Article 1, paragraph 2 of the Charter of the United Nations states as its purpose “to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples”. In recent months, this cardinal principle of modern international law has returned to the fore with a referendum in Catalonia, another in Iraqi Kurdistan, and still others scheduled in Bougainville-Papua New Guinea, the Faroe Islands and New Caledonia.

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) has 40 members, including unrecognised states, minorities, indigenous peoples and occupied territories around the globe. Its mission is to defend their political, social and cultural rights, protect their environments and promote their right to self-determination (SD). Founded in 1991 in The Hague, UNPO has helped to mitigate intrastate conflicts, which currently account for 90% of the conflicts around the world.

Marino Busdachin has been the secretary general of UNPO since 2003. We asked him to shed some light on an issue that is very relevant, but rarely publicised.

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