Since half past nine, the different delegates have been filling the classrooms with an atmosphere of nervousness and restlessness, meeting in each committee and standing in front of the plaque of a country to which they will give voice for the next three days; Despite the new COVID regulations and the different measures that it entails, these delegates look like they’re willing to show the enthusiasm and energy required for this second edition of the URJCmun teen debate days.
In the classroom 105, María Mejías Bernaldo de Quirós and Adriana Beinat, both chairs of the Human Rights Council, welcome all the members of the UNHCR committee, starting an informal session by explaining the rules and terms of the debates and some games to give them an insight into the way they would work in the discussions. After a moderated caucus on pizza and tortilla toppings and their legality in culinary culture, the training finally ends, commencing the first “formal session” of the year.
After discussing the order of the topics, being the “Protection of refugees in the new global context” the first one to discuss, it's time for the delegates to propose different motions for moderated caucuses.
The first topic belongs to Mexico, for “refugees and COVID in transit countries”. Throughout the debate two clear positions can be seen, on one side, the delegates from Germany and Finland refuse to open the borders for refugees, even tho they understand the desperate situation and are willing to make a found for resources in order to help poor countries, as the delegate of Iran proposes; quite far from those ideas, Mexico worries about the expense that would be involved in helping immigrants against the possibility of using these resources for the benefit of their own citizens. We find a nervous and run-down Canada with speeches of ideal thoughts, confronting the delegate from Greece, with a much calmer and more polite style, and commonsense arguments that corner the opponent.
At the same time, Finland, France, Iran, Italy and Libya try to find solutions starting from smaller problems, such as giving aid to refugees in their own countries to prevent them from moving in this case of exception, and reorganizing areas to confine those who have already crossed the border, thus seeking small solutions based on the risks that each country is willing to take.
Throughout the morning the delegations will have established different discussions around some important issues around the concepts of refugees, the living conditions of refugees, an intervention of a third body, the impact of climate change on the poor countries women refugees and children refugees. The delegations that have stood out the most on this day have been Germany, Greece, Mexico, Iran, Finland, France, which has not only stood out for their rhetoric, and Canada, always standing out with its abrupt style, and who seemed to find calm after finding its name in some gossip. A change has been seen in Algeria, Cuba and South Africa, having started without saying a word and seen an evident evolution through the afternoon. It’s been a busy day in the UNHCR committee, with a constant movement not only in the gossip box, but also in the papers of the delegates.
Canada strikes with an alternative resolution
The committee meets in large majority to present a resolution for the first topic. Day 2 by Lucía Alfonso González.
It is the second day of the URJCmun teen sessions and there seems to be a clear objective, to reach a resolution on the first topic "Protection of refugees in the new global context". Greece is this time in charge of opening the debate at the UNHCR, followed by a proposition of a first motion from France, for a consultation of the whole: “concussions in order to reach a resolution for topic A”. The positions have not moved since yesterday and only the United States has changed its mind, refusing to accept the entry of refugees, thus denying the request proposed by Mexico. Iran, Iraq, Lybia and Syria, are some of the countries that are willing to host part of the refugees, thus helping the cause but in the right measure so as not to endanger their citizens. Turkey and Mexico intend to accept as many refugees as possible, while Germany, UK and France, among others, do not agree to open the borders. Starting from this structuring, the debates have been taking place, first Libya, with a moderated caucus for the topic “the opening of the borders”, in which after a few speeches in which countries such as Nigeria, Italy, Cuba and South Africa reaffirm their positions in opening the borders, while the Hellenic Republic recalls that they have already gone through a migratory crisis and the countries against it advocate for economic compensation from them to the countries that need it, as well as offering an inside body to help the transit countries. This is where the concept of money and financing appears, later brought up by China in a moderated caucus for the topic “Monetary aid for refugees”. The first problem that arises is the reality shock of the Chinese delegation, remembering the delegates that they are in an economic crisis and many of the countries present are not prepared to offer monetary aid, while those that can, as is their case or Finland one, they do not see it fair that only they should contribute this money. Meanwhile, China and France have had a heated confrontation about the lack of medical equipment, as well as the cases of re-bullying of masks from China, or those of appropriation during the waves of COVID from France itself, brought to the debate by Iran. Meanwhile, Syria and Libya continue to seek solutions to the refugee problem, wondering how those countries that accept "the most needy refugees" intend to identify this type of refugee. Throughout the morning and after the lunch break, different unmoderated caucuses have been held in order to begin to shape the resolution of this topic. Everything indicated that Canada would make the first appearance since it had been negotiating with different political powers, however, there has been found an alliance between Finland, Italy, Germany and France, who presented a first draft together as sponsors, along with a large part of the committee as signatories; it looks like France and Germany are finally getting closer. However, and above all prognosis, Canada has decided to go ahead with an alternative resolution together with Venezuela and the USA. Coming to the end of the day, and after a vote on the first topic, protection of refugees in the new global context, it has been closed with the resolution proposed by the French delegation, obtaining the approval of twenty of the twenty-three delegates present, thus giving way to the opening of the following topic: economic plunder and asylum seekers.
