan, ended with an interactive debate between UNPO Members and the Secretariat on the challenges and opportunities facing the day-to-day work of the Organization.

After having declared the final day of UNPO’s XII General Assembly open, UNPO President Mr Ngawang Choephel gave the floor to Mr Enghebatu Togochog, the Head of Delegation of Southern Mongolia, to present the General Resolution draft as prepared by the Drafting Committee. Subsequently, through the mediation of the President, Members had the opportunity to provide input and suggestions for amendments to specific articles of the Resolution. An additional article was added to the draft, addressing regional organizations and their need to protect and promote human rights.

Following the amendments and adoption of the final version of the General Resolution, the Head of Delegation of the Afrikaners, Dr Pieter Groenewald, presented the nominations for the new Presidency: Tibet, Taiwan, East Turkestan, Crimean Tatars, Iranian Kurdistan, Afrikaners, Khmer Krom, Oromo and West Papua. As no alternative list had been put forth, and the aforementioned list had received the required majority of support, the composition of the new Presidency was declared as such. Mr Nasser Boladai from West Balochistan was then elected the new President of UNPO and Mr Abdirahman Mahdi from Ogaden the new Vice-President, with 2/3 of the voting-eligible Members supporting their nomination.

Mr Boladai, who following his election was tasked to take on the role of chairing the meeting, first of all expressed his gratefulness for being entrusted with the presidential mandate. He opened his speech by stressing his desire to set a new agenda for UNPO, and his commitment to create and achieve more for the organization. He underlined the fact that all UNPO Members, despite facing very different environments and situations, aim for the same goal – dignity. Finally, Mr Boladai thanked General Secretary Mr Marino Busdachin and the UNPO Secretariat, and congratulated the new Vice-President, Mr Mahdi on his election.

In accord with the UNPO Covenant, the XII Session of the General Assembly extended the mandates of the Organization’s General Secretary and the Treasurer, without an election. The next election for these key positions will take place during the XIII Session.

In the afternoon session of the Assembly, Dr Fiona McConnell from Oxford University provided the GA participants with a presentation of the renowned university’s new partnership with UNPO – a training program entitled “Training diplomats from Unrepresented Nations: capacity building for effective UN lobbying”, which will be available for UNPO Members throughout 2015 and 2016. Following the presentation of Dr McConnell, UNPO Program Manager Ms Johanna Green and Program Coordinator Ms Iva Petkovic spoke about the activities of the Secretariat, current UNPO programs and projects in Brussels and beyond, and addressed a round of statements, questions and comments raised by the Members.
The General Resolution as adopted on the occasion of the XII Session of the UNPO General Assembly:

XII Session of the UNPO General Assembly

General Resolution

On the occasion of the XII Session of the UNPO General Assembly, the following general resolution was adopted on 4 July 2015 in Brussels, Belgium:

Expressing its solidarity with UNPO Members and other victims of oppression, violence and discrimination who are struggling to gain respect for their human rights and fundamental freedoms worldwide;

Reiterating all members’ commitment to the Organization’s fundamental principles: democracy, non-violence, human rights, self-determination, tolerance and environmental protection, as expressed in the Covenant;

Reaffirming its continued engagement with the international community and expressing serious concern with regards to the lack of opportunities for political minorities and unrepresented nations and peoples to be heard;

Regretting that over 20 years after the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, states continue to commit grave and systematic human rights violations against other nations and minorities;

Solemnly proclaiming the necessity to fully investigate, denounce and redress gross human rights violations against nations and indigenous peoples worldwide, which are too often hidden from the world or ignored by the media;

Affirming the importance of working to give all nations and ethnic communities the opportunity to have a say in the decisions that concern their territory, culture, language, heritage, environment and people.

1. Calls upon the international community to recognise that the 21st century presents the world with new challenges in matters of human security, the environment, the economy, social welfare, and culture, affecting nations and peoples who are not adequately represented in international fora, thus underscoring the importance and urgency of UNPO’s work, which embraces the concepts of individual and collective rights;

2. Calls upon intergovernmental organizations such as the European Union, African Union, ASEAN, Arab League, Organization of American States, Melanesian Spearhead Group, SAARC to honour their human rights commitments and respect the rights of all nations to self-determination;

3. Deplores that the 21st century is still facing contemporary forms of slavery including bonded labour, child slavery and sexual exploitation;

4. Strongly condemns the continuous human rights violations committed against Members in the form of arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings, as well as all forms of discrimination;

