Alright, thank you everyone for coming. It's really a great honor and pleasure to have Ralph Bunche come and visit us in Bunche Hall.
Not the Ralph Bunche.
Not the Ralph Bunche.
So, Ralph is the grandson of the namesake and of this hall at UCLA. And he works in a really interesting field, which is dealing with questions of self determination. And as the general secretary, essentially the head, the director of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, which is based in Brussels, Belgium and works and advocates for, we will hear more about it, but works for groups, nations, people who are seeking greater political representation. So you guys heard about that, but I'm sure we could take questions on maybe some other tangentially related things. Ralph will give a brief presentation, we'll open it up. I unfortunately have to go to a doctor's appointment. So I'm going to do the first half hour, but Ralph is going to take his own questions, and we'll wrap it up.
Thank you Kal very much, it is really an honor. I'm speaking at the Bunche center about the work that I do. I'm really delighted to be here and grateful that you invited me to be here and talk.
Yes, so I think about the representations of people's organization, I'll tell you about, talk a little bit about what self determination and the right to self determination looks like in the 21st century. I think it is interesting that I'm talking here at the Bunche center, because of course, so much of my grandfather's life, was about self determination of peoples and about anti colonialism and trying to end the European Empire. And a lot of what's going on at the UNPO and the work that we do, is about that, actually, and it's about the remnants and sort of the leftover things and the New World Order that was created when the United Nations was formed. But it's about issues that were not fully resolved. And I'll talk a little bit about it and I'll try I talked to you about why I think the right to self determination is really very understudied, under focused nowadays. It needs greater attention. I think that's my main goal, as well as talk to you about the right itself and the UNPO Now. I, I hesitate to put stuff on the screen normally. Because you just want a lot of words, I end up being really boring. And if you hear me talk, it's really boring. So I just thought today, if we just do something a bit different, we can have fun with maps. So fun with maps, because I think it's interesting and actually one of the fun things about my organization and working here I've already worked. I was I was elected by the members of the UNPO and I'll talk to you about what that is. In a minute. I was elected by the members in September of 2018. And I took up the post in in January 2019. So it's very new, but actually in whatever that is, that's less than less than 16 months at the organization. I've learned that there are fanatics about how rubbish this map is. People who really care about that, and they geek out on it, they spend all their life on maps. And somehow they love my organization. And you understand it when I talk to you about it, they love it. And actually, you can tell a lot about self determination by looking at maps. So I'm going to find with maps on the screen, and I'll talk to you a little bit about my organization, and all of that. So this is the map of the world that you're all familiar with. I think you all know that this map is false is faulty, and look how Brtain is gigantic. It doesn't represent the geography of the world. I think we all know, that basic thing with the maps or wrong.
But, you know, we'll go through different maps and we'll talk a little bit about the organization. Before I do that, I just want to introduce the right to self determination to you. I, it's an interesting right. It's the foundational rights actually, if you look at the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights It is article 1 of those conventions. It is the first right the right to self determination, the people's is the right that was the foundational rights of the UN Charter. It's the right that sort of founded everything. And yet, it's the rights that you don't there are very little about that has very little development International, you don't really can't really find a really good substantive definition of what it is. You can find a broad category definition and I'll tell you what that is. But but but substance, it's not like the right to a fair trial on the right to peaceful assembly or anything like that, where you can look and see a lot of jurisprudence around these things, and really understand what the right means. It isn't a right that has that kind of content to it. What it has been said to me. It's in the treaties. It's in a great recommendation from the the what's it called the third committee so the committee, Elimination of Racial discrimination. It's very basic, right? It's a right of people's a group. A collective of peoples to control their economic, social and cultural development. And it's a right for them to choose their place in the international community. So all peoples have a right to control economic, social and cultural development and choose their place in the international community. The the subcommittee says that that also means a right to participate in public affairs at all levels. So there's an element of, of basic civil rights that underlie individual rights of public participation and engagement at the national level, and indeed, internationally. that underpins the right. But that's really it. Like if you look internationally, you look at all the different definitions of the right, there's not much there. There's a normal substance. from a legal perspective. I'm a lawyer, I'm used to picking up a treatise nice and big and thick and I can look at different case scenarios and figure out like when the right applies, it doesn't apply. It doesn't exist. You can't find that with the right soft termination. Instead, what you find our myth, lots and lots of myths around self determination. Three in particular, three that I think are really important. The first myth is that the right to self determination means an independent country. So you get that a lot from movements or self determination that people that I work with a lot is that right? Self determination means rights independence. It doesn't it means the right to control economic and social cultural development within whatever context that right can be, can be can be realized. That's what it means. It doesn't mean independence. And unfortunately, people think it also means because it's right independence is synonymous with separatism, war and violence, terrorism and all this kind of stuff. People to the authoritarians states like to paint, self determination movements with those broad brushes, separatism and war, all of these kinds of kind of horrible things. That's one of the big myths around it. And then the third method here, a lot of which actually kind of relates to my grandfather and his work in the founding of the nation's That it was a it was a right, that is limited in time. its relevance was relevant in this period between the end of the First World War and the Wilsonian sort of movement to create European new countries, and the colonization, the end of European Empire. And once that ended, and the iterations was founded, as it is no more right, soft termination. That it's been, it has been, it has been sort of realized in the international system. And I think that is one of the biggest myths, it's just not relevant anymore. But the IPO was founded in 1991, to come back with effectively those myths to highlight that the right self determination is still relevant. And we're kind of an interesting organization. So that's what you're about. So are we an NGO? No. Well, sort of, we have, we have NGOs, we have foundations, one is a US 501 c three. Another one is an NB it's a Dutch foundation. This is same thing as a 501 c three effectively we have those, but we're not an NGO. We are, I believe, a relatively unique thing in the international community. We are a non state actor to a certain extent, composed of, in some cases, state actors that are seeking sort of a new form international community that are trying to make the international order more representative of the diversity of peoples in the world, than this original map allows with 195 countries. We're trying to have a world that looks beyond the borders, these sort of manufactured borders, which are actually just historical colonial borders,
And to look beyond them and to create a different world order, and we were founded in 1991. It was very exciting. We were founded at the fall of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War. With this with this intention to create a new movement for change and the international community to address some of the fundamental unaddressed issues that the Cold War had for frozen - issues around minorities around indigenous communities around other peoples from around the world and created a system that wasn't working for everybody. And when we were found we were founded in the peace tablets in The Hague, or the international press was there and if you can look at the clippings, it was an alternative United Nations has been founded today. At that was what we were. We were founded as a different place for for underrepresented people whose whose governments were not adequately represented them internationally or domestically, to have a voice internationally. That's what we were that's what we were founded that is in many ways what we are today. And the aim was to cut through all of the various different types of groups that work for the for the right self determination, to be a place where indigenous communities, minorities, people in occupied territories, colonial territories, unrepresented states. They could meet and talk about their their their financial ground and fight for a new world order there was better suited to the right to self determination. And with that, I think we're a relatively new and special thing. Our three founding members with a Tibetan government in exile, the Uyghur people in China, you're hearing a lot about now in the concentration camps in China and the Estonian government in exile. The foundational basis of the organization was the the, the way in which the Dalai Lama was pushing a self determination movement in Tibet, the nonviolent means and methods of the veteran people in in against oppression, that that really is the foundational belief we will the Tibetan government in exile are the core member alongside you know, other other members, but are really there because of the inspiration that we drew from the Dalai Lama, who's was a strong supporter of the organization. We have a number of different members that talk to you about how you become a member and how you leave. So these are all our former members, we've always had about 40-45 members at any given point in time. In total, I think it's 120 members, over time, corresponding to all these different dots on the map, the the red ones flagging the former members, and the other ones are the current members. So with the former members, so you become a member by having a belief and one that can be substantiated, that your government doesn't adequately represent you internationally. I think that's the best way of putting it. Your right to self determination is not being fulfilled. And as a consequence of that, right to self determination not being fulfilled. When the government and the country in the territory that you're residing in, speaks internationally, they do not speak on your behalf. And using a Brussels expression that they love in Europe, particularly around Brexit, the foundational belief is that if you're not at the table, you're on the menu, you're not alone. And I think ultimately, that is what we're trying to get across that if our people are not at the table, because the government is not representing them, they are on the menu. They're being divided a feeling and you become a member, if you have that, and you can prove that you fulfill basic criteria of a covenant, you are adequately representative of your movement and your people. In some circumstances that means your elected government, Tibetan government in exile for example, they have elections now.
