Members have, at various times, included: Yugoslavia, India, Ghana, Pakistan, Algeria, Libya, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Indonesia, Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela, post-1994 South Africa, Iran, Malaysia, and, for a time, the People's Republic of China. Brazil has never been a formal member of the movement, but shares many of the aims of NAM and frequently sends observers to the Non-Aligned Movement's summits. While the organization was intended to be as close an alliance as NATO or the Warsaw Pact, it has little cohesion and many of its members were actually quite closely aligned with one or another of the great powers. For example, Cuba was closely aligned with the former Soviet Union during the Cold War era. Additionally, 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 (particularly Islamic nations) of the movement did not.
The Non-Aligned Movement was formed as an attempt to thwart the Cold War and has struggled to find relevance after the Cold War ended. After the breakup of Yugoslavia, a founding member, its successor states 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.
The term "Non-Alignment" itself was coined by Indian Prime Minister Nehru during his speech in 1954 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. In this 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:
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. The attending nations declared their desire not to become involved in the Cold War and adopted a "declaration on promotion of world peace and cooperation", which included Nehru's five principles. Six years after Bandung, an initiative of Yugoslav president Tito led to the first official Non-Aligned Movement Summit, which was held in September 1961 in Belgrade.
At the Lusaka Conference in September 1970, the member nations added peaceful resolution of disputes and abstention from the big power military alliances and pacts as the aim of the movement. Opposition to stationing of military bases in foreign countries was also added as the movement's aim.
The founding fathers of the Non-aligned movement, apart from Nehru of India, Sukarno of Indonesia and Tito of Yugoslavia, were Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. Their actions were known as 'The Initiative of Five'.
While the NAM is an organization of united countries, much like the United Nations or NATO, it is unique to some of these organizations in its organization and structure. First, it considers itself to be non-hierarchal in nature in that there are no countries that contain veto power or have special privileges in certain areas. The chair is rotated officially at each summit. The administration of the organization falls to the responsibility of a rotating chair (currently Cuba) and the rotation is consistent and fair. Secondly, the organization does not have any sort of constitution as many similar organizations do. This was done out of recognition that with so many countries having so many varying viewpoints and priorities, any formal sort of administrative structure would increase divisiveness and eventually lead to the collapse of the organization.
Membership in the organization has changed from the original requirements as well. As the organization has matured and international political circumstances have changed, so too have the requirements. There is an obvious attempt to integrate the requirements of the NAM with the key beliefs of the United Nations. The latest requirements are now that the candidate country has displayed practices in accordance with:
From the 1960s onwards, critics came to see the movement as unduly dominated by states allied to the Soviet Union. Many questioned how countries in close alliance with the Soviet Union, such as Cuba, could claim to be non-aligned. The movement divided against itself over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. This division was an indication that the NAM was indeed aligned, and it is possible that an organization of this nature can never be fully non-aligned.
In contrast, The Non-aligned movement believes in policies and practices of cooperation, especially those that are multilateral and provide mutual benefit to all those involved. Many of the members of the NAM are also members of the United Nations and both organizations have a stated policy of peaceful cooperation, yet successes that the NAM has had in multilateral agreements tends to be ignored by the larger, western and developed nation dominated UN. African concerns about apartheid were linked with Arab-Asian concerns about Palestine and success of multilateral cooperation in these areas has been a stamp of moderate success for the NAM. The NAM has played a major role in various ideological conflicts throughout its existence, including extreme opposition to apartheid regimes and support of liberation movements in various locations including Zimbabwe and South Africa. The support of these sorts of movements stems from a belief that every state has the right to base policies and practices with national interests in mind and not as a result of relations to a particular power bloc. The Non-aligned movement has become a voice of support for issues facing developing nations and is still contains ideals that are legitimate within this context.
In recent years the US has become a target of the organization. The singular superpower the US invasion of Iraq, its attempts to stifle Iran and North Korea's nuclear plans, and its other actions have been denounced as human rights violations and attempts to run roughshod over the sovereignty of smaller nations. The movement’s leaders have also criticized the US overt control over the United Nations and other international structures, and the war on terrorism. While the organization has rejected terrorism, it condemns the association of terrorism with a particular religion, nationality, or ethnicity, and recognizes the rights of those struggling against colonialism and foreign occupation.Israel-Palestine
The movement has taken a firm position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, denouncing Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories. It has called upon Israel to halt its settlement activities, open up border crossings, and cease the use of force and violence against civilians. The UN has also been asked to pressure Israel and to do more to prevent further human rights abuses. Southern Development
The movement is publicly committed to the tenets of sustainable development and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, but it believes that the international community has not created conditions conducive to development and has infringed upon the right to sovereign development by each member state. Issues such as globalization, the debt burden, unfair trade practices, the decline in foreign aid, donor conditionalities, and the lack of democracy in international financial decision-making are cited as factors inhibiting development. Reforms of the UN
The Non-Aligned Movement has been quite outspoken in its criticism of current UN structures and power dynamics, mostly in how the organization has been utilized by powerful states in ways that violate the movement’s principles. It has made a number of recommendations that would strengthen the representation and power of ‘non-aligned’ states. The proposed reforms are also aimed at improving the transparency and democracy of UN decision-making. The UN Security Council is the element considered the most distorted, undemocratic, and in need of reshaping.South-South Cooperation
Lately the Non-Aligned Movement has collaborated with other organizations of the developing world, primarily the Group of 77, forming a number of joint committees and releasing statements and document representing the shared interests of both groups. This dialogue and cooperation can be taken as an effort to increase the global awareness about the organization and bolster its political clout.Cultural Diversity and Human Rights
The movement accepts the universality of human rights and social justice, but fiercely resists cultural homogenization. In line with its views on sovereignty, the organization appeals for the protection of cultural diversity, and the tolerance of the religious, socio-cultural, and historical particularities that define human rights in a specific region. Working Groups, Taskforces, Committees
|Secretaries-general of the Non-Aligned Movement|
|Josip Broz Tito||1961||1964|
|Gamal Abdel Nasser||(United Arab Republic)||1964||1970|
|Junius Richard Jayawardene||1978||1979|
|N. Sanjiva Reddy||1983|
|Stjepan (Stipe) Mesić||1991|
|Ernesto Samper Pizano||1995||1998|
|Andrés Pastrana Arango||1998|
|Mahathir bin Mohammad||2003|
|Abdullah Ahmad Badawi||2003||2006|
The following nations have observer status: