The last session of the URJCMUN 2016 started with a divided committee, where no agreement seemed to be possible. Last session ended with 2 draft resolutions to be presented, and today delegations, were waiting to see if Netherlands and Croatia where going to face up the other working paper. Both sides appeared to be worried and as the session came closer to the end delegations were starting to lose their patience, diplomacy and trust. The UK delegation went around the committee trying to ensure no supports have been lost and Croatia and Netherlands, went forward with their plan and continued developing its resolution and convincing nations to join them.
At the start UK, Turkey and UAE exposed to the delegations its draft resolution, which was based on the idea of creating a central financial fund supervised by the UNHCR. The aims of this fund were several; firstly, this funding would be designated to ensure human rights are respected and therefore, countries which host refugees should be able to offer decent housing and cover refugee’s basic needs. In addition, this funding should be a way of encouraging countries to host refugees. Turkey explained that the distribution of funds would be done by the UNHCR using a priority list of countries which are suffering the most due to this refugee crisis. Furthermore, The UK stressed the “importance of support from countries that are unable to host refugees or that can’t contribute financially, as cooperation is needed”, in order to make delegations understand, that even though they do not host refugees or give financial aid, they still have an important role.
Another proposal of the resolution was to use funding, to create safe routes in order to fight criminal organizations and avoid the number of people that are dying due to the dangerous conditions they are facing on their way to Europe. At this point, France raised its voice, which made these countries tremble of fear, as France wasn’t looking convinced enough. “We believe the suggestion of creating safe routes is a good idea, but a specific route needs to be established. How do you expect delegations accepting your offer, if it isn’t clear enough through which countries would this route go through”. The UK approached France during a non-moderated caucus to discuss this and received harsh declarations from France “Yes we did actually doubt in supporting Croatia rather that your working papers, because indeed, countries have been ignored, and France is feeling offended by USA’s accusations of not following our role, we feel that when someone doesn’t agree with you, you lose diplomacy and respect”. The UK‘s healing in the end worked, they listened to France’s proposals, and said they would talk with the USA about its proposals, which made France agree to be a signatory “if Balkan Routes are maintained, if it is created a new Mediterranean Route involving Italy, Spain, Portugal and France, and also if a route that goes to the Americas is created”. Lastly, France, seeing the importance and role that it was gaining gave more demands to the delegations asking them to “specify how and why we will choose those specific routes”.
Meanwhile, Netherlands and Croatia were on the tough situation of deciding whether to give up or not. They explained that the USA only offered adding their proposals to their papers, but that they wouldn’t give up on their paper. It was now on their hands, to choose if they should be the ones having an act of humility and accept the offer, or to maintain their position. After several talking and negotiating, Croatia decided “ we won’t present a new draft resolution, we have been for days negotiating, and we don’t want to be the reason for not reaching an agreement, as they won’t give up , we’ve decided to become the reason for an agreement to be signed”. Though, many delegations have seen this as an act of solidarity, others such as Pakistan felt disappointed, as they had seen these countries as an alternative to the USA.
Once the battle had finished, it was now time to work all together to create a Final Resolution, for this to be accomplished, the US, UK, Germany, Lebanon and UAE’s coalition needed to gain supports and therefore accept the amendments proposed. After Frances demands, and seeing Croatia’s and Netherland’s plan, clause 13 and 14 were included. These clauses specified that safe routes would be chosen taking into account climate, seasonal changes and any aspect that could hinder the process of refugees moving from one area to another. In addition, the suggested destiny locations and routes that they demanded were added, including America’s route.
After three days of insisting and repeating himself, the UAE managed to add in clause 12 its idea of cooperating with international labor organizations and the labor market, in order to provide refugees educative skills. The purpose of this proposal, was to firstly give them a real second chance, as gaining a job, “is the only way economies, and refugees are going to be able to flourish in this situation” and consequently as the UAE said “to make refugees no longer be dependent on aid”. To ensure no countries misunderstood this idea he explained “no jobs will be stolen, the point is to collaborate with firms in order to give economic benefits not only to refugees but also to the hosting country, let me explain, if a refugee earns a job, less funding would be needed for that person, and more money would be spent by that refugee, increasing money flow, which in a higher degree could even help to boost economies”. Turkey to avoid any excuses added that this would be a way of integrating people in nations such as Slovakia, who believe refugees don’t adapt to their countries.
During the final discussions, the UK lost patience, saying in response to the Holy See’s accusation of not being listened, “why would we talk to you if you have no vote” and adding to their comment of not having the support of an NGO such as Amnesty International that “Amnesty International doesn’t have a vote either, it doesn’t matter that they don’t agree”. When the UK realized, the press was around noting down their comments, the delegation attacked the press, accusing the journalist, of “not being professional and using off the record material, which isn’t allowed” and saying “you are not doing real journalism”. As writing, is our weapon to defend ourselves and we didn’t had the chance to, I will use this article to explain to the UK delegation, that when someone says something is off the record, they do not want it to be publicly reported, but it doesn’t mean the journalist, doesn’t have the right to publish it, it has the option, as we live in a country without censorship and therefore journalists have freedom of speech and therefore they are the last ones to decided what is published or not.
The resolution has been finally passed, and nations have managed to join hands and leave their differences aside to cooperate together. After these 4 days of MUN, we would like to thank all delegations that have cooperated and helped the press to produce their work; nations such as UAE, Turkey, Pakistan, The Holy See, Netherlands or Croatia, were always willing to give interesting interviews, share their views and comments and even collaborate to make the committee more interesting through chronicles. As a personal critique, the press center will like to suggest, that on the next URJCMUN chairs stress the importance of Press within the committee. We weren’t introduced until the second day, and until the end of the committee, people were still asking to journalists which country were they representing. During sessions, no gossips were sent to the press, neither roses; most journalists have said that they felt isolated and that they weren’t taken into account by the delegations. A way to improve this amazing experience for the press and make it more interesting for delegations would be to explain delegates the importance of reading chronicles and watching the reporter’s videos. In addition, it should be explained how they can use the press to have an even more interesting MUN, like telling secrets, for example giving information about notes being passed between countries, or it can be used to throw accusations to delegations or by asking to publish certain statements or news they have. People will be more aware of what is going on, more aware of what each delegation thinks or has said and a group of hard working journalists, photographers, cameras and reporters will feel much more integrated.
After two days of debates, countries have started to produce their draft resolutions. The session started with a total of four working papers, from one side, USA, UK, Germany and Turkey where on the road of finishing its draft resolution; On the same pace was the working paper of Middle East states, lead by Jordan, UAE and Lebanon. On the other side, new propositions surged, Hungary and Slovakia surprised the delegations with the announcement of their own working paper and an angry Croatia and Netherlands declared they were also preparing their own draft work.
The most distinguished debates proposed were fear of terrorism and the responsabilities of countries dealing with refugees. Greece asked for help saying "Every country should cooperate and make an effort, as our country is overwhealmed". On the same line France, felt dissapointed with nations refusing to accept refugees, arguing that " We have not closed our borders, neither taken their money, even though we have suffered from several attacks, therefore there is no excuse for central and eastern European countries to not accept refugees". An offended Hungary in response reminded, they had to declare state of emergency due to the refugee influx they have been suffering. In addition to this Lebanon mentioned the fact that "Some countries haven't signed the 1951", so therfore they believe they don't have the obligation to help refuges; A coment which Austria called "selfish" and which Pakistan used to highlight that the USA "In 2015 was asked by ACNUR to host 7 000 and only accepted 1600" and accused them of suffering islamophobia. UAE remained in cooperative terms and gave his hand over to delegations to join their working papers, stating that nations should work as a global community to tackle the problem.
Along the session, positions have been changing, tensions have been arousing and conflicts have surged. A fierce Pakistan announced its refusal to work with the USA, "As we found out today, Dondald Trump, is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, which USA is proud of, we would like to remind all delegations, especially Isalmic ones, that Donald trump is an islamophobic, and USA a country that keeps bombing Pakistan". Due to this, Pakistan has tried to create a coalition with Afganistan, though apparently the agreement failed. As a consequence, the closing borders issue came about, some countries positioned themselves in the same view as Serbia, who believes "closing borders isn't going to solve security problems" and on the other hand countries such as Hungary stated that closing borders "It is a way to protect our integrity, sovereignity and security". Lebanon replied to this debate with deception saying " we are fed up, we have 2 million refugees and all nations keep throwing roses to themselves, saying to be an example, and to be healing their suffering, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan or Egypt are a real example of suffering", Egypt added to this that European countries were "using terrorism as an excuse". Austria inspired by the declarations, revived and asked Slovakia why weren't they able to have some empathy towards refugees, if 20 years ago they had been receiving help from Austria with a similar situation; The reply given by Slovakia was basicly that the consequences of refugees had reached to a point in which crime was increasing and so mafias, and added that refugees do not adapt easily.
During a quick non-moderated caucas, hard accusations were thrown to different nations. Countries such as Saudi Arabia and Denmark, have been accused by the International Amnisty of violating human rights. This declaration alarmed Denmark, who defended themselved by remebering they are the third country in Europe hosting most refugees, and stated that they won't sponsor any resolution as " we prefer having our own policies and decision making". Furthemore, The Holy See threw accusations to all nations, they believe rules must be reconsidered as states as themselves and Palestine should have the right to vote. "We recognize Palestine since 1982, and we support them as a nation, no one is brave enough to talk about this", commented Pope Francis. In Adition, The European Union said to be disappointed with the US,UK,Germany and Turkey draft resolution, and confessed that they "won't vote for their plan, because they will send back refugees to their country of origin once the conflict has finished".
What most countries agreed was on the consequences that will occur if no agreement to solve the problem is reached. As Palestine said " If we do not solve this crisis, a domino effect will occur, in which an Influx of refugees in countries such as Jordan, will lead to closing borders, strong disputes and consequently a Middle East war will surge". This reminded delegations, the situation in which things where, and a non-moderated caucus began so working papers could be finished. The real conflict came at this point, while the US, UK, Germany and Turkish coalition were merging its paper with UAE's coalition, Croatia and Netherlands began talks between them, as they felt " US is just paying in order to not recieve refugees, and isn't listening to alternatives"; and with the debating, came the recruitment of nations. Netherlands proclaimed that "we will not do any kind of agreement with US nor UK, we are very offended, once you agree to be a sponsor to their draft resolution, they stop listening you". In addition to this they added that "they seem to not understand, that if there's a certain space in a box, you can put more people inside it, no matter how much money you give". Hungary and Slovakia decided to move towards this new coalition, as they felt they had more similar desires and "our demands are being listened and included".
The rumour of an alternative spreaded, and Pakistan with Syria,China and Afganistan added themselves up to the list of posible sponsors of the Netherland and Croatian plan. When the news came to the UK, US and Germany, they fought untill the end to reach an agreement with the nations they had lost to this new coalition, Germany approached Hungary , to convince them to return to their proposition as they "would give Hungary economic aid". When Austria was driven into this new coalition, immediatly appeared Germany and the UK to regain its sponsoring, by explaining Austria that "we have been asking for opinons, we don't have time to talk to everybody, it's a mistake, we should have gone and talk to those countries", which apparently convinced Austria, who publicly said they weren't supporting Croatia. The huge problem was when the US and Croatia, and UK and Netherland had a talk. Croatia thanked the US for finally going to speak to them, and explained its reason for creating a new draft resolution, which was that the US hasn't shown any interest in negociating with balkan countries. US answered "you are weak and small countries, we have more supports, we are merging papers with the UAE". This created the spark to make Croatia burn out, they replied "we will not colaborate with you, we are increasing in sponsors". On the other side UK and Netherland's talks didn't go well either. Netherlands stood up strong on its position, and maintained they felt too offended and forgotten, and that no solution could be done, they will be looking for supports for their own work.