You could have a claims representative people in sometimes as a political movement that
of the members of the people but may not be the only political movement out there. But you know, you're adequately represented. And the purpose of your, of your of your organization is to seek a change to the lack of representation through nonviolent means.
Very important for me.
And in a way that doesn't subscribe to ethno nationalism. So the big example there's the Russian doll syndrome, they say an international community, you know, you have one developed state, and that state breaks up as you have another. And actually, we had that. So we were founded by the Georgian people, the Georgian people became independent. And as soon as they became independent, Abkhazia came out the other places too, but kazik came out and declared its own independence, the conflict ensued. And Georgia left the organization as opposed to the governor of Kazuya became a member. And so we're we're we're alive to that concept of the of the of the Russian doll syndrome and also to the idea that ultimately, there is no such thing as a state that is one ethnic, so we do not accept members who are seeking a mono ethnic state or territory, so something that would would act to the exclusion of others. So non violence, commitment to against more ethnicity and commitment to democratic democracy to the creating democratic institutions. Within whatever governance structure that you receive, you leave the organization primarily for one of two reasons. One, you've achieved what you wanted to achieve. So it's the only left because they became a country that you see more movement left because they became a country. Palau left because they became a country. So we have a number of countries that we kept that left because they became infinite countries. They got what they wanted. Others leave because they get the thing that they want. So Bougainville is a big one. We were right there with the Bergen villians. White up to the moment within got the guarantees of this referendum. And then once they had that referendum, they achieved what they wanted, which was the right to choose and once they achieve that right to choose, they were satisfied whether or not it came one way or the other. And they all knew that ultimately however they are now but when they were there with us, and we were there with them the whole way. And you know we're there with you, when you up to the point where you achieve what you want. But when we're not there with you the other way people need if they leave because they start violating the principles of European covenants. One of those great myths of self determination is that it's synonymous with violence and war and separatism. I believe it is a myth. There are plenty of great non violent movements around self determination around that. But we're not stupid. We're not polite, we're not naive. We know. There are a lot of very nationalist or very violent movements. And we also know that movements can start out looking great, but can be can end up being ethno nationalist or violence in some way. We know it can happen, it does happen. Happens a lot. So you lose, you leave the organization. Ultimately, when that happens, awesome, and that there's a process for it. So basically, the the members elect presidency 13 members. That presidency includes the treasurer and may actually it's like 11 members plus the general secretary, and treasurer, and we are oversee membership and compliance with membership does the secretary of staff of the organization that monitors on an ad hoc basis what happens with individual members and raises concerns and if concerns get raised, you leave the organization we quickly remove you from the organization. So, for example, with Iraqi Kurdistan, there were a founding member of the organization. So this was a really tough one for us. always fought. You know, I think you will know about Iraqi Kurdistan and the problems they had with with absolute disaster, but when they gave power, they started tightening the machinery of government against ethnic and religious minorities within the writing Palestine. So there was an investigation. That was a process and then they were ultimately expelled from the organization. So that's how you lead the organization. It happens a lot. Here, our current numbers, it's really worth saying here. The beautiful thing about our organization, we don't take government money. We're not funded by any government. We're not funded by anybody but Members, we are owned and controlled and funded by some of the most marginalized people in the world. It means that nobody gets paid very well
at all. Everyone works very hard. And we're always, always, always under financial strain, always constantly under financial strain. But it also means that we speak freely. We don't have people, whether it's donors or your independent foundations who seem great, but they still want you to kind of say what they want you to say, or government. They don't speak for us, and we don't change what we speak, how we speak. The other thing that's worth saying is that we are the lobby group for any one of these individual members. So the government of Somaliland is a member, the government of Taiwan is a member, the Tibetan government in exile is a member, the Uyghur people are members. The District of Columbia, Washington, DC - we're part of their state campaign for statehood. These are all members, but we aren't there as a lobby group for the member organization by being a member of the UNPO it it turns the the staff time and the focus of the organization towards your peoples. So while I work with the Tibetan government in exile, they are my member, they sit on my board, they're my boss. I work with all of the Tibetan movement. We work with, you know, the Hmong movement, also with the Khmer-Krom movement, we work with, you know, people from all over and from different sides. We don't just work individually. And that's, of course, it's a commitment for, for us to work on behalf of and for the peoples of UNPO.
So that's really important. And the other thing I just touched on at the beginning, is that we have a wide range of different groups seeking different things. And I am to know each of these individual groups have different aspects of the right to self-determination, but there are commonalities across them. And this is where I want to get into what 21st century self determination looks like. We have four different types of groups. Broadly speaking, we have unrecognized states. So ones that don't have a seat at the United Nations but effectively have de facto state control. Somaliland, Abkhazia, Taiwan, we had Kosova until last year, things like that. Territories, occupied territories, unincorporated or incorporated territories, federal territories. So Tibet, the District of Columbia, the people of Southern Cameroon, the Ogaden in Ethiopia, we have members who come from different types of territories, internal territories. Indigenous people, we the Khmer-Krom, we have the people of Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh, which is a group of many different indigenous communities within the Hill Tracts. We have the Naga people in India, we have the Ogoni in Nigeria, we have we have the Crimean Tatars, we have different indigenous peoples. We also have minorities, different minority groups. We have the Brittany people we have the Uyghur people, the Haratin which is the people in Mauritania who are still actually subject to slavery, or slave-like conditions in Mauritania, part of the anti slavery movement in Mauritania. we have the Haratin, we have the Hmong community in in Laos. So we, we have these different types of groups that have different things around self determination that can show you different aspects of the way their rights are implemented internationally, but across which you can see very interesting different aspects of self determination. So I'm going to start by talking about indigenous people. So in another map, so I told you about maps and with maps, I've talked for half an hour without getting to them sorry. This is a map done by a politician from Occitania, which is an Atlantic region of France, and it says, [speaking French], you're a good supporter of our organization, and we have this lovely mapping in our organization. It doesn't come out on the screen so well, but you can see all these little dots. First of all, of course, you can see the north-south, I mean, obviously, how ridiculous is we always flip it the other way around. And why makes a difference with space and in space, we're both North and South. So it flips it the other way around. And actually, it makes sense because diversity of the world's peoples is in the South . But you can see here, these little lines, I'm sorry, but these little lines here are all these different peoples of the world. And they've done their best, he's done his best to try and chart them. And I don't think he gets everyone. But he tries to chart the diversity of the world. And, and of course, if you look at this map, and you see the diversity of the world with all these different peoples, it doesn't have any correspondence to 192 states. I mean, there are thousands of different types of peoples in the world, many indigenous peoples, and the purpose of this map is actually to highlight, highlight the diversity of indigenous within this community of the world, and to show that. So, talking about indigenous people and how self determination is sort of realized for indigenous people, I would say that this is the one part of the right to self determination that is better litigated or however you want to put it, it's better fleshed out. We have better understanding of what self determination means for indigenous people than we have for others. It doesn't mean that there aren't problems. But there has been some great advancements, particularly as a result of campaigns that were led by various different organizations, including the UNPO, in the 1990s, we had a lot of positive change. So in 2000, we had the creation of a permanent forum on indigenous issues at the United Nations, a place where indigenous people have a voice, a seat, sort of a seat at the table, but a seat somewhere at the United Nations to talk about issues at the United Nations. So there was this forum and at that moment, we started to lose members from the from indigenous communities because they got that international recognition that they had they had lacked previously. So that was it. Then you have the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007. And this really has fleshed out different aspects of self determination about culture, about language, but also about governance structures in a way that hasn't for others. So as before, of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People, talks about a right to autonomy, or to self government in the internal affairs of indigenous peoples wherever they are, as a means of respecting self determination and it places an obligation on the government of the country in which the indigenous people are, or countries, indeed, because many don't, don't respect the national boundaries of the of the world order to allow for internal governance, self governance, and International Affairs, and many aspects related to land, land rights, and abilities to have a land right. And then I would say the biggest advancement has happened more recently in the American context and American as in the Americas.
So 2016 you have the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples, and this is a big advancement, I would say, or be it is a declaration or be there are still questions about its enforcement or all those kind of things. It's a very big one in terms of different things. Article nine of that requires the state, requires the state to respect the juridical personality of indigenous peoples and their organizations. So you have no right, you have the ability to disregard their, the existence of a juridical personality of those peoples. That's really strong. It doesn't apply anywhere else. Article 21 talks about autonomy and self government just like the UN Declaration vows. But it goes further it talks about including the ability to maintain Indigenous People's own decision making institutions and to participate directly in decision making that affects them. It gives them a guaranteed right at the table, guaranteed as much as the National declaration can guarantee but it's a really strong statement. And actually, something really cool happened in the in the creation of this declaration that took things even further. The government of Costa Rica, stepped out of the negotiations and gave the seat in those negotiations to their indigenous populations, and said, you represent us. And that was a really big step. It's the step that recognizes that when there's a decision making even at the international level about the indigenous communities, they should have that right to sit there and not the government. That's huge that Costa Rica has really done something great. And there's an article in there that also talks about respecting the treaties and agreements that indigenous communities come to, but it's still not perfect. I mean, the situation is not perfect. And there are many different sort of fault lines that are there as part of what's going on with these questions. So there's, there's a good strong understanding that identification, personal identification of indigeneity is that that person to decide. So it's with that person, that's very good, gives the chance for that to happen. But there isn't any definition of what indigenous peoples is, there's no concrete definition, and what's happening now internationally is that there's a split. And it's harming the ability to create great international solidarity amongst peoples, which is something that we're trying to fix a certain extent through our organization about who is indigenous who's not. You're indigenous, you're indigenous I'm not indigenous, you are indigenous. And it's easier in places like Latin America where you have the history there. But it gets really complicated in places where they've had migration patterns rather, in this big old landmass here it gets more and more difficult, because there's a question about who was there first, and lots of the issues around indigeneity are tied to the land, about history with the land. But what happens when you've had migration, migration patterns? At what point do you become an indigenous community? It's not decided. And so there's a lot of tension there about who's indigenous, who isn't. And that really does cause conflict. And then there's also I think, just ultimately, the biggest problem, which is that, you know, while we have these great guaranteed rights, and these rights are often tied to the land and land use and all those things. Ultimately, indigenous communities still have very little rights guarantees over the land. And that business interests are constantly driving encroachment onto indigenous land, everywhere in the world. I'm a lawyer, I used to do a lot of litigation and lots of litigation I did was around trying to combat land encroachment for indigenous people all over the world in Latin America and Africa and all sorts of places. And, and it's happening everywhere. And so these got these rights that are in there and with declarations that the rights in name only in many ways, and that I think, is the biggest challenge that you have. And then there's an additional challenge, which is the UN permanent forum on indigenous issues, which gave a voice to indigenous people. It's becoming increasingly restricted, it's becoming harder and harder to speak freely within this and other programs I'm gonna talk about the other forums that I'm gonna talk about that were created because of a concern within the authoritarian states, as to having people voicing human rights issues in these, in this forum. So like by China would say, though there are real moves to try and exclude people from participating to bully people, when they when they do participate in things like the permanent forum on indigenous issues, to attack them, to target them to take the family to arrest a family to do all sorts of horrible things, and to systemically reform United Nations to keep people out. And it's happening more and more. And so a lot of the gains that have been made with these declarations and with these things are being pulled back pulled back by business interests pulled back by the interest of authoritarian states.
Now minorities. You have maps of Europe
Thes ones are bit more official actually kind of kind of interesting. So this is map of Europe, you will know it is countries.
But Europe as a place of minorities, has done a really good job, I think of trying to build a new system to incorporate minorities into the constitutional order that exists in Europe. And I'm not just talking about the European Union, but I am talking about it. But not only. I'm talking about the broader framework that exists in Europe, around the around the the Council of Europe, as well as the European Union, to recognize mystech minorities. And what you have here on the screen is a very fuzzy version of regions in Europe. And the way in which European funding can get allocated to different regions of Europe, regions that represents sometimes big places where minorities are in the majority like in Brittany, like in Catalonia, I mean all over here. So like in Cornwall, here in Scotland, Wales, they they, they represent regions that are that are sub national. In some ways, they transcend boundaries. But unfortunately quite got there like the basket system
kind of switch off
from France, but that Europe has created constitutional systems to, to enable it. And this sort of multi level governance structure that exists in Europe. It's quite unique. You have institutional multi level governance, it's like it United States. So you have
the Council of the European Union, which is the elected members of the of the states.
And then you have the European Parliament, which sort of conforms to the sort of different regional groups, so a bit like the House of Representatives in the Senate, but then you also have a Committee of the Regions, which has another little bit of authority around for those who are limited authority around European decision making, it's more like advice and consent or in a way less consent, I would say, more of advice from regional representatives, regional representatives that don't necessarily conform to this thing. And, and are like the elected officials of Cornwall of Catalonia, whatever. And so you have this additional body that creates a space for regions that have like strong minority populations to exist. And then you have overlaid all of that. The European Council, so the Council of Europe is a is an international regional organization that covers not just the European Union, but covers, you know, all the way up
But Central Asia becomes because it goes all the way out.
