Coronavirus Update: Due to the modified, online format of the course, the only committees that will be offered this year are - Security Council, Human Rights Council, and International Court of Justice.
Security Council (SC)
The Threats to Arctic Security
The uncertain political status of the Arctic region has become an incentive for certain states to interfere with the region’s territorial integrity for economic and military reasons. The rush for resources has materialized in endeavours such as Russia’s Yamal liquefied natural gas (LNG) initiative, supported by China and France, as well as the emergence of LNG spinoff enterprises, which had posed great environmental concerns. Furthermore, with the development of the Northern Sea Route to facilitate Asia-Europe maritime commerce, Russia had also deployed military personnel and artillery to the Arctic region to ensure its safety, including ballistic missile submarines, an action condemned by the US Department of State. In addition, American government statements published earlier this year also sought to paint Beijing as an Arctic actor including by suggesting that China’s scientific interests in the region may lead to overt Arctic military strategies, including submarine deployments. Perhaps the largest detrimental impact of a militarized Arctic has been the relatively concealed and unaddressed impact felt by the native peoples of the region. There are currently approximately 105,000 Inuit people residing in the polar area. According to various studies, a concerning portion of those people are still being exposed to the radioactive fallout of waste and old nuclear tests conducted during the Cold War.
The Consequences of the Indian Federalisation of Kashmir
The Prime-Minister of India, Narendra Modi, had revoked the special status granted to the region of Kashmir by virtue of Art. 370 of the Indian Constitution, which acknowledges the autonomy of the said region and its ability to promulgate its own laws. Consequently, Kashmir’s constitution, flag and penal code were nullified and its territory became a federal district belonging to India. The Muslim majority in Kashmir is at odds with Modi’s Hindu nationalism. Pakistan had issued statements threatening with military intervention, arguing that the démarches to federalise Kashmir were illegal. In August 2019, the Security Council convened on the issue. According to the Chinese delegation, the Council members felt that India and Pakistan should refrain from any unilateral interference with the region in question.
The Military Intervention of Turkey in Syria-
The Turkish president Erdogan had ordered the invasion of Kurdish-dominated parts of Syria against the accord with the United States. The Turkish president aims to persuade the US into severing ties with is partner in the Syrian conflict, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in aim of clearing the North-Eastern part of Syrian of US intervention for Russia and Turkey to take over, and as such prolonging the gross human rights abuses committed by Turkish-backed militias in the region. With this operation, Turkey also intends to create a 30 km “safe zone”, which is currently inhabited by Kurds, with the aim of resettling Syrian refugees in Turkey on that territory. However, Turkey argues that this endeavour was justified as it pertains to its inherent right to self-defense and to correcting the demographics in the safe zone that have been tarnished by the SDF. The Security Council has argued that this attempt creates a threat to security by allowing Islamic State fighters to escape.
Human Rights Council (UNHRC)
Addressing the Violence and Human Rights Violations of the Uyghur People in PRC
There is evidence that Chinese Communist Party has been structurally oppressing its Muslim population. Enforcing severe restrictions on Islamic clothing, prohibiting religious worship during religious celebrations, and establishing concentration camps are some of the most recent examples brought to light from Xingjiang the city with the most populous Uyghur Muslim community. It is estimated around one million Uyghurs have been detained in what the government calls “vocational training centres” or “re-education centres”. Inside these detention camps, more and more evidence is emerging of human rights violations, as well as reports of deaths and forced labour. Irrespective of the satellite imagery of the concentration camp in Xinjiang which depicts heinous human rights abuses, 36 states had issued a joint declaration to the President of the UN Human Rights Council and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights siding with the Chinese government’s policies. Delegates must address these violations and promote international cooperation to protect Uyghur human rights.
