BY GABRIELA DEL POZO, THE SUNDAY TIMES
“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times”.
When diplomacy is met with the menace of terror, it is the duty of our leaders to endure. It would have been a delight to see a room full of delegates raising placards, eager to see other countries’ perspectives, and trying to collaborate with each other. However, as long as they fail to see the whole picture, we will never reach the best of times.
Proof of this was today’s session in the Disarmament and International Security Committee. The representative of The Sunday Times asked simple questions, but delegates failed to answer. In fact, for the first question, a meagre two placards were raised. Answers were, unsurprisingly, not satisfactory.
The entire press conference was met by this careless attitude from the delegates. When it was the turn for The Hindu to ask questions, the delegates’ continued to dodge questions. Their responses were vague and they lacked enthusiasm. Delegates claimed that they could not solve the issue because of national sovereignty.
“It was the age of wisdom; it was the age of foolishness”.
While thoughtful policy-making is brilliant, in the committee, foolishness prevailed. A Syrian delegate could not respond to a question asked about an amendment to the Rome Statute. The delegate was the signatory of a draft that planned to hold social media companies accountable if they do not inform the International Criminal Court of “suspicious tweets”. The reporter tried to demonstrate to the committee that the Rome Statute is only used to prosecute a natural person’s crimes against humanity or war crimes. This jurisdiction does not extend to corporate persons, such as social media. Furthermore, an amendment of the Statute would require 7/8 of the committee’s support for ratification. The Draft resolution only had 40 votes and did not pass.
However, the challenges did not stop there. The Sunday Times asked the United Kingdom: “How do you plan to prevent media outlets from sharing content that could be deemed as propaganda for certain groups, such as the murder of James Foley, without censoring media outlets?” The delegate of The United Kingdom claimed that they did not accept fake news and seemed unaware of James Foley.
“It was the spring of hope; it was the winter of despair.”
Just like Dickens evoked duality in his Tale of two cities, the Sunday Times has attempted to reflect upon two of the lies in this conference. Despair will reign over the committee, delegates will quarrel one another and no resolution will pass. Only the most naïve delegates hold hope for success. However, this newspaper will remain cynical and will keep holding diplomats accountable for the truth.