And they have a convention called the framework convention and national minorities. And that framework convention guarantees protections, national minorities, around culture and identity and language. It gives minorities a right to own radio stations and have private education systems in their own languages. It requires states to not put up barriers between regions like the Basques, you know, whatever, reduces their barriers, but to stop those people from being able to see each other across across borders. A big deal in Albania and Kosovo where there was a big barrier there. So it rates, different levels of guarantees for minorities. In addition, you've got a really interesting thing with microstates. In the European Union, you've got San Marino, Liechtenstein, back the Vatican, and door, all of these sort of micro states, all accommodated within the constitutional framework of Europe, with agreements and treaties with European Union to allow freedom of movement and all of these other different things. And it's created this sort of very complex, multi level governance system that does a better job of recording the rights of minorities and pretty much anywhere else I would say. And it's, I think, for that reason that the European Union when the Nobel Peace Prize A few years ago, it was a noble Peace Prize for the contribution to bringing the end to the endless cycles of violence that we had in Europe for ever. So and part of that was this sort of multi level multi layered system of governance that allowed for better voice of minorities. If you go to Brussels. There are regional representational offices, composer people like lithium capital ads again and the South Tyrolean and all sorts of different minorities, which representational offices that are bigger than and more well known than the, the offices for the permanent representations to the European Union. If really, you're going to shoot one round about where the commission is, and you look around, and you don't see many of the embassies, you see all of these sub national embassies that exists, because Europe is given a voice for these people. It's really quite a quite a special place for that. So it's an interesting thing. But there are lots of problems in Europe still with minorities. A lot of problems around around around issues. One which is incredibly important is that minority rights movements in Europe are very ethno nationalist in content. There are lots of them that are incredibly ethno nationalists are incredibly anti new migrants. And incredibly and there's a big debate around resources and and how much the new migrants was also they get and all of those different things and while they get to particular languages, we don't have the same rights as a lot of this anti migrant sentiment that's coming out of these of these of these abolitionists movements. It's one of the reasons we don't have that many Indian people. So that's a big issue. But there are some really big issues that that are happening within within Europe, there are very relevant internationally, around how states look at minorities, France, Spain, Greece, all place the concepts of national unity above any concept of rights and certainly the concept of minority rights. So in France and in Spain, for example, I was at an international meeting the other day, where the Spanish Ambassador said there is no right to self determination in Spain, it does not exist. It only exists a rights to unity of the state. And as you all know from the news, there are big attacks on the Catalan independence movement, as a result of a real belief that they are there. They are there. The combating the independence and unity of the Spanish state. In France, there are NGOs that are being delisted constantly, I know some in survive in Britain that have been delisted because they are fighting for the cause of the people of Savoy or Brittany. And there is no concept of minorities in France, France even sign up to the framework conventional national minorities, it only understands French and French people. And so they are also considered against the unity of the Spanish state of the French state and anti constitutional. And in Greece, they only recognize religious minorities. When the end of whatever the conflict was with Turkey. There was the Treaty of Lausanne, the Treaty of Lausanne gave, gave recognition of religious minorities, but not ethnic minorities. And so in Greece, if you are an NGO, and you're working for ethnic minorities, you are illegal, and you're locked out. Actually, you're not allowed to continue to exist. There was a European Court of Human Rights case against Greece for this that the court was very strong, that said that they couldn't do it. But they implemented that judgment in the technical term. So they're continuing to prevent ethnic minority sort of existence, the recognizing the existence of ethnic minorities in, in them in,
in Greece. And that
is actually a really good reflection of what happens internationally for minorities. So there are so many countries around the world that refuse to recognize that there are such things as indigenous populations or minorities in their country. So there's a little bit from Laos right now in Laos, this refuse it even though it's the most multi ethnic country in the world, it refuses to recognize the existence of these different categories of people. And in doing so, they also use the language of France and Spain of anti-minority sort of sentiment this, there's the sense that the work that they're doing is there to combat the unity of the of the states. And a lot of that, that that language and rhetoric is being used in Turkey directly to target Kurdish people it's been used in in China to target the Uighur people or the Southern Mongolian people. It's being used all over to target minorities. And so in many ways, Europe is a microcosm, it shows what's good, and how you can address those issues, as well as it such as a threat. So that's the minority rights members of the European. Nothing about home a little bit. So this is great book. And this is this this slide I want to talk about whether or not we've actually finished the job of the colonization of the world. So have we actually done it? This is that myth about self determination, no longer existing as a thing of relevance. Have we actually finished the job of the conversation? This is great book I recommend you read. It's called How to Hide an Empire by Daniel Emma and he charts talks about the United States how the US was an empire which we never talk about. We talk about the United States as his place which ended Empire but actually it was an Empire itself. And he has this lovely thing he said, This is what you see in the United States. You look at the map, this is what you think I'd say to you. But it's not this is this giant mess with Alaska is almost as big as half of the United States here in the Philippines and all these islands and all these colonial parts, all of these different bits that were hidden in our constitutional order here in the United States that we didn't recognize existed, but they're still they're still fighting. Guam is just applied to be a member of the UNPO and, and it's there as a way of trying to, you know, push back against the fact that they've never resolve the situation in Guam. It's neither a state nor independent country. It's somewhere in between, you know, the people the District of Columbia, this is not the empire of stuff, but this is very tied to segregation under the I to keep African American voters off for this. This this week of Columbia is not a place where you are able to vote for a congressman that has voting power or a senator, no senator, you have a congressperson. But she has no rights to participate. And this is just one example. I think, actually of how Empire never really ended. There are loads of issues all over the world around around Empire. So just to think about the old European empires. So the UK in some ways, it looks like it's moving in the right direction. Lots of really interesting things have happened in the old British Empire. So you know what's happened in Canada, Quebec had a had a referendum, they voted to stay, but they were given a right to a referendum peaceful right to a referendum in the UK. So Scotland had a referendum. It didn't accept independence.
But it got a lot of additional evolution in the United Kingdom, Wales, the same lots of additional
bits of devolution, the islands and also different different islands in the British constitutional system, there's the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, all these different places, Gibraltar, and they sort of subsist within the British system without a voice in Parliament. And they have something there. They have some powers. But actually, those powers looks good when you had posted as part of the European Union because they had a voice through the regional representations and stuff. They had a voice in the European Union. But now that Britain is out of the European Union, they've lost that voice. And so there's a question in the United Kingdom, it looks really good. But now what, what's happened now? And then there's a question also about whether or not Brexit itself was a self determination. Was it a positive movement? A lot of people say to us, well, you must be very in favor of Brexit because it was a referendum and it was sort of in favor of the rights of the British people, you'd actually say with the English people. And bit of the Welsh, you know, pushing for independence from Europe. And maybe that's that's right. But it's mostly unrepresented. And people's organization type of deal because we believe that you should be at the table otherwise you get eaten and Britain decided to leave that table.
I'm afraid they're gonna get eaten.
