Category: ECOSOC & Regional Bodies

Is the Venezuelan Crisis Only in Venezuela?

BY MICHELLE JAEN, CNN

Discussing possible solutions to mitigate the migrant crisis of Venezuela was one the main focuses 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 proposals 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 the burden that neighbors of Venezuela have carried is unfair.” 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 Thw Bolivia and Brazil delegations sought to create resource centers to provide food and shelter as a direct help for these refugees. The Delegation of Brazil also emphasized this point, as he claimed “Brazil understands what it means to be a neighboring country 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 involve ending its current political turmoil and economic recession, delegates of the Organization of American States are attempting to first 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 members of the OAS to find joint and cohesive long-term/short-term solutions to resolve the Venezuelan crisis.

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CSW: Economic Empowerment Could Be The Answer to Human Trafficking

By KATIE JONES, The Boston Globe

“Human trafficking is directly connected to poverty and illiteracy,” said the delegation of the United States in a passionate speech pushing for the economic independence of women.

A common theme emerging from the Commission on the Status of Women is a need to provide women with the opportunity to become economically self-sufficient.

Members of the “Better Together” bloc.

A group of nations, known as the “Better Together” bloc are focusing on improving social and labor conditions to impact women in a positive and economical way. The “Better Together” bloc is compiled of nations around the world, including the United States, Spain, Canada, Russia, Qatar, and others.

India, who is also a member of the “Better Together” bloc, is advocating for microfinancing and the distribution of microloans to those interested.

“By providing micro-financing to independent women, these loans can allow women to start their own businesses and contribute economically to society, instead of forcing women to become dependent on men,” said the delegation of India.

One of the highlights of the “Better Together” bloc’s working paper, is the International Transportation Initiative, created by the delegation of the United States.

The delegation of the United States discussing the International Transportation Initiative.

The International Transportation Initiative, or ITI, are guidelines that would provide transportation personnel the training that is necessary to identify victims of sex trafficking. Additionally, the ITI would work to create a more accurate and efficient system of reporting incidents for those who work in the transportation industry.

“The goal of the International Transportation Initiative would prevent false accusations and relief for real victims. We want to make the process as accurate, fair, and safe as possible for those involved,” said the delegation of United States.

Additionally, the ITI would eventually be expanded to function within the jurisdiction of border security. On the border, personnel would be provided with accurate training to identify sex trafficking, as well as training on how to properly detain those accused of trafficking.

As the Globe previously covered, the International Organization for Migration advocated intensely for better data collection methods to stop human trafficking. The Commission on the Status of Women seems to have different ideas.

“Even though data collection helps, it’s not going to stop human trafficking before it even occurs. We need to focus on methods that are going to prevent attacks from even happening in the first place,” said the delegation of the United Kingdom when discussing the best solutions for stopping trafficking rings.

While there were many plausible ideas brought forth, the CSW continues to focus on the root of the problem: poverty.

“Poverty stems from a lack of opportunities. If we can create these opportunities for women, we can essentially end human trafficking,” said the delegation of Iran.

UNHCR Delegates Agree on Importance of High-Tech Solutions to Refugee Crises

BY JEREMY HOLT, Le Figaro

UNITED NATIONS, GENEVA: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees convened Friday to discuss the issue of education as a tool for refugees’ well-being in their host countries. While there is significant difference among the national delegations over the responsibility of host countries to assimilate refugees into their national populations, their proposed solutions include the common theme of using mass digital technology to enhance refugee rights.

A number of states, including the European countries of Poland and Greece, calling themselves the “I.E. Bloc” (Integration through Examination) have been vocal in their opposition to wholesale assimilation, arguing that such action constitutes a dilution of “national character” and an economic burden. Others, including Bangladesh and Nigeria, have argued a moderate position of openness, saying that refugees should be assimilated into national education infrastructure with the goal of facilitating refugees’ eventual return.

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U.N.H.C.R. Delegates at work on working paper drafts.

France, for its part, while resisting increased quotas, has argued for measures to increase host nations’ tolerance of arriving refugees.

While supporting different stances on states’ role in hosting and assimilating refugees, many of the draft working papers in the works have taken advantage of digital technologies such as social media to address refugees’ education, employing the technology in a variety of ways.

France’s proposed measures of promoting host community tolerance include a system of “TEDr” talks, related to the “TED” and “TEDx” talks popular on social media (the “r” stands for “refugee”). The talks are intended to give refugees a “voice to protect and empower their own communities” and to share their stories with citizens of host countries.

The “Efficiency” plan proposed by nations such as Iran and Bangladesh incorporates a “crowdsourcing” app for educational materials. Users of the app would donate small quantities of material which would be distributed to nongovernmental organization-run educational efforts in mobile refugee facilities around the world. A delegate from the microloan organization Give Directly was also present in the committee room, and has endorsed the working paper co-sponsored by France. Give Directly, which its delegate described to Le Figaro as “Charity Venmo” uses encrypted wire transfers to distribute small “microloans” from donors to recipients – including refugees – in impoverished areas. Other delegates have told Le Figaro that they are pursuing Give Directly’s signature on their own working papers. “These technology solutions are right in line with what we do” the Give Directly delegate said.

