ASEAN TACKLES ROHINGYA PERSECUTION, RELIGIOUS TENSIONS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA by: Benjamin Small

Representatives of China, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Myanmar and others debate solutions to the Rohingya persecution and refugee crisis as well as general religious discrimination during an unmoderated caucus.

Representatives of China, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Myanmar and others debate solutions to the Rohingya persecution and refugee crisis as well as general religious discrimination during an unmoderated caucus.

In sessions on religious tensions Thursday and Friday, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) representatives grappled with the oppression of the Rohingya people in Myanmar and the resulting refugee crisis in the region.

The most pressing issue before the committee was the plight of the Rohingya people — an ethnic minority — most of whom are Muslim. In late 2016, the Myanmar government began a series of devastating crackdowns in the Rakhine State. The military and police actions came as a  response to Rohingya insurgent attacks in October 2016.

The Delegate from Myanmar, Eric Tostevin, acknowledged the existence of the military crackdown.

“Myanmar certainly recognizes the attacks in the Rohingya state and we certainly do not condone any actions which violate human rights,” he said. “The Myanmar government would like to investigate more information on the matter — especially because there is a lot of misinformation from different sources concerning the refugees.”

Tostevin also recognized the autonomous nature of the military branch of the government, noting, “there have been a few isolated incidents with the military.”

Other representatives were quick to deem Myanmar’s crackdown as a violation of human rights.   

Some accounts currently place the death toll at over 10,000, including nearly a thousand children. The international community has condemned the largely autonomous military branch’s actions, allegedly including arbitrary arrest and executions, gang rapes, and civilian violence,  as violations of human s rights violations — allegedly including arbitrary arrest and executions, gang rapes, and civilian violence.

India, among other nations, emphasized the pressing nature of the crisis and its humanitarian consequences.

“India as a country believes that [the persecution] is at least verging on genocide,” said the delegate from  India, Seamus Connor.  

Connor further stated that ameliorating the Rohingya refugee crisis would positively impact religious tensions in the nation.

“By focusing on alleviating the problems of refugees, we can also try to address Myanmar’s persecution of the Rohingya, while trying to encourage it to transition to a more democratic government,” he said.

Many delegates raised the issue of Myanmar’s sovereignty when introducing possible solutions to the persecution and refugee crisis. The Delegate of the People’s Republic of China, Jaelan Scott, affirmed China’s support of refugees.

“China helps refugees and conditions refugee camps,” he said. “But China also has its five principles of nonintervention. So we do not believe, necessarily, in meddling in the affairs of other nations. It’s up to each sovereign nation to choose how they handle those issues, so we don’t impose on them.”

In terms of a long-term solution, Scott said he supports measures to improve the economic stability of many ASEAN nations, reduce inequalities, and, hopefully, mitigate religious tensions in particularly destitute regions.

“We believe that the economy is a major problem regarding religious and ethnic tensions, so if we’re able to improve economic stability then these religious tensions will hopefully be mitigated,” he said. “China’s ‘Belt and Road’ initiative has been used throughout numerous countries, specifically in ASEAN as well as Europe and Africa. We believe that by investing in this infrastructure and implementing these bilateral agreements that, hopefully, will alleviate the economic wage gap and provide these religious minorities with some sort of identity and stability.”

Several representatives, most notably that of Bangladesh, Aadi Kulkarni, asserted their belief that immediate, short-term solutions to the pressing refugee crisis should take precedence over long-term solutions.

“I think, in general, we’re heading in the right direction, but it seems like there are a lot of big-picture issues that are trying to be solved with long-term plans, while it seems pretty clear that plight of the Rohingya is a current issue that needs to be addressed immediately,” he said. “There are obvious ways to address it that are on more than just a macro-level.”

Kulkarni elaborated that the Rohingya persecution and refugee crisis deserve ASEAN’s undivided attention because of the massive loss of life and suffering as well as the destabilizing nature of the surge in refugees on the region. Furthermore, he noted that failing to address the persecution would “undermine the power of ASEAN in the global community.”

Indeed, Bangladesh has felt the effects of the refugee crisis first-hand. By September 2017, the majority of the 400,000 Rohingya refugee had fled to the nation.

In the Friday session, delegates began to formulate solutions to the Rohingya refugee crisis as well as to broader religious discrimination.

“We’re focusing on a more tolerant and secularized education program as well as additional infrastructure that could be used to alleviate poverty, and [on] relocation of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar … to other nations such as Australia, China, Russia, and South Korea,” said the Delegate of Indonesia, Evanna Peng.

Peng said she is eager for ASEAN to pass a resolution, protecting the vulnerable Rohingya people moving forward.

 

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF PAKISTAN DEBATES ACTIONS IN KASHMIR REGION by: Jason Meizels

All representatives from the National Assembly of Pakistan agreed that the Kashmiri people have the right to determine their own future, but remained divided on how to facilitate the exercise of that self-determination, reflecting the region’s populace sandwiched between India and Pakistan on how to facilitate the exercise of that self-determination.