So it's it's strange. And you know, France, France is super interesting. Still, it has Guyana, French Guyana, I was looking, I was just here the other day, you know, I was looking to see whether or not I can get my phone. But European Union has this great roaming thing, you know, anywhere you go in you, you run for free, fantastic to be in, in Greece, and pay the same rates as you pay in Belgium. Fantastic. And I was looking at the chart, you know, of where I could go where I can be. And French Guyana is the same as going to Greece, it's still part of France, you know, it's still part of the European Union. So France, you know, it looks at it differently, doesn't give that sort of national, you know, territorial evolution, that kind of stuff. It says we're all French, tough luck, and you're still part of us. But while France isn't so good at recognizing the rights of Britons, Many people disappointed people, the oxetane people to you know more devolution and more rights. It's a very centralized state. It is quite good with these territories. So recently you had New Caledonia, they had a referendum, fantastic, a peaceful referendum. They voted to stay, but it was a peaceful referendum. And then, you know, what is Empire? we talking about the end of colonialism. Okay, so is it just France and the UK and the bit of Spain or whatever is, is that is that really what we're talking about? But what about these bigger countries? You know, that came out of, you know, things. What about the Soviet Union? What about China? What about USA? Have we really dealt with those issues? And obviously, we haven't, because we had states with this map. You can see, well, Philippines got independence, Alaska became a state. But this is Congress to come out there Puerto Rico, what are we doing with it knows, and you know, those people don't have real representation in government. And so when you have a hurricane in Puerto Rico, you get the wrong Decisions, decisions that don't impact properly, the people because you're doing Thanks for the central government, you are not at the table properly, you're getting eaten. And you know that that's the issue United States. And it's an issue with a huge amount of racial dimension. All of these people who are disenfranchised, it's like 3.2 million voters, almost all of them are ethnic minorities in the continental European, the US context, majority populations, possibly where they are, but they can't vote 3.2 million people, it's the same number of people who are disenfranchised from federal disenfranchisement. And the majority of people are disenfranchised with federal disenfranchisement are minorities as we all know that too. And so there's like six point something million people in the United States who are actually legally disenfranchised, the majority of them ethnic minorities. So what's going on there have we really dealt with the history, the legacy, you know of these issues we haven't. And, and you can see that in Russia. You can see all these things that are happening in Russia all these frozen conflicts with Transnistria and Avkazia sample set here you can see the new annexation of Crimea, the attacks on the Tatar people, all of these things happening in Russia and it's unresolved. And the same thing in China. You know what's going on with Taiwan constantly being pushed the people, fewer countries are recognizing Taiwan today than they did before. There wasn't that many in the beginning of time. You're constantly pushing Taiwan, what's happening in Hong Kong. Constant moves and withdrawals hollaby in Hong Kong faster than the agreement actually was with the United Kingdom. And you can see what's happening as a result of what's happened with minorities within China, the Uighur people huge population of people being crushed by the government. We're not addressing those issues as it relates to the big powers. And then all of the other things that we thought we addressed in terms of giving, you know,
colonial peoples their rights, these issues are surfacing again as well. So we created a state called Indonesia. What, what is Indonesia? It's like it's an incredibly difficult place to keep together and within Indonesia. There are lots and lots of different peoples who've been absolutely persecuted for years in Malaysia. The Timorese, the East Timorese were persecuted so much to get the everyone got around and agree they should have independent states, the West path wins, you can see what's happening in the news they've been crushed. They don't believe they're part of Indonesia, they put they believe that they're part of the melanesian sort of group of people that they should, they should have an independent country or they should have something within within Indonesia that gives them more autonomy, more protections. You can see what happened. In fact, the beginning with with Bouganvillia, this is a great thing that happened. There was a peace agreement that actually allowed the Bouganvillians to have a referendum. Now we'll see what that referendum, the referendum, lead, say, but we'll see what it what it means for whether they get the independence they voted for, but still, it's positive step. And then you can see it all sorts of other parts of the world. We haven't dealt with the colonialism. We just we just took the colonialism of the British Empire or the French Empire, some other Empire and then just created a new form of local colonialism, a new form of dominance in Vietnam. You can see With starting with the Hmong people, you can see it in Laos. You can see it in around the Horn of Africa. You have Somalia and Somalialand. They voted to join together in 1950, something whatever it was, there's a dispute as to whether or not that that election really did express the will of the Somalialand people. But apparently the smaller people are not allowed to then vote believe that a union they voted to join. Why is that? The Yemen, South Yemen thing, same thing is happening in South Yemen. The claims of a forced merger with Yemen creates this, this this system, Ethiopia has been tearing itself apart for forever to try to, you know, resolve these issues of who is where and who gets what's you know, and West Africa has the same. You have a movement in Ghana in Western Togoland that is pushing for independence or more autonomy, because they were under the colonial system separated and then they were forced to be together. Actually, those people are not very happy with me because people That that was part of my grandfather's doing. But whatever it is, they're not happy. in Cameroon, you have the French speaking part of Cameroon and every English speaking spot for the camera in southern Cameroon or Amazonia. There, there's a huge question about whether or not they ever wanted to be together. And why are they not allowed to be separated? And there's a there's a big issue that's going on in terms of the French language and the use of language for the first use of French language in the English schools and the English courts in southern Cameroon, and now there's a conflict. And then in Nigeria, I mean, Nigeria is a place that it's an incredibly diverse and interesting country, where we've put together so many people in this federal structure, and there are questions about well, whether how well it can work out, these issues are still going on. So we talked about self determination of, you know, all of these sort of various different territories or people that were subject to colonialism. I think we've not resolved it, because these things are still ongoing. And then the final map I don't like Much less what I could find is that Yeah, so this final man, it's done by some Dutch guys, I think Theo or Andreas Hoffler, Bayer Ramo and Joe Jarvis, Portuguese European guys about unrecognized nation states and how they engage internationally. And it's just worth saying, again, we talked about it, but there are so many different faces sort of de facto. And they have different rights depending on what we don't know. There's not there's there's not much of a rhyme or reason to it. So here you have Taiwan, the members of the UNPO you hav Taiwan, Somalialand, and Kosovo and Abkhazia talks about those. You've got all of these sort of micro states don't necessarily have a seat at the United Nations. Some of them do, some of them don't. You have, you know, all these different microstates different recognitions of those micro states. We've got, you know, Northern Cyprus Cyprus
doesn't really go to bed obviously is occupied with governments. While you're
here, but if you've got Greenland, you know, the apparently Trump tried to buy it at the day. And you just have all this sort of different stuff, different respects for what's going on in there. So, you know, if you're from Taiwan, you can move most countries in the world will kind of recognize your passport. They don't really recognize your passport, they kind of do it. But if you're from Somaliland, nobody does. And if you're from Somaliland to go travel internationally, unless you happen to have another passport, you've got to go to Mogadishu to get your passport to get out. So you've got to go somewhere where you can get killed to get your passport to get out. It's crazy, that I recognize it occurs here. We're doing some crazy stuff in
situation of causes operates. It's quite an international government. There's a question about how they should be, you know, part of the appeal, but we're driving the people of our county and towards Russia by not recognizing their deployments but not recognizing their their passports For all the students who get accepted to university universities in Europe, they can't go to Georgia get a passport, we'd have had to go to Georgia to get a passport. But they can't do that. The second they do that get ostracized from their community, they never be able to come back. We disaster for them. But we don't do anything about it. So they just sit there, they get accepted, and they sit there, they can't go anywhere, they can go to Russia. So that's all they can do. Same with Kosovo. Kosovo is increasingly getting pushed into this little box, where you know, you could just have a turkey, or Albania. This is very European people, but we're kind of pushing them away from ourselves because we don't recognize the passport. So we have different levels of recognition. But the Northern Cyprus is basically known in the European Union and how does this work? So we have all these different levels of recognition of different peoples in the Netherlands, if you're part of it, some certain indigenous communities in North America, they'll add the issue passports they will accept those passports in you have American passport, I don't know if there's a rhyme or reason to it. And in terms of seats at the table, a lot of them are excluded and for bad reason. So you hear all this stuff about the coronavirus right now, I've been talking for about a year and a half now with the ambassador from Taiwan to the European Union. And he's a doctor. And he's, he's going crazy all the time. Because whenever these things happen, these international crises, Taiwan has all these expertise, all this money all these people, they have no seat at the table with with who China excludes them. And