Assemblea President Elisenda Paluzie has been elected Vice-President of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization. Winning the Vice-Presidency of UNPO, an international organization for the right to self-determination with 44 members worldwide, is an important step for the Catalan pro-independence civil society organization to enhance its international role
A delegation of Assemblea led by its president,Elisenda Paluzie, attended the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) General Assembly last weekend in Washington DC, during which Ms. Paluzie was elected Vice-President of the organization’s new board. This is a crucial new step for the Catalan pro-independence civil society organization, as it will enhance the reach of its influence and it will allow it to further its international work at a higher level.
UNPO is an international organization aimed at defending the right to self-determination of its members. Its Members are indigenous peoples, minorities, unrecognized States and occupied territories that have joined together to promote their right to self-determination, while also defending their political, social and cultural rights and preserving their environments.
UNPO was created in the late 1980s by exiled leaders of peoples living under imperial oppression, with representatives from Estonia, the Uyghur people, and Tibet, among others, with the goal of replicating the Tibetan people’s message of nonviolence and interethnic tolerance in the face of oppression, as exemplified by the 14th Dalai Lama. Currently, it has 44 active members, from the Crimean Tatars to the Uyghurs, and from Taiwan to Catalonia.
These elections have meant a major renewal of the UNPO’s collegiate presidency. It has grown from 10 men and one woman to 6 women and 5 men. For the first time in the history of UNPO the president is a woman, and also for the first time she is African. The two vice presidents are also women, including Elisenda Paluzie. The collegiate presidency incorporates representations of peoples and nations from all continents (America, Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania).
New Collegiate Presidency
1. President: Edna Adan Ismail, Somaliland (woman)
2. Vice President: Elisenda Paluzie, Catalonia (woman)
3. Vice President: Rubina Greenwood, Sindh (woman)
4. Member: Paul Strauss, Washington D.C. (man)
5. Member: Dolkun Isa, Uyghurs (man)
6. Member: Tina Muna Barnes, Guam (woman)
7. Member: Rigzin Genkhang, Tibet (woman)
8. Member: Ali Abdelzadeh, Iranian Kurdistan (man)
9. Member: Tammy Breedt, Afrikaner (man)
10. Member: Alex Thach, Khmer Khrom (man)
11. Member: Abdi Mahdi, Ogaden (man)
The newly elected President Edna Adan Ismail was the first woman to serve as Foreign Minister in Somaliland and was previously Minister of Family Welfare and Social Development. She is a highly respected activist for the abolition of female genital mutilation and is the President of the Organization for the Victims of Torture. Despite its non-recognition, Somaliland, which proclaimed independence 30 years ago, is a territory with its own constitution and army and a stable government and has become one of the most stable democracies in Africa.
In this regard, the UNPO’s General Assembly was held in Washington DC coinciding with the organization’s initiative to establish a permanent presence in the US, which is expected to significantly strengthen its diplomatic influence at the United Nations. Assemblea has been a member of the UNPO since 2019, as part of its international strategy for disseminating the Catalan pro-independence message and denouncing the Spanish state’s rights abuses against the people of Catalonia. Ms. Paluzie’s appointment as vice-president of UNPO will boost this capacity to new heights, allowing Assemblea to have access to the UN’s headquarters.