Kashmir has a long and complex history. The end of the British rule in India led to confusion over which nation the Kashmir region was part of, which precipitated the First Kashmir War and subsequently a failed plebiscite to determine the nation to which the region would belong to, and most recently, the removal of the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 2017. The YMUN National Assembly of Pakistan discussed courses of action in resolving the debate over ownership of Kashmir. Three main ideas were the primary focus of the committee. First, the Kashmiri people have a right to self-determination, as expressed in Article I of the Charter of the United Nations. Second, human rights abuses must not be tolerated. Third, Pakistan must win the trust of the Kashmiri people.

Several methods of achieving these goals were proposed. Many delegates considered attempting another plebiscite. Some suggested that Kashmir should be split along the LoC (Line of Control). The Pakistani Minister of Finance suggested initiating a stable economic relationship with Kashmir, both to foster goodwill and to stabilize the region. The Leader of the Opposition brought up a soft border strategy, in which Pakistani-aligned Kashmiri could enter a DMZ inside Pakistan’s borders.

Patrick Brogan, a delegate representing Rana Shamim Ahmed Khan, a member in Pakistan’s National Assembly, noted that given the failure of the previous attempt at a plebiscite, another vote might only serve to exacerbate extremism and violence even further. Brogan stated that there is “no perfect solution,” but measures could be taken to provide funding to anti-India militants or to establish an economic relationship with Kashmir to promote stability.

During an unmoderated caucus, one group discussed the possibility of bringing in a third party mediator to facilitate negotiations for peace, so the best interest of the Kashmiri people could be kept in mind.

Adham Yousef, a delegate representing Siraj Muhammad Khan, another member of the Pakistani National Assembly, commented that he would support a public vote in Kashmir to determine its status; he believes that most Kashmiri would likely choose to join Pakistan, but Pakistan would “remain in support of the Kashmiri people” if the plebiscite led to independence.

The National Assembly of Pakistan is often criticized for its lack of Kashmiri representation. Shubhang Pandya, a delegate representing Malik Muhammad Uzair Khan, believes that “more representation would build more trust.” Mike Denihan, representing Abdul Rashid Godil, also stated that inclusion of the Kashmiri people from the Pakistani-controlled region in the Assembly would help gain favor for Pakistan and promote democratic ideals. However, some may argue that Kashmiri representation would anger India and decrease chances of peaceful negotiations.

Delegates were divided on whether to invite India to the bargaining table. Given the violations of human rights in Kashmir, of which neither India and Pakistan are innocent, such as the use of pellet guns and tear gas against protesters by Indian security forces, some delegates could not fathom reconciliation with India. Ariel Barnea, representing Khwaja Ghulam Rasool Koreja, said that he would not be open to negotiations with India. Other delegates recognized the eventual necessity of a dialogue with India, especially if another plebiscite is to be a viable option.

When asked what they considered the most important goal in working towards peace, delegates universally agreed that earning the trust of the Kashmiri people is the most significant step towards resolution, with Ariel Barnea adding that Pakistan must attempt to “ensure the safety and restore the confidence” of the Kashmiri people.

Mike Denihan stated that the National Assembly of Pakistan must gain the trust of the Kashmiri people “by any means necessary.” The committee is hard at work, debating and collaborating to determine just what means are necessary.

CUBA FOR THE CUBANS by: Marco Cabrera

"History will absolve me,” said the Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro in 1953. What followed was a revolution that would change the history of a nation. Castro’s revolution is represented in this year’s YMUN through a specialized committee centered around Castro’s cabinet.

For the first time in YMUN’s 44 years, a Spanish-speaking committee has been created. This committee, the first Spanish-speaking one in YMUN’s history, will be debating topics such as domestic reforms and Cuba’s international relations during 1959-1969. Both issues have played important roles and have largely shaped present-day Cuba.

The Cuban revolution triumphed on January 1st, 1959. A few people, all represented in YMUN’s committee, stood out in the revolution: Che Guevara, Raúl Castro, Camilo Cienfuegos and of course the revolutionary leader and author of this deed Fidel Castro Ruz.

The first year was decisive in guiding the ideas of revolutionary leaders. It brought great transformations — the most peculiar of which for the country and the world was the Agrarian Reform.

Intense discussions have been developed in the Cuban Cabinet committee during the first and second sessions. The Cuban representatives have discussed the issue of domestic reforms, trying to pass the Agrarian Reform Law. The committee was unanimous in outlining the importance of the land, in disposing the land to peasants and in improving agricultural territories. Added to this was the Cabinet's willingness to try and reduce its economic dependence on the United States.

Another debate of great interest generated in the commission was the issue of industrialization in Cuba, said Roberto Agramonte Pichardo, Minister of Foreign Affairs. He stressed the importance of getting more out of the crops and of creating job opportunities for Cubans.