Tomorrow, is the last session of the UNHCR, with two draft resolutions on the table, and no agreements on merging papers have been made; On one side we have a merged resolution between US, UK, Germany, Turkey, UAE and Lebanon , and on the other side we have a new draft resolution sponsored by Netherlands and Croatia. Many nations haven't spoken yet, and others are still deciding where to position, which makes the situation unclear. The UNHCR has now become a competition to gain the most sponsors and be the working group which has its resolution chosen to be passed. We will have to wait until tomorrow to find out if any agreements are made and a solution to solve the actual refugee crisis is reached.
The UNHCR has discussed today three main topics funding's for humanitarian aid, fights against criminal organisations and resettlements of refugees. During the session, divisions began to be clear, and though some states haven't showed a clear positioning, three main groups have started to develop working papers to reach a solution for refugees. Firstly, a group led by USA, UK and Germany and with a strong collaboration of Turkey, developed the idea of creating a central financial fund. Secondly Arab states have reached an understanding and lead by the United Arab Emigrates began to develop a plan. Lastly a small bonding has surge between countries which have had border issues and are used as routes to Germany; Led by Croatia, Serbia and Czech republic, this small group developed a plan which clearly stated they didn't want powerful nations such as the USA to be the ones who decide the policies or management of refugee aid within their countries. In addition, Serbia appointed that "they will look for economical aid towards Russia", the reason for this explained Czech Republic is that "The USA hasn't showed commitment to cooperate with us, plans which involved our countries are being developed without us". Nevertheless, there has been talks between other countries during the session, it is to stand out Turkey, Jordan and the UAE's cooperation whom have showed an active interest towards all nations. In addition secret conversations have been going on between different nations such as China and USA, which we hope to find out soon about.
The committee began with the issue proposed by Turkey of funding of humanitarian aid. Turkey was the first one to suggest "setting up a fund to lead with financial struggles going on in countries that are accepting refugees". UAE agreed with this issue, and emphasized on the fact that refugees were reliant on aid and proposed the idea of using funding for integration of refugees in the labour market, idea that was mentioned during the whole committee and no countries seemed to respond. All countries appeared to accept this idea but in deeper details clashes occurred. The only exception for this was the Holy See, who felt offended and remembered "people are not just numbers, refugees can't be considered as economic data". Pakistan and Jordan demanded they should be included on the list of countries who will receive this aid, and as Pakistan said "Economically strong countries should send money to countries who don't have capacity to help refugees". After this, USA proposed a non-moderated caucas to draft working papers for this funding. Here was the turning point of the committee, when division began to arouse. Whilst USA, UK, Turkey and Germany where developing its working paper and agreeing with the clauses exposed, Jordan didn't give its full approval as it won't accept clause 2 of the working paper, which states it "Recommends the monitoring of this central financial fund by the main donating powers".
The second topic suggested by Germany was criminal organisations, which Germany defined due to UEA's petition as "organisations that take the money of refugees in exchange of entering them illegally into a country which are named as mafias and traficant's". Germany suggested giving ID cards to refugees which will contribute to know each individual situation of each refugee. Though UK saw it as a good initiative, it wasn't convinced as it said "it could make people feel discriminated". Russia, with little response from the rest of the countries, suggested as a solution "raising a new fund that will help fight those organisations". The last proposal which was held by the UK to solve this issue, was creating legal routes. UAE agreed, but felt it should be held as a topic itself, not as a possibility for solving the issue of criminal organisations.
Resettlement of refugees brought the most disagreeing between countries. Many nations declared that they will not accept more refugees such as Pakistan who explains that "with the actual US bombing, our country is unable of dealing with refugees, our country is in a delicate moment, and needs aid as they have been the host country for 3,5 million Afghans". On the other hand most countries such as Sweden, UK or France gave a limit of refugees they will accept. Nevertheless, there were still nations, especially Jordan, much poorer than the ones who posed limits for refugees, who openly said they will still accept refugees. Jordan is an example for hosting refugees, in 2015 more than a million refugees sought asylum in Jordan and these refugees as they remembered "80% are no longer living in camps and have a house". Lebanon added that in its case and other bordering countries with Syria "relocation should be done, as a global problem is solved globally, and we are overwhelmed".