Safeguarding the Right to Freedom of Association
Freedom of association is one of the most basic rights enjoyed by humans as it ensures that every individual is free to organize and to form and participate in groups either formally or informally. The human rights situation in certain Central and Eastern European countries, in particular, shows that the right to freedom of association is increasingly under strain. Belarus, for example, shows a troubling picture. It has been monitored by various agencies such as Amnesty International and The Human Rights Watch for the past years with results consistently showing that President Lukashenko, who has been in office since 1994, has failed to address the systematic repression of opposition movements and NGOs. Seeing as the participation in activities of organizations that are not recognized by the state constitute as a criminal offence, the formation of civil society is impeded. As a result, a wave of arrests has targeted human rights activists in particular. Alternatively, in Poland and Hungary, the right to freedom of association is impeded through the rise of smear campaigns against civil society organisations that oppose the government’s policies as well as disproportionate funding granted to those civil society organisations that support the government. Maina Kiai, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly, has stated that “civil society has been at the forefront of numerous landmark political and social changes over the last decade; changes that have improved societies and individual lives in diverse and meaningful ways.” The erosion of freedom of association that is being witnessed, thus, represents an urgent challenge as it contributes to an ever growing trend of democratic backsliding that hampers the ability of citizens to monitor the human rights situation in a country. Additionally, such systematic violations of human rights have led to regional tensions. The situation in Belarus is, for example, a main obstacle to fostering ties with neighboring states as the relations between the EU and Belarus are still largely conditioned by the human rights situation. Delegates are, thus, requested to make recommendations on how to safeguard the right to freedom of association through discussing how to address the various factors that hinder the right to freedom of association such as funding problems, biased media framing and physical government repression.
The Eradication of Violence Against Women Participating in Politics in Colombia
During the negotiations of the 2016 Peace treaty in Colombia, there was a recognition that the armed conflict had disproportionate impacts on women. In response, women were included in the peace process in an unprecedented fashion. While the Peace treaty was initially celebrated for its inclusive approach, however, the implementation of safeguards for women has lagged behind. The assasination of mayoral candidate Karina García, for example, represents the violence committed against women participating in politics. Women running as candidates are further being attacked through threats to family members and sexual violence which creates a dynamic whereby women’s participation is discouraged as a result of fear and lack of guarantees for their security. The reason that women are being targeted for running as candidates is, in many cases, due to their perceived disturbance of the patriarchal order. Measures must be taken to ensure that a conducive environment is created where women and girls are able to participate in politics as the violence committed against them represents a failure to recognize their human rights, which includes freely developing their personal abilities, pursuing their professional careers and making choices without the limitations set by stereotypes, rigid gender roles and prejudices. The importance of addressing this human rights violation further stems from its positive effect on the range of policy issues that get considered and the types of solutions that are proposed as women's political participation has shown to result in tangible gains, including greater responsiveness to citizen needs, increased cooperation across party and ethnic lines, and a more sustainable future. The potential of increased women’s participation in politics to help secure lasting peace speaks to the relevance of this topic for the international community as the achievement of a post-conflict Colombia will enable progress towards efforts at strengthening regional relationships. Delegates are, thus, required to provide recommendations on creating safe spaces for women to participate in politics through addressing the social and political structures that uphold certain norms and expectations about the role of women in politics such that the human rights abuses against women participating in politics can be put to an end and the further benefits of doing so can be unleashed.
International Court of Justice (ICJ)
Ballistic Missile Incident in the Japanese Archipelago (Japan v. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea)
On the 28th of August 2019 at 15:30, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) conducted a missile test of a Hwasong-15 ballistic missile from a Korean People’s Navy ship sailing in international waters. During the missile test, the missile had evaded its programmed trajectory and crashed into the island of Edateku, a deserted island which is part of the Southern Japanese archipelago. In aim of seizing the impact of the accident and possibly amending the situation, the North Korean ship anchored near the island at 16:45. When the military crew, consisting of five lieutenants (Sangwi), a lieutenant commander (Sojwa), a commodore (Daechwa) and a vice admiral (Chungjang) set foot on the island, a Japanese military brigade outnumbering the North Korean crew had managed to capture three lieutenants, the vice admiral and the lieutenant commander. The commodore and the two remaining lieutenants had managed to evade and returned back to Pyongyang. The captured crew was then transported to the international office of Tokyo’s Fuchu prison and interrogated. The vice admiral, Mr. Kahng Sook Joo, was appointed Defence Attaché by the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs prior to the mission, which grants him diplomatic immunity pursuant to the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations. While being detained by Japan, all his possessions were searched and ultimately seized, including pouches sealed in diplomatic package. While going through Mr. Joo's belongings, Japanese authorities have discovered plans regarding a possible cyber attack directed at Japan’s biggest bank, Mitsubishi UFG Bank, aimed at freezing its mobile app and ATMs, as well as emptying the accounts of around 5000 of its users. Consequently, Japan has initiated proceedings before the International Court of Justice against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.