Convention on unrepresented nations begins

ISOLATION: The UNPO's secretary-general decried Taiwan's exclusion from global bodies, which has deprived the public of their rights and benefits

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sat, Oct 28, 2006 - Page 3

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) yesterday started its three-day annual general assembly in Taipei, the first time the organization has held the meeting in Taiwan since it was established 15 years ago.

The theme of the convention is "A New UNPO for Challenges of the New Century: Raising the Voice of the Unrepresented."

In his opening speech, Marino Busdachin, secretary-general of the organization, praised Taiwan's democratic achievements, saying that the nation's leaders and its people should believe that its democratic accomplishments have granted it a legitimate standing in the international community.

He said that the exclusion of Taiwan's governmental agencies, civic organizations and individuals from the activities of the UN, was unjust, depriving the Taiwanese of their fundamental right to benefit from and contribute to the duties of the UN.

Busdachin expressed doubt whether China would undergo a similar democratic transition.

"China's fear today is that self-determination could become the new norm of international relations. China has feared that the doctrine of `humanitarian interventionism' might supplant the doctrine of state sovereignty," Busdachin said. "China has exploited this war against terrorism in order to justify its repression of East Turkestan, Tibet and Inner Mongolia and in order to soften the criticisms and protests of the international community. This is particularly true of its policy against Taiwan."

The UNPO is hosting its 8th general assembly in cooperation with Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. Participants at yesterday's opening included the vice president of Taiwan Foundation for Democracy Maysing Yang (楊黃美幸) and UNPO chairman Goran Hansson.

UNPO, established in 1991, aims to speak for the countries or the peoples that are not recognized by international systems and the UN. The headquarters of the organization is in Hague, the Netherlands. The organization has 63 members, representing more than 250 million people across the world.