International Organization for Migration Tackles Human Trafficking

KATIE JONES, The Boston Globe

The International Organization for Migration is pushing to work towards a universal solution for an international issue: human trafficking. What are some of the hot topics? Sentiments in the room expressed a urge for protection of women and children, while some powerhouse countries pushed for increased data collection on trafficking reports.

International Organization for Migration in voting procedure.

The United Nations describes human trafficking as, “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”

For the United States, pushing more efficient measures of data collection will have a significant impact on identifying trafficking rings, as well as improving the availability of resources for victims affected by human trafficking.

“In the United States we have a national hotline for victims of human trafficking. We are the only nation in the world to do this. All other nations have suicide hotlines, but nothing for trafficking. This can be a step to solve these issues,” said the delegation of the United States in a statement.

Various countries echoed the need for data organization and improvement, as well as pushing for an economic halt to human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is a business,” said the delegation of Ghana.

Delegation of Ghana

Senegal, a region with high areas of human trafficking, also advocated for an increase in funds to be provided to law enforcement, as well as distributing more humanitarian aid for emergency responses. Germany also supported this cause, believing that trained officers could lead to lower trafficking rates.

“We should be training local law enforcement officers on how to respond to human trafficking reports, as well as how to convict criminals appropriately,” said the delegate of Senegal.

With additional funds for developing nations such as Senegal, the delegation hopes to push these funds towards establishing shelters and infrastructure to better support victims and their families.

In prevention of human trafficking, the delegation of Mexico advocated for addressing poverty, as well as promoting education to women and children on the possibilities and dangers of trafficking.

Going forward, if the committee officially votes to establish human trafficking as the topic of debate, delegates will analyze trafficking through a variety of perspectives — labor, sexual exploitation, as well as tissues, cells, and even organs.

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Is the Venezuelan Crisis Only in Venezuela?

MICHELLE JAEN, (CNN)

Discussing possible solutions to mitigate the migrant crisis of Venezuela was one the main focus of the first committee session of the Organization of American States. During a moderated caucus debating the crisis in Venezuela, delegates stressed the need for humanitarian assistance, both in Venezuela and in neighboring countries which are forced to “share the burden.”

Several proposes were made to tackle the issue at hand. Specifically, the Delegation of Canada proposed a system similar to the migration system of the European Union that is implemented during the various humanitarian crisis present in Europe and the Middle East. Similarly, Canada stated that, “We believe that it’s unfair the burden that the neighbors of Venezuela has carried.” The Delegation of Jamaica invites other organizations such as IOM or the UNHCR to help provide ideas and economic support to the Organization of American States to resolve the migrant crisis.

February 14,2019- First Committee Session of The Organization of American States discussing the Venezuelan crisis.

While other delegations stressed the idea to create an efficient migration system in South America, and the need to find support from other Non-governmental organizations, the Delegations of Bolivia and Brazil sought the need to create resource centers to provide food, and shelter as a direct help for these refugees. The Delegation of Brazil also emphasized on this point as he claimed that “Brazil understands what it means to be a neighboring countries of Venezuela. Brazil has allowed work permits and helped to move Venezuelans from northern provinces to major cities such as Rio de Janeiro to give them better opportunities. Second and most importantly is the focus on the resource centers that these refugees are going into based on a two-step solution: immediate help with food and medical aid, and an efficient sanitation system.”

Even though finding a long-term solution to the crisis of Venezuela would be to end its current political turmoil, and economic recession, delegates of the Organization of American States are attempting to foremost restore the political, social, and economic stability of South America. The Organization of American States have taken previous actions to address the situation in Venezuela, however, their efforts have not been enough. It now depends on the creativity of the Member of the OAS to find joint, cohesive long-term and short-term solutions to resolve the Venezuelan crisis.

Internal Push for Kurdish Awareness Campaign Creates Alternative Solution To Strife Within DISEC Committee

ISAAC BYKHOVSKY, Financial Times

Figure 1 The DISEC Committee listens to opening speeches

Off to a contentious start, the Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC) discusses “The Kurdish Question” after introductory speeches from delegates calling for solutions ranging from unification to integration, as well as reaching further to education and cultural assimilation. As these discussions continue late into Thursday night, the delegation of France makes a concerted effort to draw the committee’s attention towards Kurdish cultural awareness.