so as a result of that, we get less than perfect response to the crisis and he was fighting this for me for a long time. But sighs all the other things that that coronavirus is happening in guess what's happening again, we're excluding them from the conversation in Somaliland. Somaliland is there it does air traffic control, it fights against piracy. It does all these great things for the international community. It receives no aid. None. I mean, Tiny bit. But Somalia the squeaky wheel gets it all gets 800 euros per person or something like that, and somebody that's loyal and gets, you know, pennies. And it's excluded from the conversation. So what it does air traffic control what fights piracy, it doesn't necessarily have a real seat at the table to actually discuss those things. But there are some interesting things that are happening in Europe again, you're quite good at these things in Kosovo. They have they don't recognize Kosovo. But they've done they recognize that Kosovo is an important part of the fight against corruption and organized crime. It's really important because the Albanian mafia. And in recognition of that, they've taken steps to get cross over into different parts of the international community. So in the Council of Europe, Kosovo now sits in which is a corruption thing in the village commission just about independence of the judiciary and constitutional law. And I think in the set page, which is about the efficiency of justice, it sits there, like a member state. Now typically, if you ever see Kosovo has to sit with cost of a written here, and an asterisk. And it's always like this. This is typically Kosovo. Sorry, my handwriting because of an asterisk. And the asterisk is like Kosovo doesn't really mean Kosovo. It means a caveat under UN Security Council resolution, that that, you know, is really this being delegated by the UN to sit down. Okay, so that's a good step. They did that with the asterisk. But they took it one step further with the with the Council of Europe. And it was something amazing. They even got the Serbians to agree with this, which is I can't I can't understand how they did it, but I was there and we did it and somehow it worked. And they have this thing that they joined the Venice commission, they signed an agreement that said, when we customer will sit without the asterisk. And whenever anyone the viewer sees Kosovo, they must imply the asterisk. So we watching this see the asterisks is not really Kosovo because there was an agreement like you know, 300 years ago, whatever it will be in, this will go on forever. there was agreement, you know, back in the day that the asterick is actually still technically there. It's not there. And they've taken they've taken all these great steps to sort of practically bring people into the into the system. But you know, nothing is systematized everything is individual. And it just just depends on where you are in the physical world that you get about what you get, like somebody that is a good player in the international community has zero recognitions has no support why it makes no sense, partly because western states say that's an African issue. We leave the African African Union to deal with it. But the African Union doesn't want to deal with it doesn't want separatism and the Russian doll problem. It doesn't do that. And so we kind of just leave them out there, but it makes no sense. And so, you know, there is a big issue there with with their white stuff. Anyway, those are the maps, obviously some pictures of people, because I think it's boring. This
is a different General Assembly's It was like the first one and another one.
But this is who we are, we all get together try and address these issues. So look at these issues, and highlight that these issues are still relevant, and that there are lots and lots of outstanding questions that people need to look at and the We need urgently to look at these things because without it, we're never going to build an international society that works for all of the peoples of the world. And that addresses these fundamental problems that leads to conflict, and to show the world that we are not about violence and terrorism, and will and separatism and all of those different things, but then we're here for a better world. And that's where we are, as many of you who are academics, there are loads of different questions that are out there that we'd like to see better explored. When is there like to declare independence? Where is your right to unilaterally declare independence? There was a case from the ICJ about Kosovo, that that says that unilateral declaration is effectively not illegal, but there is no necessarily a right to it. So when is there a light switch? At what moment? does it become untenable for people's like in East Timor? to just stay within that state that they're in what moment is that happened to get them out to really important question no one's really looking at when a referendum is appropriate. In Spain, people are in jail for 20 something years finally referendum, but in Scotland, not. why? When are they approaching And then big question Scotland. When can you have another one? Is it the system though? The fundamental issues that you dealt with when you voted for independence, but you were part of the European Union? When you know that was there, we voted this way. And now we're not when do you get to, to do it again? So that's a big question no one's really looking at. No one really looks at what the impact is of having local control and not having a seat at the table. There's not a lot of empirical evidence around this stuff. Whether is I do a lot of work with the government of Cornwall, I have a consulting practice on the side, I do a lot of work with Cornwall, and in Cornwall and some other parts parts of the UK have commissioned academic studies have shown that greater control leads to better outcomes, people, better development outcomes, better use of resources and money. But there's lots of lots of people looking at that, as far as we're aware. The international level there's not a lot of a recognition of the of the value of it and when it should be used, and getting all the best practices about those stuff. And there's a lot of exploration into the how states can not recognize a country. But ameliorate the problems that happened to the individuals that how do we get around geopolitics and deal with people and stop hurting people with the stupid geopolitics we have? So how do we recognize passports and diplomas and license plates of unrecognized countries, we need to deal with that we need to understand it better. And then there's a really interesting initiative from the governments of Liechtenstein, to try and create international standards, sorry, international standards around using self determination as a tool for peace building. So recognizing that self determination is actually a good a positive. If you look at it in the process of building states, you might get a state that actually sticks together and doesn't get destroyed. But there's not a lot of look at that. We're always too afraid to look at self determination. There are lots of different questions. I won't go through because I've talked way too long.
And that's the that's the stuff that you do. That is who we are. I hope that was interesting. And we have 30 minutes of questions. Yes. Hello.
Yeah, a big part of what we do I have a person, we're very small, but we're everywhere you know, so I have a person in the United States, of course, the UN and a person in, in Brussels. And we think through with them how they can engage with these parts of the international community, on their on their issues. And then we have to help them build those strategies. And then with with academics, we got a lot of support from Oxford University and some academics there. We've built different training programs around nonviolent movements and and how to sort of progress non violent movements. We do a lot of different training and experience sharing between our members around questions about how to resist nationally. So international resistance, we do a bunch of that, and then we do another action. We help people with their security, digital security, stuff like that, because all of us are surveilled, and constantly constantly surveilled. A, Google provides some parts of our internet, our system and good part of Google's it reads all your emails, and it's bad part of Google. But the good part is original emails and can tell you when you're being hacked. And when governments are coming at you. And so they constantly tell us Yes, actually, today, government sponsored agents trying to get you today to fix it, they will never tell you who it is. But we so we help our members a little bit with that stuff, too. So training strategy, we kind of build capacities for them to do that kind of stuff. And then intellectual thought leadership, so trying to, to push these agendas, to create opportunities for people to speak International, their own voice. That's the kind of advocacy work that we do on a day to day basis that we think helps people.
I am most interested in Atsa and I'm wondering if that's a region that has approached the UNPO to become a memvber
or if they were and they were rejected.
So tell me about that region. So So I
in the garden gorko back. Yeah. So
we are aware of it, obviously, they have not approached us with membership and we don't seek members, the members come to us, and if they come to us, they come to us. And I was saying we had a little bit earlier.
I believe that our members talk to each other, right. So they have relations amongst each other and that they choose because they pay for the organization and money is limited. They choose to have the who's going to be the member
3000 euros he
you say that and for the government of Taiwan, whatever, traditional company or whatever, but for the Batwa in Rwanda, I mean, that's, you know, make or break stuff we cut them a break too honest. Every every year. It's a lot for some not A lot for others, but we have the same rate
to not allow for us to be sort of push them in the direction that they want member
government approach with you. And with that,
I tell you, the latest one is an application from Guam. So it's a perfect example. So we just got through this thing. So for Guam to apply for membership, a speaker of the house in Guam, tabled a resolution. And then said, I'm tabling this resolution. I'm interested. I'm interested in tabeling resolution, I want to learn more about your organization. So I give them information about the organization, what membership is all that stuff. She was interested enough, she tabled resolution. Now there was a public hearing that I gave testimony, and some of our members testify that and then that decision was taken, that they want to apply. And there's an application form, they fill out the application form. And we do a lot of back and forth to figure out different questions around the commitment for the covenant. It's like straightforward with grub as you would think. And we do a lot of back and forth. It takes on average about year and a half the process of application, and one every three makes it through at best. Yes. Thank you.
