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UNPO’s Symposium on the Right to Self-determination in International Law

(Oct. 06, 2006)The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) is a democratic, international membership organization, established in 1991 in The Hague by indigenous peoples, occupied nations, minorities and independent states or territories.

UNPO has now 63 members who have joined together to protect their human and cultural rights, preserve their environments, and to find non-violent solutions to conflicts which affect them.

UNPO provides a legitimate and established international forum for member aspirations and assists its members in effective participation at an international level.

In today's world, over 90 percent of conflicts are intrastate. UNPO was founded and designed to fill the gap left by today' s international system and its institutions.

UNPO’s Symposium on the Right to Self-determination in International Law

29 September – 1 October 2006

The Hague, the Netherlands


Bearing in mind the positive development of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including its Article 3, by the Human Rights Council;

The participants of The Hague Symposium underline that the principle and fundamental right to self-determination of all peoples, as enshrined in the UN Charter, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and as firmly established in International Law, should be enjoyed universally without any distinctions.

The increasing recognition of cultural and national diversity and identities is linked to a better understanding of self-determination in all its aspects and is essential to the promotion of justice, peace and freedom worldwide. Without this realisation, self-determination may continue to generate false expectations and illusions that can lead a just cause into an unnecessary and dangerous "trap".

The development of the right to self-determination and its feasible and possible applications is closely linked to the full participatory democratic processes, respect of rule of law and the international bill of rights.

In International Law, the right to self-determination has only been taken into consideration as the external right to self-determination in a few defined and insufficient cases, such as the decolonisation process, disintegration of federative states, and ending of a military occupation of one state by another state.

The right to self-determination can now start to be considered as "in conformity with principles of International Law, as it develops". This opens up a process to revise the entire matter from a different perspective and in a broader context, taking into account the increasing acknowledgement of interdependence around the globe.

Indigenous peoples must no longer be discriminated against in relation to other peoples or nations. In the absence of universal rules and their consequent applications, a just and fair solution has to be found for each specific and particular case.

Participants at the Symposium call upon;

the United Nations General Assembly to adopt the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;

the United Nations to reconsider and revise the principles and procedures related to sovereignty and self-determination and establish an ad-hoc committee with the main duty to deal with issues of implementation and practical consequences of self-determination in new situations that arise after the decolonization process;

Intergovernmental and Regional Organisations to guarantee the indigenous peoples and minorities participation with observer status;

National Parliaments to endorse and adopt a resolution to enlarge and improve the equalisation of human, civil and political rights of indigenous peoples and minorities, to call upon the International Organisations for the equalisation of rights in an international law system of guarantees; and

National and Regional Parliaments to allow for hearing procedures with peoples concerned with a view to adopting and endorsing resolutions. (boxun.com)

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