There is no doubt that the commission is inclined to follow the steps of the Agrarian Reform Law No. 3 signed by Fidel Castro the first time on October 10, 1958, with the objective of eliminating the exploitation of the peasantry and of getting the most out of Cuban agriculture.

Also noteworthy is the intense participation of the Minister of Public Works, Manuel Rey Rivero and the Minister of Commerce, Raúl Cepero Bonilla. There is no doubt that Fidel Castro's Cabinet is standing out as one of the most active, exciting, and challenging committees this year, the delegates of which embodied the characters with an incredible veracity.

Delegates of the Fidel Castro cabinet during a moderated caucus

Delegates of the Fidel Castro cabinet during a moderated caucus

IAEA COMMITTEE ADDRESSES NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION by: Roshane Domus

During the committee’s first session, the majority of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) delegates voted on the agenda addressing nuclear proliferation.

With the goal of preventing any state’s abuse of the use of nuclear weapons and energy, IAEA committee, comes together to discuss North Korea and possible solutions for the reduction of nuclear disarmament.  

Four out of five delegates on the speaker's list of a moderated caucus regarding the relationship of North Korea said they believed that the country should be recognized as a nation. Otherwise, they argued, the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK) government would not be  open to negotiations that may lead to the reduction of its nuclear weapon production. Moreover, the delegates from  Japan and Cameroon argued that North Korea was working on a nuclear program purely as a means of protection.

In an effort to reduce or prevent any more nuclear proliferation, a number of countries have expressed their suggestions in the discussion. Uganda suggested establishing a program to monitor the trade of uranium and other supplies for building a nuclear weapon. Germany, on the other note, stated that the case with North Korea should be resolved based on the Iran Nuclear Deal, in which Iran agreed to the United Nations’ regular monitoring of Iran’s  facilities to make sure the nation followed the agreed upon terms. These terms include the reduction of Iran's uranium stockpile and more than a two-times decrease of the number of centrifuges currently operated by the country.  

The delegate of Paraguay brought up another method in connection to Germany's —  conducting more inspections on nuclear facilities. However,  another delegate argued that  increasing inspections would not necessarily increase anyone’s  safety. 

Recently, the North Korean state media released a photograph of a nuclear establishment with a map in the background showing circular lines extending from the North Korean territory to major American cities. Seemingly, these lines display the paths that a nuclear missile could reach. Perhaps this has led the delegate from the United States of America to state that while the country is never looking for war, it also does not encourage making diplomatic and peaceful deals with “the devil.”

The delegate of Japan, on the other hand, suggested that IAEA should negotiate with the DPRK government, but lean away from sanctions. Additionally, they saw sanctions put on the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK) as useless in an effort to reduce nuclear proliferation.

According to Guy Kennedy, the delegate of Chile, sanctions do not affect the government but affect the basic needs of the people — namely food, water and labor. The delegate also argued  that the sanctions on North Korea should be reduced.

"It is doing much more harm to the people of North Korea than the government, and no sanctions actually affect the nuclear program," he added.

 

 

NATO DEBATES THE MERITS OF MILITARY AND NONMILITARY ACTIONS TO END THE BOSNIAN CRISIS by: Clare Newman

NATO member states and other countries debated the values of long term peaceful solutions to the Bosnian Crisis against the values of immediate military action over the two years that passed during the first and second sessions of debate.

The conditions for Bosniaks and Croats in the Balkan states have been getting worse over the past two years, with ethnic cleansing enacted by the militant and nationalistic Serbs. Hence, NATO member states and visiting countries’ delegates deliberated on when and if military force would be necessary to stop the atrocities being committed.

One side of the issue, led by Germany and Belgium, pushed for embargos on luxury goods and weapons, claiming that any military intervention  will only add fuel to the fire and worsen the situation. Their opposition, headed by Denmark and Canada, advocated for deploying peacekeeping troops to the country as soon as possible in order to end the situation immediately.  because the situation needed to come to an end immediately.

Delegates on Belgium’s side reminded the committee of many member states’ financial instability in the aftermath of the Cold War, which would make it difficult for certain member states to provide military assistance.

The Czech Republic delegate cited her country’s amicable split from Slovakia as an example for the way to deal with the split of Yugoslavia. Other nonviolent delegates reminded the committee that it was imperative to respect the sovereignty of the Balkan states even in these trying times.

France, one of the more military-minded delegates, recommended deploying peacekeeping troops to guide refugees to safety and to defend safe-zones established by the UN and NATO. The peacekeeping forces would be ready to defend UN and NATO safe-zones and the victims who are protected by them if attacked, but would never start a conflict themselves. The delegate from Canada emphasized that military intervention in a conflict does not have to mean war, and that in situations such as ethnic cleansing and genocide, NATO must be a proactive force, and not a reactive one.

Friendly debate turned sour two years in. Some of the delegates who previously praised economic sanctions had quietly come around to their opposition’s ideas for military action, especially in light of how many lives had already been lost while they were contemplating solutions.