5. Severely condemns the reprisals facing UNPO Members engaging in political activities, notably through the adoption of anti-terrorism laws that allow for more severe restrictions of personal liberty;

6. Further condemns the reprisals faced by members of the diaspora who lobby for their people, consisting in intimidations, threats and sometimes actual violence or arbitrary arrests of family members or friends still in their homeland;

7. Also condemns the lack of political will many UN Member States show towards the protection of their environment, of which areas are often sold off solely for financial reward, to the expense of future generations and particularly to the detriment of indigenous peoples, who lose traditional lands that they have inhabited for centuries, and are further punished under the pretext of environmental protection;

8. Denounces the fact that human rights discussions, fora and meetings of relevant UN bodies are restricted in their access, to the extent that this access is often completely denied to representatives of stateless nations;

9. Insists that the UN Human Rights Council take a more proactive role in supporting the rights of stateless peoples and nations, in particular for access to Special Procedure mandate-holders;

10. Urges the international community and especially the United Nations to allow de facto states to be recognised as independent states;

11. Encourages relevant organizations and Member States to work for the preservation and promotion of minority cultures and languages, which can be a source of enrichment not only for the relevant communities but for all;

12. Calls upon states to demilitarize territories of indigenous nations, end population transfers, implement the relocation of outside settlers, cease all exploitation of their lands without prior and informed consent, and continue with the effective implementation of agreements signed by indigenous peoples’ and states’ representatives.

See also article on the Opening Conference of the XII General Assembly, 2 July 2015, European Parliament.

See also article on the 2nd Day of the XII General Assembly, 3 July 2015, De Markten.

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Empowering Unrepresented Diplomats First Workshop On Un Advocacy In Geneva: Training Of Diplomats From Unrepresented Nations Capacity Building For Effective Un Lobbying

The facilitators also explained the importance of developing an advocacy strategy, rather than contributing to UN activities through scattered meetings or roundtables.

Empowering Unrepresented Diplomats – First Workshop on UN Advocacy in Geneva: Training of Diplomats from Unrepresented Nations Capacity building for effective UN lobbying
On 24-25 September 2015, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), together with Oxford University Associate Professor Fiona McConnell and Tibet Justice Centre, ran a workshop entitled “Gaining Access and Preparing an Advocacy Strategy”, in which participants from 14 different unrepresented nations discussed their advocacy possibilities at various UN bodies, guided by a team of trainers and facilitators, including Susan Akram (Boston University) and Joshua Cooper (University of Hawaii). The workshop, the first of the larger programme “Training Diplomats from Unrepresented Nations: Capacity Building for Effective UN Lobbying”, was funded by the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account, 2015-2016.

From over one hundred applicants, 17 participants representing the Acheh, Ahwaz, Baloch, Chittagong Hill Tracts, Crimean Tatar, Haratin, Iranian Kurdish, Nagorno-Karabakh, Ogaden, Oromo, Palestinian, Somaliland, Tibetan and West Papuan communities, were selected to participate in the workshop, which took place in the premises of the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR).

After discussing why it is useful to lobby the United Nations, the first afternoon was dedicated to the different UN bodies working on human rights and especially the concept of periodic reviews of UN Member States, to which NGOs and other interested parties can actively contribute. The participants also compared their advocacy experiences at the UN, including difficulties and bureaucratic impediments they have had to face, mainly deriving from bullying and blocking techniques of several UN Member States. The discussion highlighted the existence of a pattern of episodes of restricted access to UN buildings and activities, often unjustified or ascribed to technical problems or miscommunications.

On the second day, the participants looked into the concept and usefulness of having ECOSOC status, as well as alternatives for organizations who do not manage to obtain it due to blocking by one or several states. The facilitators also explained the importance of developing an advocacy strategy, rather than contributing to UN activities through scattered meetings or roundtables. The group then compared their views and experiences of drafting alternative reports and press releases, as well as of the media and social media campaigns that should accompany all activities. In the final session, after a short exercise to guide participants in the use of UN websites, UNPO facilitators explained how to prepare a side-event at the UN, highlighting the formal requirements, but also including a few substantial tips to take into account.

