Dear UNPO Members and Friends,
September has been filled with significant activities for the UNPO team and its Members. UNPO took part in several events, including the International Day of Peace, The Hague International Day, and the 21st Session of the UNHRC. Through our dynamic involvement, we were able to shed light on some of the main issues affecting our Members and the work done by the organization over the years. UNPO has also expanded its participation in social media by inaugurating a Flickr account, in addition to its recently revamped Facebook page.
The month started out on a positive note for some of our members. Upon being imprisoned for over 100 days without access to any legal support, the Mauritanian anti-slavery leader and human rights defender Biram Dah Abeid and six fellow activists were provisionally released from Nouakchott prison. His highly anticipated release was regarded as an outstanding success for him and his lawyers. Taiwan underwent positive developments in regard to its relationship with the United States and the European Union, particularly the United Kingdom. Further exchanges have been announced in the areas of economic and security cooperation.
Also, earlier this month, Iraq and Kurdistan reached a preliminary oil agreement assuring that oil exports could continue. The deal should also settle the dues of the foreign oil companies working in Kurdistan. As the international supervision over Kosova ended this month, a series of events further underlined the progresses achieved by the government in the last couple of months. These include a new customs agreement with Austria, talks of a new trade agreement with Turkey and prospects of a plan to boost the dialogue with Serbia.
Despite the promising accomplishments of some of our members, political unrest and violence are still rife in other regions. In the Chittagong Hill Tracts, cases of communal attacks against Indigenous Jumma people and their property have occurred throughout the month. In Iran, the situation of minority communities continues to deteriorate. Mass executions of Baloch people, discrimination against Ahwazis, and the frequent persecution of minorities are still widespread. Cases of religious discrimination have also been reported in western Burma, where Christian Chin communities have been facing coercion to convert to Buddhism.
Meanwhile, the Ogoni people continue to call for environmental justice, as damages in the Niger Delta were identified as irreversible. The Cordillera people have begun requiring an independent investigation on the mine spills of a tailings pond, which caused a large environmental destruction in the region.
As much as it saddens us to continue to witness such abuses against minorities and indigenous peoples around the world, we must always believe in our ability to bring out change and defend our ideas vigorously. Ultimately, it is through a collective effort that we can achieve peace for our members.
UNPO General Secretary
Follow thus linkto view all the September activities www.unpo.org