Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization

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The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), initiated in 1990 in Tartu, Estonia,[1] and formed in 11 February 1991, in The Hague, is an international organization of political organisations and governments representing "indigenous peoples, minorities, and unrecognised or occupied territories". The organization educates groups in what channels to use to make their voices heard, and helps defuse tensions so that frustrated groups do not turn to violence to gain attention for their demands. Some former members, like Armenia, East Timor, Estonia, Latvia and Georgia, have gained full independence and joined the United Nations.[2][3] Despite the "UN" in its acronym, UNPO is an NGO and not an agency of the United Nations.

Contents

Founding

UNPO was conceived of in the 1980s by three leaders of separatist movements in China. Michael van Walt van Praag, long a lawyer for the 14th Dalai Lama, wanted to provide legal expertise for the leaders of aspirant states. Tibetan activist Tsering Jampa, and Uyghur separatist Erkin Alptekin were dismayed that Yasser Arafat and the Palestinians were getting more attention than they were getting, so they decided to create a united organization with van Praag, that would publicize the various independence and autonomy causes during increasingly common periods of separatist violence in the relevant areas. UNPO chose for its founding headquarters in 1991 The Hague in the Netherlands because of the local support, where popular postcolonialist feelings led to the renaming of several streets after the various states of the dismantled Dutch Empire. A key UNPO goal was to replicate the success of the 14th Dalai Lama's propagating of the Tibetan independence message, and they often used his name for their own publicity in the early years of the organization.[4]

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