Still, the delegate from Denmark argued that these countries were not changing their minds quickly enough. The delegate emphasized that while while sanctions and embargoes and compromises could  work in six months, NATO already did not have six months. NATO did not have six months even a full year ago, he underscored, since countless people have died while NATO was just contemplating solutions.

However  justified Denmark’s anger at the inaction of the committee was, the country  would not be able to get a resolution passed on its own. If the delegate’s  and his opposition’s anger could not be bypassed, more lives would be lost in the Balkans while NATO just considers imposing economic sanctions.

A spark of diplomatic hope was found in the delegate from the Republic of Turkey, who tried to find a compromise solution. He described his country’s position as “more along the pathway of militaristic intervention, but at the same time [with] economic sanctions.”  

“[The Republic of Turkey] would like to focus on the military aspect of things,” he said.“Because of the damage, hardship, and atrocities that have been carried out in the Balkan region over the past five, six, years or so, we believe immediate action is required, but not to the most violent extent at this time.”

His ideas seem  to reflect the needs and wants of all sides of the committee, and should not be allowed to fall on deaf ears.

Denmark (Left) and Turkey (Right) engage in a spirited debate during an unmoderated caucus

Denmark (Left) and Turkey (Right) engage in a spirited debate during an unmoderated caucus

SPECPOL DIVIDED ON POTENTIAL FOR WESTERN INTERVENTION IN SOUTH SUDAN by: Hadeel Eltayeb and Ava Haig

The Special Political and Decolonization committee (SPECPOL) of YMUN XLIII convenes to combat the growing political turmoil in South Sudan, it finds itself divided on how best to enact meaningful change. Historically, western intervention remains a controversial plan of action, but as the situation in South Sudan becomes increasingly concerning,  the United Nations finds itself scrambling for a solution.

In an effort to rekindle the collapsed peace treaty of 2015, South Sudan Transitional Government of National Unity and armed rebel groups signed a ceasefire in Addis Ababa on the 22nd of December in 2017. However, fighting between the two groups the following night in the capital, Juba, resulted in a disappointing conclusion to what the United Nations General Assembly infamously called the Republic’s “last chance” for peace. For the past five years, the nation has been on the brink of famine and the ongoing conflict has left 1.8 million people internally displaced, 4.8 million people in the need of aid, and an estimated 5.1 million to be facing hunger by March 2018.

With these staggering realities in mind, debate ensued. Delegates like Rahul Bhatia, representing the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, remarked that “imperialist western nations should not have a say in how the politics nor the economics of the South Sudanese crisis play out.” He cites Puerto Rico as an example, stating that the United States has “kept Puerto Rico under its thumb for decades” through problematic legislation like the Jones Act of 1920. This legislation, according to Bhatia, is emblematic of the West’s tendency to “create systematic relationships that they can exploit.” “It’s time,” Bhatia says, “for post-colonial nations to stand up against their colonial oppressors.”  

On the contrary, some countries provide a more generous stance when it comes to offering South Sudan humanitarian aid. The delegation of Israel, Zoey Fisher states that“anti-western leadership is not what the United Nations is all about.” Aid and funding, in the eyes of the Israeli government, is a seminal part of rectifying this humanitarian crisis. Her statement underscores the position that many within the committee have taken, while having been recipients of developed nations’ aid. Abigail Mamani, of the Republic of Korea, feels strongly that South Sudan needs assistance. “My nation has faced similar struggles. With nations like the United States’ help, we were able to help our country succeed.” Delegates like that of the Republic of Madagascar’s echo this sentiment, saying that they “know what it is like to receive Western aid.” These experiences are to be trusted, they urge, and reconsidered in order to assist South Sudan as it struggles with internal displacement, famine, and devastating genocide.

There are some delegates, however, who find themselves at a middle ground. Allen Goldin of la República Argentina remarks that while western intervention has never been perfect, intervention in South Sudan will be as perfect as it can get. The difference, he claims, between failed regime changes like Iran’s and potential involvement in South Sudan is that the South Sudanese live under a representative democracy. The conditions are right, he claims, and to waste the opportunity would be a disservice to the South Sudanese people.

As committee draws to a close, the debate remains undecided, but it was apparent that the Republic of Madacargar’s words of keeping the United Nations’ roots as a collaborative body were at the backs of all delegates’ minds. Despite division, the attempt to craft clear and meaningful resolutions was clear through the intense motivation and dedication from all in the room.

Bloc of SPECPOL delegates grapple with question of western intervention as they craft their first working papers.

Bloc of SPECPOL delegates grapple with question of western intervention as they craft their first working papers.

MIGRANTS IN THE ARAB LEAGUE by: Isabella Iazetta

Beginning on Friday, the Arab League addressed migrants and economics, relations between nations, and border control. The main focus of the Arab League centralized on whether  the migrants would be allowed into the countries, how the migrants will be treated and screened once arriving in  their new country, and how the migrants will impact the nations they leave and migrate to.

