May 13, 2008

The Missing Delegates: Opening the World Order to de facto States


Opening the World Order

to de facto States

Limits and Potentialities of de facto States in the International Context 

De Facto States Conference

15 May 2008

European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium 

                           VIEW CONFERENCE VIDEO

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) together with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), Nonviolent Radical Party (NRP), and Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD), held a conference on de facto states last Thursday, 15 May 2008 in the European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium.

The event brought together officials from unrecognized Governments with the main aim of creating and sustaining permanent mechanisms of involvement and consultation of unrecognized state entities in the International Community. A selected group of academics, officials, experts, and representatives of de facto states debated a broad range of issues, bring to the table diverse perspectives.  

Prominent contibutors to the event included Graham Watson, Member of the European Parliament and Chairman of the ALDE Group and Marco Pannella, Member of the European Parliament and Leader of the Nonviolent Radical Party, and Marco Cappato, Member of the European Parliament. They were further joined by Michael Kau, Representative of Taiwan to the European Union and Belgium, Maxim Gunjia, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia, Mohamoud Daar, Representative of the Republic of Somaliland to the European Union, Scott Pegg, Associate Professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Marino Busdachin, UNPO General Secretary.  

The conference was a one-day event consisting of three panels, with the first panel addressing the international dimension of de facto states and each speaker approaching the function and practice of de facto states under International Law and in the International Community.  

Next, the second panel approached specific issues affecting de facto states, especially concerning health care issues, economics and security. Again, the speakers were comprised from a range of different sources, including academic, officials and political experts. Topics of interest included the challenges surrounding formal trade agreements, obtaining financial assistance from international institutions, and reducing security risks. 

Finally, the third panel addressed the question of Democracy and Good Governance in de facto states, and the challenges faced to preserve these ideals. This portion of the conference focussed on the complexities of maintaining human rights standards, a strong civil society, and a working level of democracy in states that are politically isolated and unrecognized.

The conference was a tremendous success, as it concluded with the adoption of the UNPO Declaration on De Facto States by the representatives and speakers present and a strong resolve from all present to continue pursuing opening the world order to de facto states.



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Below is the full text of the adopted Declaration: 



- Declaration -

Recognising that beyond the confines of the world’s internationally recognised State borders exist entities without official recognition as States, yet who possess many or all of the traditional empirical criteria for statehood and sometimes even function as States in international fora.  

Recognising that these de facto states may have their own democratically elected government, political system, laws, judiciary, police force, defence force, currency, foreign representation, or all of the above, independent of any officially recognised State in whose (claimed or sovereign) territory they may lie. 

Recognising that many sovereign States are not in favour of opening up the World Order to de facto states. 

UNPO has convened this conference, not to address whether or not these entities should be independent and sovereign, which is a very complex and controversial matter, but to deal with the reality that these pockets of the world do exist and function, to varying degrees, as states, and the practical implications of this fact. 

This conference will show that, without full access to the World Order, both the peoples of these de facto states and the international community at large suffer. We suffer in terms of trade and investment, international security, health, safety and the prosecution of transnational, international and domestic crime. Negligence towards de facto states harms human rights and human dignity. 

On a domestic level, examples of this suffering can be seen in the obvious consequences to the commercial sector  of the de facto state lacking an internationally recognised central bank, the health of the peoples of the de facto state suffering because, for example, the de facto state entity is denied access to the World Health Organisation, or their safety being jeopardised by the de facto state airline having to conduct its air traffic controlling from a neighbouring State. 

On an international level, the practical implications of the restricted access of de facto states to the World Order are more profound still. Obviously, whilst the very same domestic concerns mentioned can have wide-ranging international consequences, in a globalised world, the dangers created by the legal voids that these areas represent in international security and crime should be of grave concern to all State governments. 

This conference, then, brings together officials from unrecognised governments with the main aim of creating and sustaining permanent mechanisms of involvement and consultation of unrecognised state entities in the international community, for the benefit not only of the peoples of these de facto states, but for the international community at large. 

It is the sincere hope of UNPO that following on from this conference, a series of consultations between de facto states and between de facto and sovereign States can begin. The programme for the conference can be found below.           

- Programme -

Opening Session

Marino Busdachin, General Secretary, UNPO, Opening Remarks

Scott Pegg, Associate Professor, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis: “International Society and the de facto State”, Opening Remarks

Address by Guests of Honor

Graham Watson, Member European Parliament, Chairman ALDE Group, Speech

Marco Pannella, Member European Parliament, Leader of the Nonviolent Radical Party

Marco Cappato, Member European Parliament, ALDE Group

Michael Kau, Taiwan Representative in the EU and Belgium

Maxim Gunjia, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia

Mohamoud Daar, Ambassador, Representative of the Republic of Somaliland


Panel I  --  “De facto States in the International System”

Scott Pegg (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis): “Impact of de facto states on international law and the international community

Tozun Bahcheli (King’s University College): “State Building without Recognition: the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Daria Isachenko (Humboldt University): “De facto states and their sponsors

Michael Kau (Taipei Representative Office in Brussels): “Taiwan as de facto state participation in the international community


Panel II  --  “Health, Economics and Security”

Emma Tania (Abkhazia National Bank): “A national bank without recognized nationality

Michael Alkan (Ben Gurion University): “Rebuilding healthcare in post-conflict areas

Mandy Turner (Bradford University): “Maintaining security and stability in the state-building process


Panel III  --  “Challenges of Good Governance for de facto States”

Antje Herrberg (Crisis Management Initiative): “Maintaining effective and open dialogue within a de facto state”

Pål Kolsto (University of Oslo): “Sustainability and future of unrecognized states

Steve Kibble (Progressio): “Somaliland - the road to recognition and democracy

Nina Caspersen (Lancaster University): “Promoting democracy without international  recognition”

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