The World Network for the Collective Rights of Peoples wants to provide a common platform for non-recognised and stateless nations across the globe to join efforts so that the right to self-determination can be exercised and promoted.
In 1985 representatives of European peoples and stateless nations gathered for the first time ever to constitute the CONSEU (Conference of European Stateless Nations). The CONSEU was aimed at lobbying for an alternative Europe-building process based on the following features:
- Full respect for non-state cultural and linguistic communities
- Endorsement of the democratic right to self-determination within Europe.
At the beginning of the XXI century, when the union of Europe based on the idea of the old nation-state has been achieved, and in view of the current economic globalisation, the condition of the world’s stateless peoples and nations is facing a new global dimension which requires
- Finding, beyond the constituted states, new discourses on the right of peoples to self-determination and national, cultural and linguistic diversity
- Establishing a new international order based on such diversity.
b) World Social Forum 2009: first step towards the articulation of stateless nations and indigenous peoples on a world-wide scale
The 2009 World Social Forum –worldwide meeting of social movements engaged in the construction of another world possible– served as the best scenario to build a new discourse on globalisation by stateless nations and indigenous peoples. To that end, in 2008 CIEMEN promoted a number of international meetings with representatives of political parties, trade unions and social movements belonging to stateless nations from America, Europe and the Middle East in order to articulate a “Space for Collective Rights of Peoples” in the framework of the World Social Forum 2009 held in Bélém do Pará (Amazonia, Brasil). The project was funded by the Catalan Agency for Cooperation Development and the Government of Galicia.
The Space for Collective Rights of Peoples brought the right of peoples to self-determination to the public arena, gathering representatives from Balochistan, Kurdistan, Corsica, Cornwall, Catalan Countries, Basque Country, Galicia, Sardinia, the Aymara, Maya, Mapuche and Quechua nations, Tamil Eelam, Tamazgha, Palestine and Western Sahara, among others.
A formal agreement was approved to set up a World Network for the Collective Rights of Peoples.
Globalization is slowly modifying the international order and the discourses framing such changes. Unlike hegemonic tendencies in the XIX and XX centuries, XXI century is characterised by a progressive acknowledgement of diversity –even biodiversity– of peoples, languages and cultures. Despite this mindset, the world continues to be structured by the XIX-century nation-state model, centralist and homogeneous, which denies the political/cultural existence of different nations within its borders.
Contrary to what is usually considered, in the last 20 years dozens of nations have achieved independence and many other minority peoples and cultural communities attained greater level of recognition, autonomy or self-government. However, there is a majority of stateless nations and indigenous peoples that are still struggling for their fundamental rights as peoples, that is to say, the right to self-determination leadi ng to independence or even to the establishment of new multinational states. The current process of interdependence triggered by globalisation also brings closer our respective struggles, and therefore, it is essential to take notice of other non-recongnised entities
We should also acknowledge the process of political and cultural enhancement taking place in indigenous nations of South America, which have resulted in new constitutions in Ecuador and Bolivia. These were former nation-states which have become multinational states granting self-government to indigenous communities.
And we cannot forget about Western Sahara, Palestine, Kurdistan or the Basque Country, where the virulence of repression and the armed conflict makes the condition of these countries regrettable. We cannot ignore any of them nor can we lose sight of the systematic infringement of basic human and civil rights there. These are conflicts stemming from the denial of the right to self-determination and the inefficiency of the international order and institutions, which are mere transmission belts of the sovereignty of the states. A recent example of such mechanisms can be found in Tamil Eelam, where the international institutions have proved incapable of stopping the annihilation of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka.
Thus, we should conclude that interdependence in the global era also means that political changes in any of our nations are to have an impact on the rest.
The main goal of this new World Network for the Collective Rights of Peoples is to set up an opened space for stateless peoples and indigenous nations across the globe to:
(1) improve and allow for a better knowledge of practices and discourses regarding the exercise of collective rights (and 2) join efforts to gain visibility of the respective cases and the existence of a national, cultural and linguistic diversity which is not recognised in the present international order.
c) Strategic objectives
- Joint initiatives to promote the recognition and the exercise of the peoples’ right to self-determination
- Capacity to create an impact about the right to self-determination in international forums such as the UN or the World Social Forum.
- Mutual knowledge: Reinforcing the respective movements for self-determination through experience-exchanging processes
- Analysis : Articulating and updating discourses on self-determination in the global era
- Establishing solidarity bonds to raise awareness on the violation of human rights (cultural, linguistic, civil, political), and particularly those related to the infringement of the fundamental right to self-determination.
The city of Girona (Catalan Countries) will host from April 22-25 the World Forum for the Collective Rights of Peoples, which will hold the foundational general meetin g of the Network as one of the activities envisaged in the 2010 World Social Thematic Forum
a) Aims of the Forum
The World Network for the Collective Rights of Peoples is an initiative of CIEMEN (Centre Internacional Escarré per a les Minories Ètniques i les Nacions), with the support of the Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation. CIEMEN aims at getting together representatives of worldwide indigenous and stateless nations’ social, cultural, political and trade unionist movements to constitute the World Netwok for the Collective Rights of Peoples.
CIEMEN wants to bring together as many representatives of stateless nations and indigenous peoples as possible depending on financial means. Representatives may be members of political parties, social movements or organizations, cultural associations, autonomous governments or any other representative body backing collective rights of peoples.
c) Schedule and contents
The World Network for the Collective Rights of Peoples will be held in Girona (Catalan Coutries), on April 23-26. The working sessions will be divided in two parts: the first one will be devoted to debate and discussions; within the second part the World Network for the Collective Rights of Peoples will be constituted
April 22, Thursday: public presentation of the World Network for the Collective Rights of Peoples at the University of Valencia.
23 April, Friday, Saint George Day, Catalonia’s patron saint. Arrival of delegates and international participants . Institutional welcome in Girona’s City Hall. Opening speech. Catalan popular music and dances. Greetings by international delegations.
24 April, Saturday , discussions and talks at the University of Girona.
25 April, Sunday. International delegates will participate as observers in the popular consultation on Catalan independence held in Girona, an initiative organized and promoted by Catalan civil society to demand the so-called “right to decide” +info: www.referendumindependencia.cat
26 April, Monday, discussions and debate for the approval and constitution of the World Network for the Collective Rights of Peoples, at the University of Girona.