A clear theme of the committee has been to create universal definitions of statehood for the Kurdish people and region—as well to define if the Kurds are a ‘threatened religious minority’ or a sectarian group searching for their own governing power. To cut the partisan debate—the delegation of France moved to speak about “Kurdish Awareness.” In speaking with the delegate of France, she stated “We are looking for a long-term education solution—one in which the Kurdish history of suffering can be used to influence their security.” When introduced to the committee, the idea was accepted by delegates from the Russian Federation and the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK). Both delegations recognized the efforts of France to sway the partisan debate.

Figure 2 The Delegate from France (Right) with various members of DISEC

When asked what France’s long-term goal for this solution was, she stated “We untimely want to cooperation of Member states.” When pushed to give specifics, the Delegation of France’s hinted at a campaign that focuses on the “optimization and innovation of ideas.” She mentioned a movement to “implement Artificial Intelligence for uses in targeted campaigns of Kurdish education in United Nations member states.” The delegation of Russia echoed these sentiments, and further added that they are willing to provide such a campaign with funding and “institutional knowledge.”

These sentiments of cooperation, though, are few and far between in the committee. During opening speeches, the delegation of Iraq gave a speak which mentioned “internal kurdish protection,” while other delegates who asked to remain anonymous stated that

“people seem enthusiastic about non-self-governing territories as provided by Chapter 11 of the United Nations Charter.”

The delegate of France hopes to capitalize on this strife to create, as she put it, “a strong middle ground solution.”

The Financial times is excited to follow this solution as it develops throughout the conference and will continue to cover the story and its updates. It seems as the DESEC committee will continue to debate the Kurdish Question in several different directions.

Opinion: The Hypocrisy of“Self-Determination”

JEREMY HOLT, Le Figaro

As the United Nations Security Council convenes to address the issue of the national status of Kurdish people at the height of profound regional changes, one notices two distinct arguments taking shape. The first, articulated by states such as the United Kingdom, is of aggressive international support for a new Kurdish state, particularly in Syria, “liberating” them from what they portray as a strangling “intersectional oppression” from the Syrian government and ethnic sub-state communities such as the Syrian Alawites. The second, from as incongruous bedfellows as the United States and the Russian Federation, believes in supporting the “national self-determination” of the Syrian state, and strongly opposes armed intervention. The U.S. even went so far as to suggest to a Le Figaro reporter that “larger nations should not be mettling in the affairs of smaller states” – a dramatic turn from its Iraq War-era policy of the past decade and one indicative of declining American power. This second group favors civil rights and development initiatives for the Kurds and frameworks for proportional representation and an international Kurdish assembly.

Two separate policy arguments to be sure – however, looking beyond measures of military intervention versus rural education programs, one notices that they are not so different as one might think. In reality, they are both about national self-determination, the rub being whose national self-determination the international community should prioritize, Syria’s (and the three other sovereign states with Kurdish populations) or Kurdistan’s. The Kurds, for sure, believe themselves to be a nation . They have a shared language, flag, culture, and a history which archaeologists have been able to trace back to the third millennium, B.C.E. They have vast potential for economic clout powered by the reserves of oil falling in their occupied territory, and they have begun constructing a military alliance of their international militias. Save for the fact that their political union currently has no borders, they would appear to be as much of a nation as France or Spain.

Syria, by contrast, has existed under its current borders since the end of World War I, when the victorious Entente powers divided the Ottoman Empire’s former territory into administrative units. Its population comprises, Arabs, Circassians, and Arameans, in addition to the Kurdish minority in the north. It suffers from great internal disunity on account of ethnic differences and has been wracked by civil war. The American Belfer Center think tank classifies it as a failed state.

Why prioritize a floundering polity over one that is unified and hungry? The reason is that the former has borders. If Kurdistan were to come into existence out of Syrian, Iraqi, Turkish, and Iranian territory, who is to say that nation-states should not be cleaved out of the lands of other existing sovereign countries? It is in the interests of sovereign states to support the concept of the national borders status quo for the sake of their borders’ own inviolability, regardless of how shaky their own claims to cohesive nationhood might be, lest they be forced apart. Rather than being a rallying cry for oppressed minorities, “national self-determination” has become a byline for the status quo. Which, of course, we should not expect the U.N. Security Council to dare touch.

