Opening the World Order to De facto States
Limits and Potentialities of de facto states in the International Context
15 May 2008
European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium
On 15 May 2008, UNPO hosted the conference "Opening the World Order to De facto States" in the European Parliament, Brussels.
Attendees at the conference included Graham Watson, Member of the European Parliament and Chairman of the ALDE Group, Marco Panella, Member of the European Parliament and Leader of the Nonviolent Radical Party, 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, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Marino Busdachin, Secretary General, UNPO.
Below is the text of the UNPO Declaration on De facto States, prepared in consultation with the de facto states representatives and speakers present at the conference:
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.
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