During an unmoderated caucus, a group immediately formed around Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Kuwait. The UAE delegate, Wyatt Ren, insisted that all the countries needed improvement. Egypt suggested that  governments need to monitor how the migrants impact the economy. Kuwait said the countries that the migrants are leaving need stability; they need to be a place citizens want to stay. On the other hand, Kuwait’s delegate Ana Beatriz Soto asserted that migrants take jobs, so the countries need to be rebuilt to create jobs. Egypt’s Nadya Ponthempilly suggested stopping the incoming migrants at their source. She did acknowledge the Arab League could not send all of the migrants back.

Delegates at work during unmoderated caucus


Delegates at work during unmoderated caucus

Migrants and Economics

Removing all migrants would harm the economy because a migrant worker earns wages and then spends most of the wages in the host country, therefore boosting the host economy. The UAE also relies on the migrant workforce by promoting policies and reforms as it strives to make migrant working more humane. Qatar, another country with a high migrant population, is seeking to seek establish better labor laws, by implementing ideas such as minimum wage. Even though Qatar has a large migrant population, it incorporates them into the workforce and boasts an .1% unemployment rate. Kuwait brought in migrant workers to man the oil fields; the country has brought in so many migrants that as of 2017, they made up 70% of the total population.

Morocco offered an opposing side of the conversation stating that migrants are not beneficial to the economy. There are no jobs for the migrants, so the people cannot support themselves and just harm the developing economy. Egypt opposed total integration saying there is often conflict between migrant workers and natives. While Morocco and Egypt did not want to deter all migration, they brought up important points regarding challenges faced by migrants and countries looking to accept these migrants.

Infrastructure

Proper functional infrastructure within the host countries is vital for success of a migration solution; the migration process must be streamlined. Lack of formal jobs creates a lack of social security. The UAE said it hosts generous policies in regards to giving money to other countries in region and it supports development in sub-Saharan security policies. Qatar has a modern infrastructure so it requires migrants and careers for those migrants. In contrast to most other countries’ beliefs, Qatar wants the migrants to then bring the skills back to their home country.

Border Control

The delegates believe that border control should be used to assess and categorize migrants. The control does not need to be severe, as severe control will only agitate migrant/naive relations. Soto said the issue should be addressed “from the perspective of a migrant in order to come up with the most adequate and innovative resolution.” Border control often creates human rights violations, but it does not have to be that way. If the Arab League as a whole oversees border control, it can be regulated. Egypt took particular interest in border control because it receives many migrants from bordering countries. Border control needs to stop migrants at the source. There should be a regulation system, monitored to ensure it is humane. There needs to be refuge assurance to those who deserve it. Border control needs to be an effort from every country, or it will not work for any country. Exactly how the countries would work together was not debated.

Solutions

The UAE proposed potential reforms for current laws and systems. Ren said the UAE currently has sponsorship systems and visas, but the system is flawed and holds little regard to human rights. Ren explained “Egypt, Morocco and [the UAE] are focusing on reforming practices in host countries when migrants arrive.”

Kuwait said there should be collaboration between countries; funds should be pooled. Soto suggested the countries that refuse to accept migrants should have to pay more. UAE’s Ren continued, saying it needs to be “safer and easier for migrants to find stability and work in the Arab and African states…”

By Friday’s end, there was a plan to form a solution. Qatar explained how all the blocs were working together in groups and “focusing on how to fix the situation… by supporting the countries where [migrants] come from.” The first group was led by Kuwait with the purpose of improving infrastructure. The second group was headed by Qatar, Palestine, and Syria with the purpose to improve the migrant’s journey. Group three, the UAE, Egypt, and Morocco, addressed what will happen when refugees arrive. The first group would focus “on how to help [...] migrants along their route by instituting sanctuary cities.” Kuwait commented on that first group saying its goal was “ensuring stability in sub-Saharan nations.” The second group wants to ensure that “the journey is safe and secure,” while the third was to “to assure proper inclusion once they arrive at their destination.” As the Arab league seemed to come closer to a solution for the migrant crisis, populist uprisings and possible extremist outbreaks delayed the discussion. The delegates will need to find common ground, or the fate of the migrants will not be determined any time soon.

Syria, Palestine, and Qatar proposing their solution to improve the migrants’ journey

Syria, Palestine, and Qatar proposing their solution to improve the migrants’ journey

HUMAN RIGHTS, A COUNCIL DIVIDED by: Kat Tarantino and Kate Schellekens

The discussion of the growing and disadvantaged disabled population triggered a divide in a council dedicated to human rights.

As discrimination against disabled people becomes more and more prominent, the Human Rights Council, made of representatives from across the globe, debated how to approach the issue. While some delegations discussed ways of providing  governmental and infrastructural support for affected individuals through awareness campaigns, some delegations proposed drastic measures to distance disabled individuals from society.  

