On 14-15 September 2018, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) held an Extraordinary General Assembly in Saint Gervais-les-Bains, Savoy. During two days, Members’ delegations from around the globe gathered to vote on important matters for the organisation’s future, as well as discuss past and future activities and strategies with themselves and the Secretariat.
14 September – First day of the General Assembly
UNPO’s President opened the General Assembly with a discussion of the agenda. A minute of silence was then observed in remembrance of the victims of Iran’s recent attack on the PDKI’s headquarters, in Iraq. Somaliland and East Turkestan Representatives also took the floor to make a few remarks on the current situations of their people in their respective nations. This was followed by the “Flag Ceremony”, during which new UNPO Members are accepted; this year Representatives of Ambazonia, Madhesh and Western Togoland performed the ceremony, signing the UNPO covenant, exchanging flags with the UNPO and delivering a short speech on their people’s struggles. The Secretariat then took the floor to discuss the current situation in the office and their upcoming priorities, after which the floor was opened for questions and comments.
In the afternoon, and following an intervention by Honorary President Ledum Mitee (a former UNPO President), the new proposed Secretary General introduced himself to UNPO Members and presented his vision for the organisation. The decisions to terminate the previous General Secretary’s contract and accept the new General Secretary were then unanimously passed. This allowed for an exchange to be held between UNPO Members, the General Secretary and the Secretariat on how to make UNPO more efficient. The session concluded with a presentation of the proposed amendments to the UNPO Covenant in preparation for the next day’s vote. In the evening, Members’ Representatives were treated to a traditional meal by their Savoy hosts.
15 September – Second Day of the General Assembly
The General Assembly reconvened and began with a Flag Ceremony for the Bellah, who had been unable to attend the previous General Assembly. The (interim) Treasurer then presented the UNPO Financial Report to the Members, and the President raised the subject of the organisation’s Board election. This was followed by the amendments to the Covenant based on the changes proposed by the special committee on the topic. Following debate and space to raise concerns, the changes were adopted by UNPO Members and the General Secretary thanked Members for their efforts. The floor was then given to the Oromo Representative to discuss the recent, positive changes in Ethiopia, followed by the Somaliland Representative’s speech on UNPO and its future strategies. Representatives from Sindh, Kabylia, Ambazonia and Western Togoland also spoke on their peoples’ struggles and ambitions, as well as their hopes and expectations for UNPO. A resolution was passed on the case of anti-slavery activist Biram Dah Abeid as put forward by the Haratin Representative. Finally, the Representative of Savoy was thanked for his people’s hospitality and efforts in organising the GA; the Secretariat was also given a vote of thanks for their commitment to the organisation, especially during difficult times. The General Assembly concluded with the President’s thanks to all involved.