URJCmun TEEN says goodbye until 2022
The busy atmosphere, the delegates running around and commenting from one place to another, the last photos in the photocall, the last plans for the resolutions… URJCmun Teen 2021 comes to an end, and its components do not waste a moment in finalizing every detail. Since early in the morning, delegates have been working on the committee's second and final topic: Economic plunder and asylum seekers. After some proposals, Chile presents the first debate, a moderated caucus about the “refugee working conditions”.
The debate has revolved around multinationals and their expropriation of assets in poor countries, as well as the dire working conditions offered to workers, whether they belong to the country or refugees. Canada proposes turning these conditions into an article of human rights while countries like Mexico or Iran defend that the solution is to get these multinationals to stop exploiting workers from poor countries; Many of the delegates believe that, since these companies do not belong to the country, and make use of its workers, they should not be able to have the power to expropriate their assets, but must be managed by the government of the country to which they belong. The Hellenic Republic, together with the support of South Africa, affirm that the large multinationals take advantage of the arrival of refugees with a low lifestyle to make use of cheap labor, which has led Israel to propose a risky solution: to give more money to companies so that they can offer a higher salary to their employees, a programme that has been rejected by the vast majority of candidates.
The discussion has continued, followed by other topics such as child exploitation and its possible solutions, however, the session has ended before lunchtime, with a resolution proposed by Canada, Germany and Italy, with 17 delegates in favor, 2 abstentions and 5 delegates against.
In any case, the day had only just begun, and around 13:15 p.m. the General Director appeared at the committee to announce the following speech: “the Lesbos refugee camp was bombed today at 12 am in the attack it suffered. 3 Canadian doctors have died, and a total of 13 volunteers of Greek, Iranian, Finnish, American and French nationalities. Likewise, it is estimated that about 600 Syrian refugees have died and more than 3000 injured of the same nationality, due to the overcrowding present in the refugee camp ”. Despite the imminence of the news, the delegates have got down to work, with solutions that border on the macabre, such as the absolute bombing of Germany under a supposed "just in case", or the total annihilation of half of Europe.
In any case, the different delegations have solved the problem, and at 16:00 p.m. they took a last look at the UNHCR committee, to listen to the farewell speech of Ángel Fernandez Merayo (Director General ), Paula Mané ( Secretary General ) and Pablo Ruiz Jarabo (Deputy General Director of the UN). During this sentimental act full of emotional speeches and ovations, different prizes have been awarded to the best delegate, the best delegation, and an honorable mention, being the winners in this committee Gonzalo Miranda de Jaén, from the delegation of the French Republic, Christian André Ramirez Hurtado, from the delegation of the Hellenic Republic and Alexander Woodger Montoro, from the delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran, respectively.
And this is the end of the second edition of the URJCmun Teen debate days, with new and future delegates full of enthusiasm and a lot of learning, in addition to an experience that, if it was already extraordinary, has proven to overcome once again, and even with the barriers of COVID, the illusion, the effort and the initiative have brought forward these three days that for more than one will be the beginning of something unforgettable. And without anything else to add, the press team says goodbye until next year, it has been a pleasure.