To deal with the issue, Japan, Portugal, and Iran discussed granting rights and creating support programs based on the nature and severity of an individual’s disability, which could only be done if the committee reaches a mutual understanding of what it means to be disabled. Thus, the United Arab Emirates and Argentina directed the committee to focus on choosing a definition for the term “disability,” so that the procedures to protect the rights of people with disabilities could be upheld uniformly across the world. Panama proposed terminology that included identifying “mental, physical, developmental levels” that would indicate if an individual was “fully participating in the full standards of life”. However, the committee did not establish a concrete definition of the term “disability”, although it was continuously brought up.

The delegations from Panama, India, Norway, Nigeria, Germany, and the United Kingdom collaborated to draft a working paper. These representatives focused on creating programs that would reduce discrimination and make more citizens aware of disabilities. Additionally, representatives suggested developing programs that focus on education, occupations, and social skills..

The delegation of Panama acknowledged that in Panama, progress needed to be made to increase accessibility for disabled individuals. Still, they emphasized that the priority of their government is to end discrimination through awareness campaigns instead of working on physical accessibility first. The nation advocated for the committee to take a similar approach to help increase the rights of people with disabilities.

Other delegations in the committee decided that enforcement rather than awareness was the best approach. Guatemala pointed out that while media campaigns may be useful in developed nations, they may not be the best action for this committee, since many citizens in third world countries do not have access to social media and other means of communication.

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Honduras agreed that enforcing support should be the primary concern of the committee and suggested focusing on creating access to public facilities and establishing educational, occupational, and social programs for rehabilitation of disabled individuals. Thailand and Myanmar took this one step further by establishing an achievable goal of “integrating the disabled into the workforce [over a] 1-2 year period” in an effort to increase their functionality as members of society.

On the other hand, opposition delegations including Russia, Bolivia, North Korea, China and Venezuela had a more offensive and direct approach to the issue with Luke Arkins, the Delegate for Venezuela stating: “we want no infrastructure and if possible we would like to sterilise or euthanise any disabled persons … their presence is sort of a blight to our beautiful country”.

These delegations believed that by removing disabled people and the burden they represent from a society, a stronger and more efficient political, social, and economical nation can be fostered. They argued that disabled people posed no benefit to society and had the common agenda of giving disable people “no more rights than already existent”, according to the delegate of North Korea.

It seems that while both blocs of the Council agreed that disability is a growing and concerning issue, they have yet to come to a conclusion as to the most humanitarian way to create a solution. The controversial words of the delegate from North Korea sparked a conflict between the blocs, truly showing the divided nature of the council: “a world without disability is a better world”.




 

US PRESIDENT PROPOSES NOVEL APPROACH TO CLIMATE CHANGE by: Frances Angelene G. Rivera

In the year 2300, climatologists concluded that the Earth will be uninhabitable after 30 more years. In the midst of this environmental turmoil, global leaders established the Climate Change Crisis Committee with the noble cause of mitigating the effects of climate change.

Prominent leaders included in the Crisis Committee were the United States (US) President, the head of Immigration and Refugee Services, the head of the European Union (EU), and the head of the African Union (AU).

Before the creation of the organization, the United Nations (UN) determined that the world population in 2300 will only be approximately 2.3 billion people - smaller than that of the 1940’s. In an alternative end, the UN also estimated that the world might host five times more people in 2300 relative to the 2018 population of 7.6 billion. Either way, both circumstances foreshadow the decreasing viability of the planet.

To date, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)  has been developing energy innovations such as jet biofuels, wind farms, renewable electricity, artificial photosynthesis, and hydrogen bus while Toyota along with Kenworth and UPS have started to invest in fuel cell technologies which enable vehicles to run on hydrogen and oxygen. Moreover, more than 1,200 environmental policies over 164 countries such as Japan, the Philippines, and Thailand were already enacted to mitigate climate change.

In January, however, US President Jamie Warren proposed a very novel approach to stymie climate change. He utilized the term geo-engineering, a process where sulfur dioxide and calcium carbonate will be deliberately placed to the atmosphere in an attempt to rebuild it. “We have to make radical decisions. We only have 30 years left,” said Warren, who implicitly admitted how risky it was.

Warren assured that reversing global warming through sulfur dioxide and calcium carbonate is a natural phenomenon especially during volcanic eruptions. However, a research study published in Nature Communications suggested that geo-engineering might increase the occurrence of cyclones and droughts in some parts of the world. “Our results confirm that regional solar geo-engineering is a highly risky strategy which could simultaneously benefit one region to the detriment of another,” said Dr. Anthony Jones, the lead author of the study.

The head of Immigration & Refugee Services, Mitra Kaube, the head of the EU, Hadley Roijakkers, and the head of the AU, Ejiro Afolabi all shared similar sentiments regarding the US’ proposal. “The United States’ plan is a miracle solution but we need something alongside it,” said Roijakkers, who proposed maximizing renewable & clean energy in an artificial environment as well as using migrant workers to build energy plants in Iceland.

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“We cannot rely on fossil fuels anymore. We have to supplement it with wind & hydroelectric energy,” said Kaube.

Afolabi also noted that geo-engineering must undergo a test run first before implementing it as a long-term solution. “We haven't seen the long-term effects, we need alternative solutions,” said the head of the AU.

