Conference on Democracy, Self-Determination & Liberation of Peoples

 Monday, 23 September 2013 – Paul-Henri Spaak, P7C050 – European Parliament – Rue Wiertz/Wiertzstraat 60, B-1047 Bruxelles / Brussel

It is with great pleasure that the organizers of the Conference on Democracy, Self-Determination and Liberation of Peoples would like to invite you to join us on Monday, 23 September 2013, from 0900-1800hours at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.


More than 60 years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) proclaimed that the “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

In 1976 in Algiers, the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples was adopted. It stressed that individual rights cannot be realized unless collective rights are respected; and that all peoples of the world have the legitimate right to fight for their liberation if they are under foreign or local oppression.

In 1986, the United Nations General Assembly approved the UN Declaration on the Right to Development that recognizes the collective right of peoples and countries to development.

Today, these rights are in danger.  There is a need to reaffirm these rights in the face of challenges generated by the war on terror and foreign intervention that tend to negate the national sovereignty of countries and the right of peoples’ to self-determination.

There is an upsurge of democratic peoples’ movements in many countries of the world, from the underdeveloped peripheries of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, all the way to the industrial heartlands of North America, Europe and Japan.

The peoples of the world are rising up from the stupor engendered by limited democracy and are more actively participating in the fight for a better world of freedom, prosperity and peace.

The Conference

The conference aims to reaffirm the fundamental principles enshrined in the above-cited conventions and declarations and gather support for the people’s struggles for genuine democracy, liberation and development.

This initiative is being supported by the GUE-NGL group at the European Parliament.

There is no conference fee but due to limited funding, participants are expected to shoulder all the costs of their participation and make their own travel and accommodations arrangements. However, we would be very happy to extend any other logistics assistance and support you might need e.g. affordable accommodations in Brussels.

Important Security Note to All Participants:

In order to access the European Parliament building, you will need to be issued a security and access badge/pass. For this, you are required to submit your full name, date of birth, address of residence and the number of a valid identity document e.g. passport.

Due to the limited capacity of the conference room, please confirm your participation as soon as possible by filling up and submitting the Logistics Advisory and Confirmation of Participation Form to the conference secretariat at

We hope you can join us in the conference and look forward to hearing from you at your soonest convenience.

Respectfully yours,  Maitet Ledesma – Coordinator – Conference Secretariat

Main Sponsors

Jürgen Klute, Member European Parliament – European United Left – Nordic Green Left Group (GUE/NGL)

IBON International

KONKURD (Confederation of Kurdish Associations In Europe)

Supporting Organizations



(Kurdish Women’s Office for Peace)


 (Federation of Collective People’s Rights)







Morning: Amy Padilla, Deputy International Director, IBON International

Opening speeches

            Cynthia McKinney, Former member, US House of Representatives, USA

            Dr. Hans Koechler, University of Innsbruck, Austria

            Luis Jalandoni, National Democratic Front, Philippines


Panel 1: On Collective Rights, Self-Determination and Liberation of Peoples

Savaratnam Navalan, Tamil Center for Human Rights, United Kingdom

            Salih Müslim, PYD, Kurdish High Council in Syria

On Economic Democracy and System Change

             Member of Parliament, Syriza, Greece (Invited)     

            Ann-Kristin Kowarsch, CENI (Kurdish Women’s Office for Peace)

Open Forum

Afternoon: Panel 2:

Right to Development and Resistance to an Oppressive State: The Philippine Case          Saturnino Ocampo, Makabayan, Philippines

>Challenges in Promoting Collective Rights in Multi-ethnic Contexts: The Kurdish Case            Ertugrul Kürkcü, PM of BDP, Turkey

Areas for the Promotion of Peoples’ Collective Rights: The Basque People  Sen. Urko Aiartza (Confirmed)

Promoting and Defending Indigenous Peoples’ Rights to Self Determination       Indigenous Peoples’ Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (Confirmed)

Open Forum

Panel 3:

On the Role of the State in Promoting, Fulfilling and Defending Collective Rights of Peoples and the Criminalization of Peoples’ Resistance

            Inaki Irazabalbeitia, Member European Parliament(EFA/The Greens)

            Jan Fermon, PROGRESS Lawyers Network (Confirmed)

On the Responsibility of International and Multilateral Organizations (EU and EP) in Promoting and Defending Collective Rights

            Member, European Parliament, Syriza, Greece (Invited)

Collective Rights in Situations of Conflict and Fragility and Issues Surrounding External Forces in Counterinsurgency and Peace-keeping

            Member, European Parliament (TBC)

            Richard Harvey, Garden Court International (Confirmed)

Open Forum

Presentation and Approval of Outcome Declaration

Closing Remarks:  KonKurd