By EMILY C, SCHEPPEGRELL, THE ECONOMIST (expository)
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are groups that operate separately from member nation governments and are non-profit. The Special Political and Decolonization Committee (SPECPOL) was visited by two NGOs on Friday afternoon: Amnesty International and the Danish Refugee Council.
Amnesty International, with over seven million members and supporters globally, works to protect human rights in a number of manners. In cases regarding free speech, violence, torture, or death Amnesty International acts to protect human rights indiscriminately. Amnesty International receives primary funding from its many supporters. Representatives from Amnesty International discussed the present topic for SPECPOL, “Reforming UN Peacekeeping Operations.” Amnesty International offered to collaborate with delegates to work on this issue.
When asked how Amnesty International regarded honorable discharge, representatives stated that the organization has consultative status to the United Nations (UN), so the opinion and thoughts of Amnesty International on honorable discharge would correlate to the UN’s opinion. Amnesty International continued to answer questions concisely and worked with delegates throughout the following unmoderated caucus.
The Danish Refugee Council also spoke. Present in more than 30 countries in multiple sectors, the organization works on numerous projects like social rehabilitation, housing, and agricultural development. The Danish Refugee Council discussed their organization’s actions with past refugee crises and how this contributes to long term peace. The Danish Refugee Council is active in many of the countries that UN Peacekeepers are deployed to, and because of this the Council has the opportunity to assist them. The Danish Refugee Council has several projects that contribute to creating sustainable peace regarding children’s access to education, technology, and possibility to immigrate. The organization’s representative answered questions clearly, and following the speech, delegates lined up to speak with her.
NGO representatives provide delegates with a source of information and can be an influential resource in creating working papers and deciding on concepts to address an issue. SPECPOL utilized these NGO representatives during the unmoderated caucus further explore potential future solutions.
Photo: The Danish Refugee Council representative speaking with the Netherlands delegate