Shadow UN Marked Founding Anniversary with New Campaign
12 February 2009: The Unrepresented Peoples and Nations Organization (UNPO), widely known as the shadow United Nations body, marked its founding anniversary this week with calls for new attention to the rapid rate of global environmental destruction, which threatens the survival of some of the most vulnerable peoples in the world.
February 11, 2009, marked the 18th anniversary of the founding of the UNPO at the Peace Foundation at The Hague in 1991. With an original founding membership of 15, the organization now boasts a membership of over 60 worldwide, whose voice are not represented in major international fora and decision-making process such as at the United Nations. The UNPO’s membership consists of organizations from indigenous peoples, minorities and unrecognized or occupied territories, who are committed to “protecting and promoting their human and cultural rights, to preserve their environments and to find non-violent solutions to conflicts affecting them.”
Among many of its core objectives, the UNPO chose the issue of environments as this year’s special theme to promote environmental awareness with the launching of the UNPO Day of Action “Earth, Exploitation and Survival.” The campaign aims at highlighting the destruction of the environments as they relate to the challenges and suffering of indigenous people, many of whom are its members. The campaign is now launching an online petition calling for world citizens to support its cause at http://www.unpo.org/content/view/8278/236/.
Despite its relatively recent inception, the UNPO has a membership spanning from all continents. The organization is now widely regarded as an alternative world body. Members of the UNPO from Burma include the Chins, Mons and Shans. The Chins are represented by the Chin National Front when it was formally admitted to the organization in 2001.