Olympia, Washington USA 25 August 2021 – Meeting in Executive Session on 24 August, the Congress of Nations and States (CNS) Convening Council (formerly the Preparatory Body) unanimously adopted the CNS Charter to establish the Congress as an international organization formally. Miguel J. Alfonso Martinez noted diplomat and Special Rapporteur to the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations, recommended in his final report to the United Nations, “that indigenous nations and states must engage and negotiate based on equality.” Martinez’s 1997 report is entitled “Study on Treaties, Agreements and other Constructive Arrangements between states and Indigenous populations.” Since Martinez’s recommendation, the United Nations and multilateral organizations of indigenous nations have adopted the proposal that new international organizations are needed to promote equality and peaceful relations between nations and states, supplementing the work of existing international bodies. After the decision to adopt the Charter Convening Council, Co-Chair Dr. Emmanuel Enekwechi of the Federation of Biafra said:
“We present this Charter of the Congress of Nations and States to the world as we pursue the work of joining humanity together instead of pushing humanity apart. Here we are doing work to promote the practice of people working to realize that there are methods for bringing people together instead of splitting them apart and destroying them and then exploiting them in all kinds of ways. The Congress of Nations and States represents a new pathway for peaceful, respectful, and constructive relations between peoples for the 21st century.”
The purpose of the Congress is to serve as “a permanent international organization for Nations and States to directly negotiate policies and practices, conflicts, and disputes to create new international norms acceptable to all members” according to Article 1 of the Charter. Hmong leader Dr. Xoua Thao serving on the Convening Council, acted as the Chair of the CNS Draft Charter Working Group tasked with the responsibility to produce the present Charter that was first tabled in December 2020. After numerous drafts and revisions, the 22 Article Charter adopted by the Convening Council received a unanimous vote of approval by the Council.
Human Rights attorney Ms. Fajar Schouten-Korwa of West Papua, serving as the Co-Chair of the Convening Council, announced her embrace of the CNS Charter, noting the importance of paragraph two of the Charter Preamble:
“Together as member Nations and States, we shall advance our expressed commitment to self- determination, fundamental rights, and equalities for all Peoples under International Laws and Treaties and find common and mutually beneficial solutions through diplomacy, cooperation, and new measures to resolve conflicts, sustain natural life, and engage Nations and States toward lasting peace, progress, and prosperity.”
Schouten-Korwa affirmed her view by saying, “This statement in the Charter says it all! We must be committed to working together as equals for the benefit of all peoples, of all nations and states. This is especially important in the face of threats to human life by the changing climate, violence against peoples, the spread of global pandemics, and the unrestrained actions that destroy life-giving biodiversity.”
The Charter includes provisions to establish Specialized Commissions to draft and report resolutions to the Assembly, the CNS Secretariat, and notably a Justice Mechanism “to ensure the prosecution of those crimes and the pursuit of justice.
The Convening Council is acting to convoke the inaugural Assembly in the fall of 2022 with the support of a host nation and a host state and its members. There are more than 5000 self-identifying nations with a combined population of 1.9 billion people (24% of the world’s population) and 206 internationally recognized states. Nations and States governing authorities in ten regions of the world are invited to become Founding Charter Signorties. The regions include Africa, Arctic, Asia, Europe/Eurasia, Melanesia, North America, Pacific, South America (including Central America and the Caribbean), South Asia, and West Asia.
“While we do not expect all 5000 nations and 206 states to become CNS members, we to expect from 50 to 100 nations and states to become Charter Founders,” according to Secretary-General Rudolph Ryser. Invitations to sign the Charter will be issued to 100 nations and states in anticipation of obtaining the prospective membership by the Fall of 2021.