Having heard the notions of his fellow leaders, Warren amended to build a three-year geo-engineering trial power plant in the Middle East where the citizens are currently evacuating due to the rising temperatures.

Another solution presented by the leaders was carbon capture where in bonds of carbon molecules will be disrupted to reduce carbon dioxide in the air. Educating the lay regarding the conservation of energy through seminars and talks was also proposed as an alternative solution in order to to maintain a good level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

In 2014, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that “more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.” Sadly, it took 286 years for global leaders to take the matter seriously after several failed climate accords like the one in Kyoto and Paris.

“We still have the ability to avoid catastrophic consequences. The task is to summon political will,” Al Gore insists, the personality behind the movie Inconvenient Truth.

UNESCO SITES AND ARTIFACTS: TO MOVE OR NOT? by: Sofia Rochelle R. Tidoso

Delegates from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) were busy discussing the various ways to protect and preserve the heritage sites of the world. UNESCO delegates talk about the issues regarding the preservation of world heritage sites in conflict zones. Several significant cultural and natural sites all over the world have been put in danger due to the many conflicts of different societies and nations. Two proposed solutions have been raised: to remove and transfer the artifacts from conflict zones to safer areas within the same country and to educate the citizens about the artifacts.

Though the aforementioned proposals seem to be the best solutions presented, there have still been divided thoughts and views from the delegates. Some delegates support the idea, stressing that only artifacts in sites that are at extremely high risks of being destroyed are to be moved, and at the discretion of the member state.

Others disagree with moving the artifacts and sites – arguing that it is very expensive and difficult, if not impossible, to move UNESCO heritage sites. Also, it has been stressed that moving the sites do not fix the problem. “The sites are the target, so moving them anywhere else would just make them a target at different locations,” states Kate Condron, the UNESCO delegate for Nigeria. She also adds that the less developed countries – those who have less funds and resources to move the artifacts and sites – are actually the nations that are more frequently attacked by terrorists.

The other solution proposed during the committee session, supported by a number of countries like Indonesia and Germany, is very similar to the proposal mentioned above. However, it involves the aspect of education. It proposes that movable artifacts be transferred to safer places, and that the focus should be placed on security for unmovable sites like temples natural wonders, and adequate education and information be given to the citizens involved with the artifacts and sites.

The concern of the topic being a UNESCO issue has also been raised, as situations per country differ. Norway’s UNESCO delegate, Skyler McGee, says that terrorist groups have different motives and reasons for attacking, so there is no single resolution that can solve a problem faced by multiple countries. UNESCO heritage sites constantly face threats of damage and destruction due to conflicts, which may be caused by a myriad of reasons, from political disagreements to religious disputes. Finding the perfect resolution proves to be challenging for the delegates, as there are several aspects to consider. Condron adds, “Not the actual sites are the issue, I think it’s the culture behind it.”

 

NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR MILITARY POWER UP FOR DESTRUCTION by: Miguel Anthony L. Mendoza

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The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) kicks off YMUN XLIV with Nuclear Militarization of North Korea on the agenda. In the first committee session, the delegates debated back and forth on how to deal with the nuclear threat from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The countries involved are the Russian Federation, Egypt, Uruguay, the United States of America, Ethiopia, the United Kingdom, Italy, Kazakhstan, Sweden, Senegal, France, Japan, China, Ukraine, and Bolivia.

The delegate from Ukraine, Owen Nowitsky, argued that the best approach would be to negotiate with DPRK through peaceful and non-aggressive reforms. Nowitsky claimed that based on the previous events, DPRK is clearly open to negotiations with other countries. In an interview, Nowitsky, said that the best solution would be to just keep a watchful eye on North Korea and that there should be less foreign involvement with the country.

However, other nations, such as Japan, do not trust North Korea enough to go into trade talks with the nation.

“Why would we trust a nation that poses a threat to international security?”, said Japan’s delegate. The delegate argued that member-states should revisit all trade deals to weaken North Korea’s economy.

The United States of America’s delegate, Jared Lawrence, concurred that the trade deals with DPRK should be revisited to weaken the country’s economy. Lawrence also argued for North Korea’s demilitarization. If this were done, the country would not be able to produce more nuclear weapons and would be forced to negotiate with other nations. Lawrence said he thought that North Korea would need to undergo a regime change, considering the notorious past of the Kim bloodline.

Still, Senegal’s delegate, Jae Hee Foh, was supportive of the demilitarization of DPRK, but they would not want to entirely shut down trade with the country. Foh said that Senegal had important trade connections with North Korea, so they would naturally disagree with the proposed halting of trade deals. Foh claimed that  there were better ways to resolve the issue without cutting trade. Foh suggested that instead of coming up with harsher sanctions, member-states should just implement the existing sanctions on a stricter basis. Another suggestion Foh gave was focusing on making sure that DPRK’s revenue from trades do not go towards funding the production of more nuclear weaponry.

