Model United Nations conferences simulate United Nations, International Organizations, and governmental bodies such as the Human Rights Council, ECOSOC, and government cabinets- in which participants are assigned to represent countries, organizations, or leaders in order to debate pressing international issues. Over a series of committee sessions, “delegates” or attendees to the conference, have to work together constructively in order to introduce working papers and eventually draft resolutions. The sessions end when the committee votes on all the introduced draft resolutions, generally choosing to adopt a single document that addresses the problem being discussed.
Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas. La Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas es el órgano principal de las Naciones Unidas. En ella están representados todos los Estados Miembros, cada uno con un voto.
Reforma del Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU
Las circunstancias internacionales que se viven en el siglo XXI llevan a considerar la posibilidad de una reforma del Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas con el fin de cumplir con su responsabilidad primordial. El Consejo de Seguridad es el órgano esencial del sistema de las Naciones Unidas. Su misión principal consiste en determinar la existencia de toda amenaza, quebrantamiento de la paz o acto de agresión y tomar medidas (que pueden o no implicar el uso de la fuerza) para mantener o restablecer la paz y la seguridad internacionales.
La carta de la ONU sobre su artículo 27 establece el procedimiento de votación, por lo que toda decisión sustantiva será aprobada por un voto afirmativo de nueve miembros incluyendo la unanimidad del poder de veto la cual le corresponde a los cinco miembros permanentes (los Estados Unidos de América, la República Popular de China, la Federación de Rusia, la República de Francia y el Reino Unido de Gran Bretaña e Irlanda del Norte) y es aquí donde radica la controversia. Diferentes estados han transmitido su inconformidad en relación a la toma de decisiones del Consejo de Seguridad y por ello consideran necesario realizar una reforma, pues el poder de veto que tiene el consejo hace la toma de decisiones y además cuestiona su legitimidad.
Soberanía en el siglo XXI
A día de hoy, el concepto de soberanía entendido como el establecido en la Paz de Westfalia, donde cada estado era realmente “independiente de los demás” y que sus gobiernos poseían poderes absolutos de última instancia para decidirlo todo, ha quedado obsoleto. Pero debido a la Globalización y al progreso de las nuevas tecnologías, el concepto actual de soberanía ha evolucionado y ha asumido una cualidad líquida. Dicha evolución en el concepto político obliga a todos a reinterpretar su significado.
Soberanía a día de hoy debería discutir conceptos desde la no injerencia en procesos políticos de cada estado (Elecciones de EEUU, Brexit y Procés de Cataluña), la no injerencia militar en otro estado sin la autorización de ésta, la dependencia económica de un país a otro mediante la deuda externa, operaciones de espionaje o asesinato en otro estado (muerte del periodista Kashoggi, muerte de Kim Jong Nam, el ex espía ruso en Reino Unido…), las entregas extrajudiciales, los tratados de comercio, la integridad territorial (Reclamaciones históricas de territorio de un estado a otro como Gibraltar, las Malvinas, los altos del Golán, las islas del Mar del Sur de China…), la ciberseguridad (ataques cibernéticos a infraestructuras clave de un país por ejemplo) o incluso poner en tela de juicio los principios de integración de organizaciones regionales, entre otros.
The United Nations Economic and Social Council is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, responsible for coordinating the economic, social, and related work of 14 UN specialized agencies, their functional commissions and five regional commissions.
China’s investment in LDCs (Africa and Latin America)
Over the last few years, China has been growing at a very fast pace. The economic development of the country has surprised world powers such as the United States and Europe, who have decided to increase trade with this country. Today, this Asian Tiger is the world’s second largest economy.
Given this status, China has decided to go beyond and invest in Least Developed Countries (LCDs), such as those located in Latin America and Africa. Between 2010 and 2015, China became the largest investor in LCDs, increasing its investment to $31 billion. This country is focusing on helping through new technologies and loans. With this being said and taking into account that LCDs are not receiving as much help from other developed countries, it is easy to see why they are happily receiving Chinese help. However, we are also faced with a major issue: is this economic help simply for commercial reasons, or is China trying to increase geopolitical influence? What is the position of other economic powers on this topic?
China’s development is nowhere near close to stopping, and Chinese President Xi Jingping stands in to promote international cooperation and free trade agreements. But what is the opinion of other countries regarding this?
The World Water Crisis
Water shortages are happening right now in many countries around the globe. The problem needs to be solved soon since there are many cities that only have 50 liters per person of usable water whereas in rich water countries like the US, the average citizen uses around 375 liter per day. Water footprints vary greatly among countries and measures must be created to help those regions that will run on a full water shortage and won’t have enough water to sustain its population
However, this isn’t the full essence of the crisis. Water surplus, like floods in low-lying coastal regions, is also a problem accountable for many deaths and costly repairs.
The trigger of this crisis has been climate change since it is the one responsible for changing the rain cycles and the one who has made certain regions more likely to flood. The change in the flows of water has made the infrastructures that were created in order to process water useless. ECOSOC must take cards into this problem and come up with a solution.
Human Rights Council
The United Nations Human Rights Council is a United Nations System inter-governmental body whose 47 member states are responsible for promoting and protecting human rights around the world.
Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic People’s republic of Korea
How does one hold a country accountable for the gross violation of human rights? The default and airy answer tends to be the “United Nations”, the “UN Human Rights Council”and if one is lucky, “international law”. However this does not work in the case of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). In fact, the situation in the DPRK is indicative of an authoritarian government’s near total control of a society. That is, a government that in mere existence already defies the very principles of the UN, thus challenging its instrumental and normative powers as a problem-solving mechanism. Hence the annual report by the General Assembly of the situation of human rights in North Korea since 2003. So, we are confronted with a dilemma in which we must consider the very grounds for human rights so as to reconsider their universal applicability. This philosophical and contemplative exercise is necessary if we wish to hold a country accountable for the violation of a certain ‘right’. This is equally significant when discussing what we mean by human rights and in turn how we classify a right as a claim against a government to abstain from certain acts.
