The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)

U.S.-Yugoslavia summit, 1978
 
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a group of states which are not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2012, the movement has 120 members and 17 observer countries.[1]
 
The organization was founded in Belgrade in 1961, and was largely conceived by Yugoslavia’s president, Josip Broz Tito; Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno; Egypt’s second president, Gamal Abdel Nasser; Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah; and India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. All five leaders were prominent advocates of a middle course for states in the Developing World between the Western and Eastern blocs in the Cold War. The phrase itself was first used to represent the doctrine by Indian diplomat and statesman V.K. Krishna Menon in 1953, at the United Nations.[3]
 
In a speech given during the Havana Declaration of 1979, Fidel Castro said the purpose of the organization is to ensure “the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries” in their “struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as against great power and bloc politics”.[4] The countries of the Non-Aligned Movement represent nearly two-thirds of the United Nations‘s members and contain 55% of the world population. Membership is particularly concentrated in countries considered to be developing or part of the Third World.[5]
 
Members have at times included the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Argentina, Namibia, Cyprus, and Malta. While many of the Non-Aligned Movement’s members were actually quite closely aligned with one or another of the super powers, the movement still maintained cohesion throughout the Cold War. Some members were involved in serious conflicts with other members (e.g., India and Pakistan, Iran and Iraq). The movement fractured from its own internal contradictions when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979. While the Soviet allies supported the invasion, other members of the movement (particularly predominantly Muslim states) condemned it.
 
Because the Non-Aligned Movement was formed as an attempt to thwart the Cold War,[6] it has struggled to find relevance since the Cold War ended. After the breakup of Yugoslavia, a founding member, its membership was suspended[7] in 1992 at the regular Ministerial Meeting of the Movement, held in New York during the regular yearly session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.[8][9] The successor states of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia have expressed little interest in membership, though some have observer status. In 2004, Malta and Cyprus ceased to be members and joined the European Union. Belarus remains the sole member of the Movement in Europe. Azerbaijan and Fiji are the most recent entrants, joining in 2011. The applications of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Costa Rica were rejected in 1995 and 1998, respectively.[9]
The 16th NAM summit took place in Tehran, Iran, from 26 to 31 August 2012. According to MehrNews agency, representatives from over 150 countries were scheduled to attend.[10] Attendance at the highest level includes 27 presidents, 2 kings and emirs, 7 prime ministers, 9 vice presidents, 2 parliament spokesmen and 5 special envoys.[11] At the summit, Iran took over from Egypt as Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement for the period 2012 to 2015.[12] The 17th Summit of the Non Aligned Movement is to be held in Caracas, Venezuela, in 2015.
 
Origins
 
The Non-Aligned movement was never established as a formal organization, but became the name to refer to the participants of the Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries first held in 1961. The term “non-alignment” itself was coined by V.K. Krishna Menon in 1953 remarks at the United Nations. Menon’s friend, Jawaharlal Nehru used the phrase in a 1954 speech in Colombo, Sri Lanka. In his speech, Nehru described the five pillars to be used as a guide for Sino-Indian relations, which were first put forth by Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai. Called Panchsheel (five restraints), these principles would later serve as the basis of the Non-Aligned Movement. The five principles were:
  • Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty
  • Mutual non-aggression
  • Mutual non-interference in domestic affairs
  • Equality and mutual benefit
  • Peaceful co-existence
A significant milestone in the development of the Non-Aligned Movement was the 1955 Bandung Conference, a conference of Asian and African states hosted by Indonesian president Sukarno, who gave a significant contribution to promote this movement. Bringing together Sukarno, Nasser, Nehru, Tito, Nkrumah and Menon with the likes of Ho Chi Minh, Zhou Enlai, and Norodom Sihanouk, as well as a young Indira Gandhi, the conference adopted a “declaration on promotion of world peace and cooperation”, which included Nehru’s five principles, and a collective pledge to remain neutral in the Cold War. Six years after Bandung, an initiative of Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito led to the first Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries, which was held in September 1961 in Belgrade.[13] The term non aligned movement appears first in the fifth conference in 1976, where participating countries are denoted as members of the movement.[14]
At the Lusaka Conference in September 1970, the member nations added as aims of the movement the peaceful resolution of disputes and the abstention from the big power military alliances and pacts. Another added aim was opposition to stationing of military bases in foreign countries.[6]
The founding fathers of the Non-aligned movement were: Sukarno of Indonesia, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. Their actions were known as ‘The Initiative of Five’.

Organizational structure and membership

 
The movement stems from a desire not to be aligned within a geopolitical/military structure and therefore itself does not have a very strict organizational structure.[2] Some organizational basics were defined at the 1996 Cartagena Document on Methodology[15] The Summit Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned States is “the highest decision making authority”. The chairmanship rotates between countries and changes at every summit of heads of state or government to the country organizing the summit.[15]
Requirements for membership of the Non-Aligned Movement coincide with the key beliefs of the United Nations. The current requirements are that the candidate country has displayed practices in accordance with the ten “Bandung principles” of 1955:[15]
  • Respect for fundamental human rights and for the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
  • Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.
  • Recognition of the movements for national independence.
  • Recognition of the equality of all races and of the equality of all nations, large and small.
  • Abstention from intervention or interference in the internal affairs of another country.
  • Respect for the right of each nation to defend itself singly or collectively, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
  • Refraining from acts or threats of aggression or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country.
  • Settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
  • Promotion of mutual interests and co-operation.
  • Respect for justice and international obligations.
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