Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization

Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO)
Map indicating worldwide UNPO membership (click to enlarge and for legend).
Map indicating worldwide UNPO membership (click to enlarge and for legend).
HeadquartersThe Hague, Netherlands
Membership 42 groups[1]
   General Secretary[2] Marino Busdachin
(since 2003)
   President[2] Ngawang Choephel Drakmargyapon
(since May 2010)
   Vice-President[2] Mohamoud Daar
(since December 2012)
Establishment 11 February 1991

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) is an international pro-democracy organization. It was formed on 11 February 1991[3][4] in The Hague, Netherlands. Its purpose is to facilitate the voices of unrepresented and marginalised nations and peoples worldwide. Technically, it is not a non-governmental organization (NGO) as some of its members are governments or government agencies of unrecognized states. Its members consist of indigenous peoples, minorities, and unrecognised or occupied territories. UNPO trains groups in how to advocate their causes effectively. Some former members, such as Armenia, East Timor, Estonia, Latvia, Georgia and Palau, have gained full independence and joined the United Nations.[5][6]


UNPO was conceived of in the 1980s by leaders of self-determination movements, Linnart Mäll of the Congress of Estonia, Erkin Alptekin, of East Turkestan, and Lodi Gyari of Tibet, together with Michael van Walt van Praag, long the international law adviser of the 14th Dalai Lama. The founders were representatives of national movements of Estonia, Latvia, Tibet, Crimean Tatars, Armenia, Georgia, Tatarstan, East Turkestan, East Timor, Australian Aboriginals, The Cordillera, the Greek Minority in Albania, Kurdistan, Palau, Taiwan, and West Papua.[7] UNPO chose for its founding headquarters in 1991 The Hague in the Netherlands because the city aimed at becoming the International City of Peace and Justice and hosts international courts like the ICJ and ICC. UNPO has an advocacy office in Brussels, representation in Geneva and a network of associates and consultants based around the world. UNPO is funded by member contributions and donations from individuals and foundations.[8] A key UNPO goal was to replicate the success of the 14th Dalai Lama's non-violent message, and they often mentioned his name in the early years of the organization, as well as including in publications pictures of him visiting UNPO and supporting statements he made of the organization.[8][9]

To this end, UNPO trains its members in international law, international organizations, diplomacy, and public relations. UNPO has built its credibility by being the first organization to release on-ground information from remote areas, typically press releases from groups like MOSOP. Like Amnesty International, its techniques include issuing action alerts and being an objective source of information. UNPO is funded by member contributions and donations from individuals and foundations.[8]


UNPO’s vision is to affirm democracy as a fundamental human right, implement human, civil and political rights worldwide, uphold the universal right to autonomy and self-determination and further federalism. It encourages nonviolent methodologies to reach peaceful solutions to conflicts and oppression. UNPO supports members in getting their human and cultural rights respected and in preserving their environments. The organization provides a forum for members to network and assists them in participating at an international level.[8]

Although UNPO members often have different goals, they have one thing in common: they are generally not represented diplomatically (or only with a minor status, such as observer) in major international institutions, such as the United Nations. As a result, their ability to have their concerns addressed by the global bodies mandated to protect human rights and address conflict is limited.[8]

UNPO is dedicated to the five principles enshrined in its Covenant:

All members are required to sign and abide by the UNPO Covenant. UNPO members are required to be nonviolent.[10]

It should be noted that contrary to popular perception, self‐determination does not necessarily imply secession, separate nationhood, or even autonomy. It simply refers to the right of all peoples to freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. The exercise of this right can result in a variety of outcomes, ranging from political independence to full integration within an existing state.


The following listed as members by the UNPO.[1]

Original members are listed with pink background and in bold.