In addition, the Holy See's controversial demand of being given the right to vote has been rejected. The organisation hasn't explained why such decision, but the Holy See, outraged with the situation, hasn't remained quiet. As a protest, they decided to cross out on its card the word "observer", and even though it hasn't been admitted, it has participated in all votings.
Today, the talking has began, members of the UN have gathered toguether to try to reach to an international solution for the Syrian crisis. The Chair Meryem Adyn gave us an overview of the basic concepts which surround this crisis such as the meaning of the concept refugee and she went through the actual situation worldwide in relation to refugees.
The Chair, to begin, highlighted article 2 in which is defined the term "refugee". A refugee is a person which must be outside of its country of origin or residence, whom has a fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, natonality, sexuality, political opinion or being a member of a particular social group. Another important point introduced was Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which establishes that everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state, and have te right to leave a country and return. In addition The Chair reminded article 14 that says everyone has the right to seek asylum from persecution to another country. The speech went deeper into this issue, stating that even though these articles have an important role and help refugees, there are still many problems to solve and articles to define. "The problem is where can you go. This is because states maintain control, and have the power to authorise people to enter their territories. Therefore we have the right to leave but we don't have the right ot enter another country." commented The Chair. This means there is a problem with these articles, as people can leave but they can't enter any countries, and in order to be considered a refugee and seek asylum you must be outside your country, but, if you can't entry another country, how can you leave your country and become a refugee?. "We must rethink about how the system works" she said while explaining that we should think what should go before, leaving a country and entering into another, if possible to demand asylum, or demanding asylum before leaving and being recognised as a refugee.
This issue has created and increase in criminal organisations, who take advantage of the situation and in exchange of money they entry refugees illegaly into countries by smuggling. Therefore this complicates more the situation, because it gives countries the excuse, to expell refugees. If this continues happening the Non- refoulment policy which the UN is trying to promote will fail. "This policy is the way to encourage countries to not sent back or expell refugees, as they should be given a second chance" mentioned The Chair. Therefore, if entries are allowed, no smuggling will occur, and refugees cases could be treated more effectively as these are "individual" mentioned The Chair because "it must be investigated one by one if they reach the conditions needed to be a refugee."
In addition a key point in today's meeting was ISIS. Meryem Adyn stated that it is not only a Civil war problem, "damage is donde by non-state actors, who we call terrorists". This issue is an important point to tackle, as it is becoming an international conflict involving all states in the world and it is very alarming that civilians could be manipulated against the rest of the states to join ISIS.
After the Chair's introduction, countries positions were exposed in the Comitee. A revelation has been The Holy See's open declaration of demanding the right to vote, as it claims to be a member of the UN and therefore it should no longer be considered a mere observer. We will have to wait for tomorrow to see what is the resolution given to their demands. Futhermore, positions introduced today showed already a divided world. Some nations, show their interest in helping and bringing in refugees, if aid is recieved, an example is Jordan, a country with a much lower GDP and capacity than most European countries and as its delegate said "it is still is providing shelter and education to refugees". On the other hand, several states, declare they will collaborate and help, but outside its borders, as Afganistan which stated clearly "no refugees will be accepted". A case, which has already borught controversion and will give a subject to talk about is Arabia Saudi's position who clearly stated they will select refugees if allowed to their country depending on their financial situation and religious condition, rejecting any religious refugee who is not Suniie.
Lastly, three key members which showed a strong and determined position where Russia, Germany and France. Germany, remember the refugee crisis they suffered after the second world war, remembering the members that they do understand what situation syrians are going through and that they wanted to find a solution in which all countries are involved. As Germany's plan "an international and multilateral cooperation solution, in which countries fight toguether against criminal organisaions and brutal dictatorship" Russia and France in their exposition, agreed with Germany in creating a coalition against terrorism. As mentioned, these three nations showed an alarming preocupation of their population, and surprisingly these were the only nations who clearly and openly declared war to terrorism and demanded an alliance against ISIS.