Susan Akram, Clinical Professor at Boston University School of Law, was at the forefront in leading the workshop. Also Joshua Cooper, lecturer at the University of Hawaii and Geneva Coordinator for the US Human Rights Network Universal Periodic Review gave important input to the two-day programme. Fiona McConnell, Associate Professor at the University of Oxford and main coordinator of the training programme; Iona Liddell from Tibet Justice Centre; and Johanna Green and Tommaso Nodari from UNPO facilitated several sessions of the workshop, drawing on their personal and professional skills and backgrounds. The workshop also saw the participation of ISHR’s Michael Ineichen, UPR Info’s Francesca Piccin and Laurel Townhead from the Quaker United Nations Office in Geneva, who illustrated the functioning of their respective organisations putting emphasis on how the participants could effectively use their services and materials.

To read more about the project, please visit the Training Programme’s website.

We are also conducting a survey on the experiences of members of unrepresented nations in lobbying at the United Nations. You can fill in the questionnaire in English or in French.

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‘Let’s Argue Only Once We Have A Parliament To Do So’ Ho C Public Forum Highlights Need For A United Kurdish Voice In Iran

UNPO President Mr Nasser Boladai, also spokesperson of the Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran (CNFI) and of the Balochistan People’s Party (BPP), expressed concern on the isolation of the Iranian Kurds, as well as that of his own people, the Baloch.

On 25 January 2016, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) and the Centre for Kurdish Progress co-organised a conference on Iranian Kurdistan in the British Parliament in London. The event was hosted by British Labour MP Ms Emma Reynolds and was chaired by Mr Gary Kent, Director of the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Kurdistan Region. The conference, which included a vibrant discussion with participants that lasted for over an hour, brought together speakers from various Kurdish backgrounds and political affiliations. The speakers put forward a number of issues concerning the human rights situation of Iran’s Kurds, comparing it with that of other Kurdish communities and other ethnic groups in Iran.

UNPO President Mr Nasser Boladai, also spokesperson of the Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran (CNFI) and of the Balochistan People’s Party (BPP), expressed concern on the isolation of the Iranian Kurds, as well as that of his own people, the Baloch. Mr Boladai brought attention to the fact that the international community seems not to be aware of the situation inside Iran and in particular of the country’s diversity. Despite appearances, the oppression of ethnic and religious minorities has been further accentuated under Rouhani’s presidency, with a significant increase in executions especially in Balochistan and Kurdistan.
Mr Abdullah Mohtadi, leader of the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan, laid out the current political situation, underlining how every part of Kurdistan, a very large region split mainly between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey, has its own problems and history. He pointed out how the significant role played by the Kurds against the rise of the Islamic State has increased the community’s visibility. However, this has not benefitted the Kurds of Iran, not due to lack of action or willingness of their part, but to the country’s isolation, as well as to the presence of salient issues such as the nuclear deal, which made relations with Iran more sensitive for most influential countries. Mr Mohtadi then outlined how the Iranian Kurds are discriminated on an everyday basis as well as deprived of basic political rights. There is not one Kurdish governor in any of the Kurdish provinces, nor is the Kurdish language taught in schools, despite its protection in the constitution.
Mr Loghman Ahmedi, head of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI)’s foreign relations, put forward the idea that Iran’s tactic is to play a role in all external conflicts in the region, managing to shift the attention from its domestic affairs. The Islamic Republic’s regional policy is based on supporting, funding and activating different proxy groups that bring instability and conflict in different countries in the Middle East. In doing so, it is seen as an important actor that can pressure and negotiate with the West in order to accomplish its goals. Moreover, Mr Ahmedi emphasised the need to counter Iran’s well-known strategy ‘divide and conquer’, by solving and cooperating with other minority groups, as well as with Kurdish political parties in neighbouring countries. This point was further recalled during the debate, when many agreed that the only solution is for all Iranian Kurdish parties to work together and to leave their differences aside, for the common goals of democracy and respect for human rights. Attention was also brought to existing network where different groups work together for common goals, such as the Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran or, on a larger scale, UNPO.
Last among the speakers, Dr Seevan Saeed, an independent Kurdish academic based in the United Kingdom, started by outlining the internal issues and the divide between North and East Kurdistan, which according to him partially explains the silence concerning Iranian Kurds. In contrast to the other speakers, Mr Saeed believes that for a change to be possible, the mentality of all Kurdish political parties should shift towards nation-building instead of state-building.
Following the short statements of the four speakers, Mr Kent moderated a long discussion with the audience that saw the active participation of academics, researchers, journalists and activists from other regions of Kurdistan. Among the many issues that were discussed, such as the role of women and younger generations in Kurdish parties or the possible role of the UK and Europe, it was interesting to see a general agreement on the fact that, even though different parts of Kurdistan share certain similarities, solutions cannot be simply ‘copy pasted’, due to the communities’ different histories and of social structures.

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