Member Date Joined Represented by
Abkhazia Abkhazia 6 August 1991 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia
Acheh 15 July 2014 Acheh-Sumatra National Liberation Front
Afrikaner 15 May 2008 Freedom Front Plus
Ahwazi 14 November 2003 Democratic Solidarity Party of Al-Ahwaz
Amazigh World Amazigh Congress
Assyria 6 August 1991 Assyrian Universal Alliance
Balochistan 1 March 2008 Balochistan National Party
Barotseland 23 November 2013
Batwa 17 January 1993 Community of Indigenous Peoples of Rwanda
Chin 15 July 2001 Chin National Front
Chittagong Hill Tracts 6 August 1991 United People's Party of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (JSS)
Circassia 16 April 1994 International Circassian Association
Cordillera 11 February 1991 Cordillera Peoples' Alliance
Crimean Tatars 11 February 1991 Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People
Degar-Montagnards 14 November 2003 Montagnard Foundation, Inc.
East Turkestan 11 February 1991 World Uyghur Congress
Gilgit–Baltistan 20 September 2008 Gilgit–Baltistan Democratic Alliance
Haratin 18 September 2011 Initiative de Résurgence du Mouvement Abolitionniste en Mauritanie (IRA)
Hmong 2 February 2007 Hmong ChaoFa Federated State
Hungary Hungarian Minority in Romania 30 July 1994 Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania
Inner Mongolia 2 February 2007 Inner Mongolian People's Party
Iranian Kurdistan 2 February 2007 Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran
Iraqi Kurdistan 11 February 1991 Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
Iraqi Turkmen 6 August 1991 Dr. Muzaffer Arslan
Khmer Krom 15 July 2001 Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation
Kosovo Kosova 6 August 1991 Democratic League of Kosova
Lezghin 7 July 2012 Federal Lezgian National and Cultural Autonomy
Mapuche 19 January 1993 Mapuche Inter-Regional Council
Nagalim 19 January 1993 National Socialist Council of Nagaland
Ogaden 6 February 2010 Ogaden National Liberation Front
Ogoni 19 January 1993 Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People
Oromo 19 December 2004 Oromo Liberation Front
Rehoboth Basters 2 February 2007 Captains Council
Savoy 15 July 2014 The Government of the State of Savoy
Sindh 19 January 2002 World Sindhi Institute
Somaliland Somaliland 19 December 2004 Government of Somaliland
South Moluccas 6 August 1991 Government in Exile of the Republic of South Moluccas
Southern Azerbaijan 2 February 2007 Southern Azerbaijan National Awakening Movement
Sulu Sulu Foundation of Nine Ethnic Tribes
Taiwan Taiwan 11 February 1991 Taiwan Foundation for Democracy
Talysh 15 July 2014 The National Talysh Movement
Tibet Tibet 11 February 1991 Central Tibetan Administration
Vhavenda 14 November 2003 Dabalorivhuwa Patriotic Front
West Balochistan 26 June 2005 Balochistan People's Party
West Papua
Zanzibar 6 August 1991 Zanzibar Democratic Alternative, in cooperation with the Civic United Front

Suspended members

Organizations representing nations may become suspended from the UNPO if they fail to follow its covenant.[11]

Flag Represented people Date joined Date suspended Represented by Reason for suspension
Aboriginals of Australia 11 February 1991 7 July 2012 National Committee to Defend Black Rights
Dene 19 December 2004 9 October 2009 Buffalo River Dene Nation
Burma 15 May 2008 13 February 2010 National Council of the Union of Burma
Buryatia 3 February 1996 13 February 2010 All-Buryat Association for the Development of Culture
Greek Minority in Albania 11 February 1991 7 July 2012 Democratic Union of the Greek Ethnic Minority in Albania
Cabinda 17 April 1997 18 September 2011
Chechen Republic of Ichkeria 6 August 1991 10 September 2010
Inkeri 17 January 1993 9 October 2009
Kalahui Hawai'i 3 August 1993 7 July 2012 Ka Lahui Hawaii
Karenni State 19 January 1993 t 7 July 2012 Karenni National Progressive Party
Khalistan 24 January 1993 4 August 1993 (suspension made permanent 22 January 1995)
Komi 17 January 1993 9 October 2009
Maasai 19 December 2004 7 July 2012 Maasai Women for Education and Economic Development
Mari 6 August 1991 9 October 2009
/ Mon 3 February 1996 7 July 2012 Mon Unity League
Nahua del Alto Balsas 19 December 2004 20 September 2008
Scania 19 January 1993 18 September 2011[12]
/ Shan 17 April 1997 6 February 2010
Tsimshian 2 February 2007 18 September 2011
Tuva Republic 3 February 1996 13 February 2010
West Papua 11 February 1991 20 September 2008

Former members

Some members of the UNPO have left because of United Nations recognition, autonomy agreements, or for other reasons.