A Free Kurdish State?

RAHUL REGULA, The Sabah

In the Disarmament and International Security committee, delegates are revisiting the never-ending question about Kurdish state. Do the Kurdish people deserve to have their own internationally recognized state, or not? It is sort of comparable to a child trying to justify how urinating in public is all right.

There is a reason why the Kurdish people do not have a recognized sovereign land in the first place. Giving them the sovereign land would fracture an already volatile Middle East that is in political, social, and economic turmoil. To take away land from other Middle Eastern nations and form a new country with it is a recipe for disaster especially since they are known to take down governments in which they do not like.

The Republic of Turkey has to face the Kurdish threat every day since the so-called “freedom groups” or more formally known as the PKK fighters. These “fighters” only serve to harm the Turkish state and its people and spread their ill will and death too is citizens. How can the nations of the world give thought to the idea of giving these fighters, who murder innocents for an unimportant cause, recognition?

The Belgium delegation in DISEC on the state of the Kurdish people

The international community needs to understand this not from a social standpoint, but a security view. Now, they have helped out in times of need especially when it came to helping the Iraqi/US armed forces in the fight against ISIS; however, that is only so they can use this one-time example of their “cooperation” to get what they want. Even powerful nations such as the US know they cannot fully support the Kurdish cause because they also want to maintain stability in a reeling Iraq whose leadership would look down upon such a move. Additionally, many of the delegations speaking in the DISEC committee bring secure nations a lot if the Kurds get a recognized state. What these nations forget, though, is that this only exacerbates the Iranian and US tensions even more. This only pushes the world towards another nuclear scare reminiscent to that of the Cold War era.

As it stands now, most nations agree on the autonomous region they already control in the northern border of Iraq and that is with Iran supporting this. Yet, if the international community is going to try to bring back an old issue that was shut down for many reasons, it would be unwise to instigate further heated debate and risk partnerships just so one group, that has caused harm to many innocent people, can be satisfied over recognition.  

The Importance of Factual and Unbiased Journalism in A World of Fake News and Political Agendas

FRANCISCO MANUEL MATALLANA PACHECO, Reuters

“When everyone lies, telling the truth is not just rebellion. It is an act of revolution. So think carefully when you speak it, because the truth is a weapon.” – Takeshi Kovacs, Altered Carbon

It is evident that uncertainty and misdirection surrounds the world of information. Today, we face a reality where self-proclaimed, politically-motivated “journalists” and “reporters” flood social media platforms with fake news.  Ironically, they do not differ from world renowned news agencies who trade level-headed and objective stories for sensationalist and alarmist ones. This happens because in numerous instances, even these legitimate journalism institutions choose to thwart the truth to feed a particular narrative and tend to a specific audience. Governments, private interests’ groups and corporations fight to influence and sway public opinion to their side through the manipulation of these news agencies and individuals. This is precisely why it is imperative to recognize that public opinion is the most valuable commodity. It is the force behind the rise and fall of governments and leaderships, the success or failure of markets and economies, and ultimately the progress or downfall of society.

For instance, the current presidential administration under Donald J. Trump proves unwavering in its posture of utterly denying climate change. This has given both the private sector as well as conservative and right-wing news agencies a powerful wind with which to sail in a sea of misdirection. The labeling of global warming- climate change- as a “Hoax” has only deepened the pre-established division between believers and skeptics of this global phenomenon.

In a survey conducted by George Mason and Yale Universities in March 2018, the number of Americans who did not believe that climate change is a reality rounded up to 30%. However, an NBC News and Wall Street Journal Poll has revealed that, as of 2018, 71% of democrats regard climate change as a primary concern. This figure overshadows the 15% of registered Republicans who would agree, with the difference, not considering it as a pressing issue and not taking into consideration the need for action. What can be deducted is that, despite the increasing amount of irrefutable scientific evidence and alarming research supported data, the weight of biases, values and identities is substantial.