One one condition that we have here is land.
Where do you see self determination falling into place with climate change? And I look, because is it the case that we should be losing islands and therefore the conditions that allow?
You know, in my former life as a lawyer, I represent the Pacific Islands in thinking through legal strategies at the international level, on losing climate, losing land for climate change, you know, cure bass. It stopped your batteries you might not know flowers care about hereabouts. When there's a former it's flooded completely, and they've been petitioning and trying to get places like New Zealand and Australia to commit to giving them land so they can move for people. If you have no land for lots of people, you're you're you're, you're out some communities is not the case, right? So some communities persist outside of land. But when you think about indigenous populations, so much of our cultural identity is tied to the land, that the loss of land is basically genocide. And, and climate change is going to do that for people. Unfortunately, rising sea levels will destroy some people. That's one part of it. So that's the question is optimization. For others like Somaliland? It's a disaster. They are not there with a seat at the table to highlight their problem to get mitigation stuff, but my gosh, I mean, you should see it. I mean, they they're suffering more droughts and they've ever suffered. It's a terrible time right now. But no one is going to have a seat at the table. So there are there are two issues with climate change. It's always that like, if you're an unrepresented person, you're gonna you're the last one to get help, you know, and so
you're going to lose your land and then when you're an indigenous population, Your land isn't just losing livelihood. It's losing everything
I wanted to ask you about your current members and why Latin American indigenous people are on one and why is it called the project?
Okay, so that was a bit different. So that's in there to recognize that we that to not to not walk away from that we were doing so we did get for one period of time we got a foundation money to look at issues in Latin America. And that money paid for members from Latin America to be become members silicon that paid for them to be that but in having somebody else pay your membership due It takes a step away from the commitment to membership Actually, no money actually does speak something says something, you know, willing to put something on the table, say something. So while you're in that period of time when they have they were funded, we treated them like members, the money disappeared and some of their membership, the commitment disappear. And so this was a personal decision, I decided, when we were looking at it, it, it was a misrepresentation of the work that we were doing in, in Latin America. And, and you shouldn't have we like the Mapuche. He was separately a member but like Goryani and the Awa, in Brazil, like they, they really affiliate with us. We liked him very much, but they never sort of sat as members. And so we used to have them on the map. It was just, I felt that it wasn't real. So I grouped it into this project, because it was indeed a project. That will make sense. And it was a good I think it was a good thing for us to sort of go through and understand. Because it was it's nice to have the extra money I will say. But in that in doing so, the time of the staff was was put towards people who were not actually paid up, members of the organization and it Was resentment within the organization? Like, why are you doing this when you can be working on this? You know, like, Why? Why would you do money for this? And so I, I think it was a useful lesson to learn that it might not be the best way for us to operate. There are plenty of NGOs that get money to do good work. And that's great. They do their shows. But we have to be distinct and unique in the membership aspect, because that is where it's like group to enough to not hide that we did it. We didn't want to hide it. I don't, I don't want to hide it. But you can see members that are on there that are bloody awful, that we have to kick out because they were really bad. Actually, they thought they were good men were really bad. And some of our members said we have to get rid of them on the map. I think it's I think it's the sort of like I I want to have the history there. It's important
Just to follow up the UNPO works to recognize these peoples internationally, right, because, well, for example, I just came back from Panama right now. And there's several indigenous groups there that although they're recognized by their own government, that they can govern yourself separately. There. deprived, like drinking water access and sanitation facilities. And that's the case with like many indigenous people in America that although they're recognized, oh, you're in girls will neglected in like basic human rights. And so do you work just to recognize them, give them a seat of like places like the UN, or he also worked with the national governments to help their situation there.
So the primary focus of the organization is is raising the ability of these people to speak internationally the primary focus, but
so, so yes, but that's mainly a capacity issue. We do capacity building and training to give people the skill sets to do things like nonviolent resistance nationally, and we provide advice and support we have loads of cool academics do lots of worker unconstitutional reorders and stuff. And we help apply that that knowledge we're always growing our academic network, we help apply that to people. So we kind of act as a clearinghouse and that domestic stuff, they'll come to us or to us. Yeah, I can tell you about these different models in these countries. Maybe you want to use that. And then I'll put you in touch with the right people. And I often put in touch with the right people, that's really good. So a lot of international human rights organizations might not necessarily want to work with a specific group, because they might not know them, but they know us. And so we act as a conduit. They know you want to work with these guys. And they're bigger, more money. I mean, you know, if you're talking about indigenous in Latin America, you know, there's lots of Dutch Dutch organizations that have huge amounts of funding from the Bucs government, the WEF, in Latin America, and they've got much more technical skills and knowledge and all that stuff than we do. We have to know who we are. So we'll put them in touch, you know, go work with them. That's kind of how we do
Sometimes great, sometimes terrible,
So we do have echo status, and we will never get echo. So there are too many countries that don't like us to get echo success status. I'm talking very specifically about China, but also about other countries, China in particular, but others too. They will, they will never allow us to have economic status. So we do not have a seat at the table ourselves. I think that's an issue. But the UN staff are really sympathetic. Incredibly, so I would say. And again, for that same reason, as I'm talking about with other international NGOs, they come to us in the knowledge that we work with the right people. We know the right people, we vet them. And if if they transgress on the covenant stuff, we're pretty fascinating. So we help build those bridges at the staff level. And then with other NGOs who do have echo successes, we help we help our people work with us. People
says it's a very complex relationship with with the UN. And right now it's exceptionally complicated because
all of the great games, the permanent forum on indigenous issues, the minority forum talked about that the minority for these gains are part of campaigns that we were part of not the exclusive reason for it. But we were part of that gave a voice to the international to people are under threat right now. Led by China, very much. China, helped in a great fashion by the United States withdraw from the Human Rights mechanisms hugely helps.
That means that the United Nations is becoming less and less a place for people and more and more place for states, really for states. And so now we just released a book called compromise space, which is talking about how your collisions now is a compromised space. Our people are regularly arrested tax threatened for working with nations it happens to me personally, it happens in my own Organization we've been we've been hacked, broken into, attack many different ways threatened the lights off, because we work in isolation. And now going in that building, like entering the Viper pits is a dangerous place to be. And so we have a very complicated relationship because we are trying to highlight that and to change.
So following up on that, it seems that the
larger picture is when you say, giving unrepresented nations and people a seat at the table, there are lots of different tables. So, how do you navigate what those tables are and secondly,
is it a, is it a sort
of self evident truth that some of these rights are inalienable and who draws that line?