Former members who became part of United Nations are highlighed with a blue background.

Flag Date Joined Date Withdrew Note
Aceh 6 August 1991 1 March 2008 reached autonomy agreement with Indonesia in 2005
Albanians in Macedonia 16 April 1994 1 March 2008 reached agreement on wider rights with Macedonia in 2001
 Armenia 11 February 1991 2 March 1992 Became member of the UN in 1992
Bashkortostan 3 February 1996 30 June 1998
Bougainville 6 August 1991 1 March 2008 reached autonomy agreement with Papua New Guinea in 2000
Chuvash 17 January 1993 1 March 2008
 Estonia 11 February 1991 17 August 1991 Became member of the UN in 1991
Gagauzia 16 April 1994 1 December 2007 reached autonomy agreement with Moldova in 1994. return 15 July 2014
 Georgia 11 February 1991 31 July 1992 Became member of the UN in 1991
Ingushetia 30 July 1994 1 March 2008
Kumyk 17 April 1997 1 March 2008
Lakotah Nation 30 July 1994 1 December 2007 followed by the declaration of the Republic of Lakotah
 Latvia 11 February 1991 17 August 1991 Became member of the UN in 1991
Maohi 30 July 1994 1 December 2007
Nuxalk 23 September 1998 1 March 2008
 Palau 11 February 1991 15 December 1994 Became member of the UN in 1994
Rusyn 23 September 1998 1 December 2007
Sakha 3 August 1993 30 June 1998
Talysh 26 June 2005 1 March 2008 rejoined 15 July 2014
Tatarstan 11 February 1991 1 March 2008
Tamil Eelam 11 February 1991 19 May 2009 Sri Lankan victory in the Sri Lankan Civil War in 2009.
 Timor-Leste 17 January 1993 27 September 2002 Became member of the UN in 2002


Secretaries General[13]

Name Term
Netherlands Michael van Walt van Praag (Netherlands) 1991-1998
Tibet Tsering Jampa (Tibet) 1997–1998
Helen S. Corbett (Australian Aboriginals) 1998–1999
East Turkestan Erkin Alptekin (Uyghurs) 1999–2003
Italy Marino Busdachin (Italy) 2003–present[14]

Executive Director

Chairmen of the General Assembly


See also


  1. 1 2 "Members". UNPO. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 "UNPO Organizational Structure". UNPO. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  3. "UNPO World Statesman.org". Worldstatesman. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  4. "About UNPO". UNPO. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  5. Barbara Crossette, Those Knocking, Unheeded, at UN's Doors Find Champion, New York Times, 18 December 1994.
  6. Tishkov, Valerie, An Anthropology of NGOs, Eurozine, July 2008
  7. Simmons, ed. Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization Yearbook 1995. Kluwer Law International. pp. 1–3. ISBN 90-411-0223-X.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 UNPO 20 th Anniversary Publication: Twenty Years of Promoting Nonviolence, Human Rights and Self Determination (PDF). The Hague, Netherlands: UNPO. 2011.
  9. Gluckman, Ron (1998). "World's wanna-be republics find a home with UNPO". Asiaweek. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
  10. Bob, Clifford (2005). The Marketing of Rebellion: Insurgents, Media, and International Activism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 47–48, 76–77.
  11. UNPO Covenant
  12. International Organizations N - W
  13. "Worldstatesmen International Organizations". Worldstatesman. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  14. UNPO Presidency & Secretariat, UNPO web site.
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