Despite all that, the committee also discussed the issue of whether North Korea can be trusted if it ever went into peaceful negotiations. Based on the past experiences, some members argued that DPRK could not be trusted since they did not abide by the agreements they made, especially the ones from the “six-party talks”. This is why the delegates also debated whether North Korea was willing to communicate and commit to whatever agreements they make.

Overall, the one thing the members agreed on was that North Korea should get rid of its nuclear weapon arsenal, but were unsure of whether to impose sanctions and halt trade deals.

 

TWO PROPOSALS LAID FOR GOVERNANCE OF JERUSALEM by: Faith Emerene S. Alarde

The ambiguity of the state of Jerusalem as to whether it is internationally governed, is continually hindering the progress of peace between Palestine and Israel. The peace accord between the two nations grow tenuous as Israel blatantly continues to violate international law through Jewish settlement projects in their annexed part of Eastern Jerusalem. Properly defining the role of Jerusalem is crucial towards reaching a peaceful relationship between the Muslim and Jewish communities.

In the YMUN committee of the Oslo Accords, delegates of Palestine, Israel, and Norway all convened to discuss the fragile peace and the animosity between the nations of Palestine and Israel. The convention discussed the pressing need for a better solution than that of international governance. Delegate Joel Peter who is representing the Palestinian Jibril Rajoub states that Jerusalem working under corpus separatum is no longer feasible: it “has not worked in the past and I believe that the more we are discussing the more we see that we are Incompatible”.

Two proposals were introduced: The JEW Plan or the “Jerusalem Expels War” Plan aims to unite both sides of Palestine and Israel and to promote a healthy collaboration, involve international mediators such as Norway, which can remain independent and objective to the internal conflict. The JEW plan also stresses that Israel should oversee security within the region and especially at holy sites in the city. A second proposal is called the JAF Plan or the “Jerusalem for All Faith” which generally highlights the same things as the JEW plan, and in place of a country as an international mediator, the plan considers the UN to be auxiliary support in monitoring the actions of both Palestine and Israel.

JEW also puts emphasis in the opposition of religious segregation among its concerns is that Israel heading security in holy sites compromises the equality of the expression of faith. Peace accords between Palestine and Israel have always been taut with tension which results to the peace being cut short. Therefore, both proposals have incorporated a third party into their plans so that transparency, accountability and effectiveness in the pioneers of JEW and JAF is ensured.

Delegate Rachel Weiss, representing Israeli Yossi Beilin on establishing peace between Israelis and Palestinians: “we are trying to implement this idea of a neutral task force which would either include people from Norway which is the mediating body of the Oslo Accords or from people who have neutral stances who are either Israeli or Palestinian so that they would come together on the task force and slowly phase them out once they see that Israelis and Palestinians can co-exist equally.” Jerusalem is the promise land to some of the strongest and oldest religions in the world.

Ultimately, Jerusalem pacifies the dissonance between Muslims and Jews most especially, and therefore is quintessential in keeping the peace between Palestine and Israel.

 

HEAD START FOR IRISH INDEPENDENCE by: J.J. Canama

Delegate Thomas Nardini, who acted as the Envoy of the United States, Harry Boland, made a statement moving the country of Ireland towards patriotism. Nardini stated an overview and together with his colleagues who wishes to have an independent country.

Considering Nardini’s statement is obligated  to comply with the needs for the country’s patriotism; especially in time of war. The overseas partners as to seek through the conquest of independence; and the possible and expected resolution that he might be giving about the given topic of independence. A question left him to wonder as to what will be his choice in getting independence in the country of Ireland. Faith or Power? As Nardini spoke, he would rather choose to take arms in governing during the time of war by reaching out through the Council of United Nations, specifically the Crisis Committee, since it is essential to make things right in the first place and to justify the case in a diplomatic manner. Whatever happens, a charge of strict implementation for security reasons and a domestic order would be possible at any point in the country of Ireland, especially in the Northern part of the country.

Internationally, the country of Ireland has no countries to depend on, yet they have a direct contact with the Papacy and the countries of Portugal and Spain. Despite of it, there are no other established connections towards other international countries throughout the whole world. His aim was to bump through independence in a strategic manner first, but if ever it gets worst, they will have to fight for independence by force and to make it clear that the British Colony has no power to bring their country out of nowhere. Nardini, together with his colleagues made it through the fast-paced debate. Tensions built up and broke into an unmoderated caucus, leaving him a cliffhanger as to which will he choose in terms of getting independence to either faith or power. He then choose faith in a sense that it would be better to lead forward in a diplomatic and orderly basis rather than an independence full of repulsive past and meaningless death of people.

But, no matter what happens, if power is necessary, then he would have to. By the end of the two sessions, it was indeed a good and intense debate towards the independence of the country of Ireland. Nothing would happen and does not make sense without this kind of debate in helping the country into a flag-waving independency. A significant half of the event has made through and the independence of Ireland will come to its resolutions at the very end, soon.