What authority Are you
Yeah, no. Okay. So that's a really good questions. There are so many different tables and so little time It depends a so with somebody land, let's say it's a great example. We know that everything is nice, so far away from that. But there are different tables with EU African cooperation that actually helps divide up the US pot of money and where it goes. And we're trying to find them a place there at those at that specific table. It's very individualized. So we do that a lot very individualized. So some of our members will never want to go to a minority forum, even though they might easily consider themselves minorities, because they believe that they are indigenous peoples, and the by claiming minority status, the state would then take that away from university had one just left. And so we let them sort of guide us there and then we help them get at that table, that specific table. So that's on the rights. Yes, we argue that the rights of dissemination is a foundational rights and special human rights lexicon. Every single state has agreed to it. That right is incorporated because of your agreement to it in your national constitutions, and that you all have an obligation to respect that right? And so yes, we consider enable, we consider it foundational. And we argue that none of the other rights that exist around any other flights of freedoms and whatnot, will have effect. True effects without backflash. Right. They will
how kind of international finance and IMF loans and World Bank and how all of that impacts sovereignty and self determination.
So, it's out of the scope of a lot that we do at the uncap I will say, because it's so bloody complicated, and it does. absolutely vital to you. I can talk about my personal experiences. Because it's a really good question because it's one that we've been talking about a lot recently, and I just don't know how we can get fully engaged in it. I was in Liberia. I was the The lawyer for the Minister of Finance, Liberia, and part of my job was, was to eradicate the external debt. Actually the rough part Junior my father helped Liberia get into you know, he was the banker for Liberia. So I get there and everyone knows him and looking at contracts with frickin JP Morgan, and I'm thinking that was my father's contract.
And how do we get through that? We actually did it. We eradicated the external debts 100%.
Now, there are two stories to tell about that, that really talk about sovereignty, one who's behind the that the World Bank and the IMF, the US if you don't get the US you don't get debt relief.
And they had no interest it was George Bush, and nobody ever done it. Nobody's ever replicated. This is the first time ever happened eradicated. Excellent. It was not going to happen. In her infinite wisdom, and she's brilliant. got on a plane. met with huge Intel shook hands and scared the heck out of US government, they're gonna lose the best ally they have in West Africa. And weeks later, guess what? We have these negotiations back on. So that sounds great. But one of my jobs in Liberia was to negotiate a $1.6 billion mining agreement with China Union for the biggest lie, you know, the mine in in Liberia. Now, those two things are tied together with a bank. So loss of sovereignty. And then with the IMF itself and the World Bank. There were conditions, conditions or reforms. I'm very proud of that when I was in Liberia. I helped reform the foreign investment laws, the tax laws to combat corruption in big concessionaire mining. I was very proud of new public financial management rules that we helped put it. But we only did it because the IMF told us that was it. There wasn't there wasn't a conscious decision. And if you went to Parliament, it would be We have to do this
the first two times that
it was the same as possible I was in Costa Rica for years with the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe. And crossovers master is united states and European Union. I'm sorry to be so frank about it, but it is and so many decisions were taken railroad, your word railroad through RAM, whatever is through Parliament,
at the behest of the international community
is a new form of colonialism. It There is no doubt about it. And China's up to it I should have talked about that's a really, China's up to it with its belt road initiative. It's crushing minorities everywhere it goes with his buddy thing if the disaster we've been up for it forever, in the West. It's a new form of flooding as I've actually talked about it, but that's where you go with it, guys. I don't know
given the recent demonstrations in Hong Kong
Regarding your future, or if there's any, officially any members in your
lots and many, where we talk a lot with the people of Hong Kong in the movement in Hong Kong
Yeah, many questions about membership. It's interesting, you know, they're in such a delicate place. We don't we, we, if people apply, they can apply. We've given people their, the how they would do it.
But it's such a delicate moment that I think it's hard for them to sort of even think about something like this, like it's so like, Okay, great, but things have to calm down before we could even think about doing that. So we do a lot of work anyway on China. I should say. Another reason i is tactical, that we don't take money from people. But it's also practical. We deal with big parents, and we have nothing nice to say about any of them. Right? So we deal with United States we deal with European Union we deal with, we deal with Russia, China, wherever And we criticize them all away, all of them. And it's always about the big powers. So, when it comes to Hong Kong and China, we talk a lot about Hong Kong, to be honest, because it helps us talk about our other members. And so the benefits of them for membership. I mean, they kind of get it for us anyway. Does that make sense? I don't know if that makes sense. But I would love it. Hey, I would really like because it's such a I mean, we're there with as much as we can be. it's it's a it's a really horrible situation. And we do talk to a lot of the student leaders, whenever they can get out whenever they can come to to Europe, we are supposed to talk to them and we put them in the right direction whenever we can. Just my understanding is that passion
for Hong Kong dependency still kind of small right now, and particularly a lot of people. There's two different spectrums, one favors, you know, staying, the returning back to normal and the one that you know, encourages people What's the voice more and then also to participate in politics
and also the government's army.
And right now with the crash report, just very, very small. And it just looks at near future.
super interesting guy to say it. We're not an independent organization. We're total domination organization. So we're neutral asked that question. We just want people have a right to choose. And so that internal political divide might be a divide for why you might join the EU MPL that isn't a divide about why we would work on it. Let me give you two, like pretty concrete examples about it and one of one relates to Guam and Guam membership there, there is a movement of the Chamorro people in Guam, to have a referendum to exclude that would exclude anybody about the Chamorro people to talk about the future of independency. One, there's another movement for statehood, and there's another movement for the status quo. And there was lots of like debates about within the guamanian Romanian legislature, about like, which group would be represented by new in the European Union peers interest. And actually I said very directly, that it's up to you guys side. We wouldn't accept that for nationalism, but we will accept the rights choose to figure it out. And I don't care if you want independence or to incorporate with United States or to stay where you are, if that's the exercise yourselves termination of happy. Another example of that recently happened in Taiwan, you had these new elections in Taiwan, and the Prime Minister, the one in the political party, one was very pro independence.
a staff member of mine was drafting a press release celebrating that pro independence movements wind and the people who wanted to integrate with China didn't win. And I had to rip it up. And I said, No, we can celebrate the fact that Taiwan has great elections, and the fact that Taiwan holding those elections, stands, you know, separate from a lot of China and also You know the world, but their right to choose their right to choose. And if in holding those elections, a pro China party one that is a un po positive choice. I personally would think that's a stupid thing to do, because it's not such a great country to be to be to be under. But you have that right to make that choice. And that's what we stand for. We stand for that, right? That makes sense. It's a weird like, a very fine bit, but it's actually really, really important to how we operate.
And the wind State Arts and like the first of all, you said one third getting license to do and then separately can be gone states that are not part of your membership that you might try to court to become members or, you know, that are making political decisions to not be members Why?
So few things. One, it's not always only states so not only unrecognized state We have those, of course, it's people's movements and others. So that's one bit. The other thing to say is that we don't court members, they come to us, we don't have the capacity of the time, it's about us. And if we were to go out there and sort of like hustle for members, we'd be making these promises that we just can't keep. So we just don't do it. They come to us, they, they, they they sort of taken relieving in that kind of way.
Why become members, so
will not be accepted membership if you fight if you are, if you are A). not fully representative of your people in some way. You have to be the elected representative a, it could be in your circumstance that proper elections are impossible. There are two separate movements that you are adequately representative movement, go for it. So that's one bit. Then there are the negative criteria. You cannot have violence that means a change. That doesn't mean that you can't have arms. Of course, Taiwan has arms. The District of Columbia has arms. You know you can you can Use, you could have arms for protection, but you can't use it as an interchange. So no positive use of violence as a means of change. No ethno nationalism. So you cannot have an F load you haven't can't have a desire to kick the people out
and a commitment to democracy.
That's that's those are the basic criteria.
Thank you. So much. Thank you!
Transcribed by https://otter.ai