The UNPO General Assembly, which took place on 21 and 22 April 2023 in Barcelona, began with a conference on the self-determination of peoples, entitled “Conversation on Re-imagining Self-determination in the XXIst Century: Challenges and Opportunities” by experts, academic advisors and professors from UNPO’s partner universities.
The objective of this conference is to launch an international debate on the struggle of unrepresented peoples for self-determination and the full exercise of their right to self-determination. This conference highlighted political issues, civil, social and cultural rights, and in particular the struggle of peoples to dispose of their own natural resources and to fight against the systematic plundering of the wealth of their lands.
In recent years, self-determination has become the central theme of UNPO thanks to the insistence and perseverance of some members, notably Kabylia.
The right to self-determination is enshrined in the United Nations Charter, which states that all peoples have the right to determine their own government, independently of any foreign constraint.
The UNPO has successfully transformed itself from a mere international forum where unrepresented nations and peoples could come together to advocate for the protection of their peoples’ human rights and persuade governments and international organisations to listen to their concerns and act on them, into an international organisation claiming the genuine right to self-determination.
During the ensuing debate, the Kabyle delegation raised a major problem relating to the ratification and non-application by certain States, notably Algeria, of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Article 3 of the declaration stipulates: “Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of this right, they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development’, however, indigenous peoples, in defending their rights, find themselves victims of repression, harassment, assassination, torture, rape and often treated as terrorists, as is the case in Kabylia, where the Algerian colonial regime has resorted to modifying the penal code (Article 87bis) to criminalise any political act or defence of human rights in Kabylia. This problematic gave rise to a rich debate within the members of the UNPO, during which Kabylia, supported by other members, submitted a resolution that could possibly remedy it.
The afternoon of this second day was devoted to the debates and the adoption of resolutions resolutions submitted by the members on their situations.
For its part, Kabylia submitted 6 resolutions The main one concerns the condemnation of the Algerian regime for all serious violations of human rights and crimes against humanity committed in Kabylia. The delegation took the opportunity to present the EPU/UPR (Examen Périodique Universel / Universal Periodic Review) report which details the actions of the Algerian colonial power and the dramatic situation in Kabylia.
This resolution urges the UNPO to do everything possible to sanction Algeria severely while obliging it to stop the current repression, to release unconditionally all Kabyle political prisoners, to stop all legal proceedings against militants and activists of the Kabyle cause, to annul all arbitrary sentences inflicted by the Algerian injustice against peaceful militants, and to repeal law 87bis in order to rehabilitate the MAK in its rights to struggle peacefully for the exercise of its self-determination. This resolution was unanimously adopted by the members of the UNPO.
The other resolutions and proposals submitted aim at better organising and structuring the UNPO in order to make it more efficient and to respond to the collective expectations of its members by carrying out strategic projects, in particular the implementation of decolonisation projects, which is the ultimate solution to free ourselves from colonial domination.
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