Additionally, various right-wing news agencies adopt postures, and policies, that continue to refute the validity of climate change. Among these institutions stands Fox News. The most recent example of the media outlet damaging reporting is the politicization of both the terms “global warming” and “climate change”. By confusing the general public, which, to a large extent, experienced an increment in snow and cold weather in the continental United States, in the place of extreme heat- as the term “global warming” would have you believe- fox news and right-wing politicians and media personalities rendered the term nearly ineffective.

‘‘Large parts of the Country are suffering from tremendous amounts of snow and near record setting cold. Wouldn’t be bad to have a little of that good old-fashioned Global Warming right now!’’. The president tweeted.

Given the amount of influence exerted by these news outlets on public opinion, it was no surprise that in 2017, the Trump administration had a clear road to withdraw from the Katowice Climate Change Conference to be held in Poland the following year, paving the way for their exit from the Paris Agreement. This came as a slap in the face to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Consequently, the validity of the scientific and factual nature of climate change is attacked, making policies, and the respective policy makers behind them, susceptible to being discredited and unpopular in elections, respectively. As a result, it negatively affects the measure of political and financial support, as well as the level of social attention given to the development of policies that not only deal directly with climate change, but with its side effects, such as is migration. This leads us to a moment of reflection, and to consider: what could be the impact of this sort of journalism on the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) at this year’s gathering of nations at HNMUN?

Therefore, it is imperative to understand how consequential and far reaching are the effects of public opinion, and how the decisive the role of journalism is, as an industry and a community, correspondingly. In this vein, the Press Corps at HNMUN, and most importantly the news agencies around the globe, must perform as a model of integrity and rightfulness, and it’s reporting, and journalism be held to highest standard. Reuters for one, is committed and accustomed to performing in that particular manner. This agency will fact check every statement made, every proposal presented, and every action taken by the delegates. Through our “FactCheck” campaign in Twitter, and our multimedia video service, we will provide to our readers the most precise, immediate and credible information around the globe. It is our duty to update the “HNMUN News” website for conference goers to remain aware and properly informed of all that transpires in and outside committee in an unbiased and truthful manner.

The Fourth Crusade, 1207

MATTHEW REIAD, Granma

The Committee of the Fourth Crusade began with a decision to send the Crusader Army to sack the City of Zara. On their way to reclaim the Holy Land as a part of the 4th Crusade, the army commited a siege and a sack thereafter of the city of Zara. This decision came with a great deal of backlash from the Pope and representatives of the Papal states.

In the very early minutes of the committee meetings, the committee was tasked with defending the sack of Zara. The 4th Crusade was marked with crimes of war and unethical methodology used in an attempt to retake Jerusalem from Islamic control. The retaking of Jerusalem should only be done through peaceful methods and avoid any imperialistic tendencies of humankind.

As the committee began to defend the actions committed by the Crusader army through the siege and subsequent sack of Zara, the committee was greeted by an announcement by His Holiness, The Pope. Pope Innocent III announced that effective immediately, all voting committee members who defended and voted in favor of sacking Zara were excommunicated from the Catholic Church. The only delegate exempt from this ruling was the Cardinal and Papal Legate. Following pleas from delegates present for the Pope to reconsider his rash decision, Pope Innocent III declared that only a very good and holy deed would gain forgiveness from his Holiness and Almighty God.

Following the announcement from the Pope, the committee began drafting directives to either regain the Pope’s forgiveness and trust or to continue on the path to regain the Levante, also known as Jerusalem. Although this was only the first committee sesion, it seems that two blocs were forming as a response to the crisis created by the Pope. A bloc that wanted to recall the crusader army and beg for the Pope’s forgiveness, and another bloc that wished to continue with the efforts to invade Jerusalem and reclaim Christianity in Israel.

As the committee began to close, it was revealed that 2,000 crusader soldiers had gone rouge and crossed into Anatolia. As the 4th Crusade concludes its first committee session, the two blocs had clearly formed and each one with a goal in mind, these goals were either to return to the Catholic Church or continue with their imperialistic goals and ambitions. As the committee continues to meet, it will be interested to see what directives pass. As of the time of this article was written, a total of five directives were presented to the director and none have been brought up for debate.