Are rights aspirational goals or constitutive of correlative duties? Whereas the former implies a desired result the latter refers to both a duty and an obligation. If they are the latter of the two, then on whom are the correlative duties? The answer is connected to the universality and moral strength of the right in question. Consider the ‘rights’ in the four international human rights treaties in which the DPRK has acceded - the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. According to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI), the DPRK has restricted all basic political and civil liberties - freedom of expression, religion and conscience, assembly and association - established in those conventions, thus systematically violating social, political, civil, economic and cultural rights, including organized political opposition, independent media and civil society, and free trade unions. Moreover and according to the United Nation’s Human Rights Resolution 2005/11, this has lead to a situation marked by “torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, public executions, extrajudicial and arbitrary detention, the absence of due process and the rule of law, imposition of the death penalty for political reasons, the existence of a large number of prison camps and the extensive use of forced labour”.
Furthermore, when discussing human rights in North Korea, former British Ambassador to North Korea John Everard claimed “I can trace no evidence that international efforts have had any significant effect on DPRK behavior”.
With this in mind, the committee would like to focus on two perspectives structured into two questions.
First, how does the international community apply international law to a country that lives outside international law? Thus alluding to the second question: should the human rights framework be set aside when dealing with North Korea? If so, what is the alternative? If no, how should the current framework be altered so as to complement a country that considers itself outside of international law?
Beyond merely recording the violations as a “threat to international peace and security” in the formal agenda for the third consecutive year, past proposals have been yet are not limited to the (1) creation of a group of experts (legal dimensions of international accountability); (2) referral of DPRK to the International Criminal Court; (3) establishment of a Commission of Inquiry; (4) creation of an independent and impartial judiciary; (5) referral to a UN thematic special rapporteur visit (2016); and (6) attempts at public diplomacy (e.g. President Moon and the 2018 Winter Olympics).
Thus, specific issues the committee would like to discuss include the universal applicability of human rights and coming up with an adequate process to hold a country accountable so as to alleviate further violation and continued crimes against humanity. These discussions are necessary since the DPRKs ongoing uncertainty and subsequent international instability is an inevitable feature of the future terrain. Issues of universal applicability of human rights, rights as aspirational goals or rights as duties, and legal dimensions of accountability will continue to be a problem and the situation in North Korea effectively reveals this dilemma by challenging the limits of international law.
Protection of Children in Armed Conflicts
“In all countries in the world, there are children living in exceptionally difficult conditions, and that such children need special consideration1”.
Armed conflict affect children in many ways attempting to various of their basic Human Rights such as the right to live, prohibition on coercion, corporal punishment, torture or collective punishment and reprisals. They are sometimes recruited as soldiers, sexually exploited, abducted or have their access to humanitarian services or education denied due to the different attacks in schools and hospitals. The protection of children is not only an essential element to break the cycle of violence, but a moral imperative. In international conflicts an important distinction should be made between civilians and combatants, therefore attacks against civilians are prohibited, and those include children. Children’s rights in armed conflicts are protected in different international treaties and conventions such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child2 (1989- 1990) or in more specific declarations as the Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict (1974). This is significantly relevant to the HR debate because in armed conflicts the most basic Human Rights are being violated and we cannot nor should forget that children are the future, literally. This being stated, the question is how should the UN control this issue and protect children and their human rights in armed conflicts taking into account the differences between those.
1. Convention on the Rights of the Child. Preamble
2. Article 38.4: “In accordance with their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect the civilian population in armed conflicts, States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure protection and care of children who are affected by an armed conflict.
The United Nations Security Council is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, in charge of maintenaning international peace and security as well as accepting new members to the United Nations and approving any changes to its United Nations Charter.
US – Russia START-SALT Treaties
The treaties regarding arms limitation, START and SALT, are not effectively working and the international community is on the verge of what could be a second Cold War. Therefore, it is our duty as Security Council to come up with a resolution that would not only deter but also cool down the rivalry between opposing countries. At the end of 2010, the U.S Senate ratified the New START Treaty in a conclusive vote, making it the first arms control agreement to be ratified since the 2002 Moscow Treaty. On the other hand, under the current Trump administration, the treaties have been denounced, provoking red-flags on behalf of security specialists, and exposing the administration to different challenges, such as dealing with North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities, and blocking Iran’s path towards nuclear weapons.
The Rwandan genocide took place against the Tutsi people, rooting from the Rwandan Civil War (1990), lasting for approximately a 100-day period, from April to mid-July in 1994. It was led by members of the Hutu majority government at the time, killing an estimated 70% of the Tutsi population and 30% of the Pygmy Batwa. At the moment, the Rwandan Genocide has left a deep wound on its society, affecting its current domestic politics- many see the current Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, as a controversial figure. The genocide ended with several controversies and long-term effects, such as a refugee crisis, dire domestic situation, and lack of culpability on behalf of the previous government and at an international level as well (the Clinton administration refused to take part in what they categorized “local conflict”).
The Munich Agreement 1938
La Conferencia de Múnich es considerado como uno de los grandes precedentes de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Durante este evento, Alemania, Italia, Francia e Inglaterra discutieron, entre otras cosas, el permiso para que Alemania se hiciese con el control de los Sudetes, una región de Checoslovaquia con amplía mayoría social alemana, sin riesgo de recibir una declaración de guerra por parte de las potencias europeas. ¿Serán nuestros delegados capaces de cambiar el curso de la Historia?