HRC: Stripped of Citizenship

MITCHELL MCFARLANE, Fox News

Anyone who’s lived under the roof of others knows there is a thing called “outstaying your welcome.” It is the same in politics. For the Myanmar government, the Rohingyas are a group of Bangladesh aliens that have illegally occupied their land for decades, and their way of responding to their overdue expulsion is by murdering, burning and raping, as confirmed by recent interview and satellite images.

A satellite image shows evidence of bulldozed homes in the village of Myin Hlut [DigitalGlobe/AP]

However, the Rohingyas tell a very different story: for hundreds of years, they have been living in Rakhine State, Myanmar. It wasn’t until the year 1982, when Myanmar’s Citizenship Law was passed,  that the Rohingyas effectively became stateless.

Without a doubt, in order to protect the rights of the Rohingyas, the international community needs to influence the issue from the outside. But when it comes to how, the house of the Human Rights Council is divided, with some supporting a top-down approach and others wanting to start bottom-up.

It seems that before getting on the same page about the approaches, the delegate first needed to define what citizenship is, and the scope from which the international community can step in.

China believes that citizenship is tied closely with national sovereignty, and that other member states should refrain from intervening directly. Instead, the delegate called for a mild, negotiative approach where nations come together to peacefully move things forward, which is essentially a top-down approach.

Senegal wants to work both from the top-down and bottom-up. For its top-down approach, the delegate is actively promoting sanctions on the Myanmar government; for bottom-up, the delegate proposed that education is the best way to forge a united identity for Myanmar people and ending the divide. The UK shared similar opinions about early education being a great opportunity to accelerate cultural integration.

On the other hand, Kenya strongly opposes economic sanctions on Myanmar, arguing that it will only hurt the people at the bottom instead of improving the situation. Bangladesh is endorsing self-determination of the people while working on a draft resolution that will move the stateless Rohingya people from the country and make them legal citizens in Bangladesh. One problem facing their proposal is the need for financial aid, as the delegate called for international participation.

Expelled from their own homeland, their citizenship stripped and their rights unprotected, the Rohingya crisis has evolved into one of the most urgent humanitarian violations of the modern day. Whether the solution be top-down, bottom-up, or both, it is the hope of us all that they will find a safe place to live, and freedom from persecution in the end.

Opinion: The End of Religious Intolerance

BY MATTHEW REIAD, Granma

As a nation with a 99.5% literacy rate, Cuba boasts some of the highest living standards in the entire world. A peaceful and democratic nation, Cuba is the pinnacle of democracy through the liberation by our great leader and founder Fidel Castro. Castro’s successful, courageous and heroic revolution is what established Cuba as an economic superpower both in the Caribbean and throughout Central, South and North America.

Cuba’s experience and expertise in the field of human rights has allowed Granma to be the expert news agency in reporting on the United Nations Human Rights Council. On the agenda for today’s session was a discussion regarding Rohingya Refugee Crisis. The Rohingya Refugee Crisis is one that has rocked South Asia specifically the nation of its origin, Myanmar. The Myanmar government is responsible for the displacement and persistent persecution of Rohingya Muslims, a religious and cultural minority.

The government of Cuba is disgusted to see such actions be taken against human lives. Our glorious and faithful founder Fidel Castro was adamant and vocal for his support of the dignity and respect of all human rights even in the face of the evils of capitalism. While capitalism is designed to exploit and enslave people for their labor, communism frees people under the wise leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party.

Myanmar must follow in the footsteps of Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam and China in developing a central communist planning committee tasked with improving the overall economic and standard of living for its people. Cuba outright rejects any calls to persecute or exterminate the Rohingyan population.

When speaking with the Cuban delegation present at the United Nations Human Rights Council, Granma was pleased to see that the delegation had joined a bloc with Senegal, South Korea, Ethiopia, and Saudi Arabia. This bloc aimed to dissolve any attempts to oppress the Rohingyan population in Myanmar by strongly encouraging the Myanmar government to implement religiously blind policies. These policies would be aimed at allowing the Rohingyan population to have equal rights and equal citizens under the law.

Another suggestion made by the delegation of Cuba present at the UNHRC was the creation of an “Index System”, this Index System would act as an information database that would work parallel with the United Nations Statistics Bureau. This Index System would compile data regarding population size, demographics and census bureau. Although a system already exists that compiles data of western nations, in a nation such as Myanmar where only around 1% of the population has access to the internet, this database will attempt to expand the existing one.

The Republic of Cuba reminds its readers that it is only as a byproduct of the evils of capitalism that genocides and persecutions occur around the world. Without the evils and greed of capitalism, people would live in peace and love as all equals. As Cuba continues to run as a equality filled nation, we remind our international readers it is only through a purely communist nation that true economic, socio-economic, and religious equality will be achieved.

Working Papers Or Work In Progress? UNEP Discusses Mechanisms For Supporting Climate Refugees and Migrants

BY LIAM DALTON, The Guardian

Committee session three at the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) saw the discussion of five different working papers addressing the need for a holistic and global response to refugees displaced by the environment.

Delegates question the MAP working paper put forward by Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Korea, and Myanmar.

The ERA bloc was fronted by delegations from Japan and Spain, who addressed the need to redefine ‘refugee’ under international law to be more applicable to those displaced through climate related and sudden environmental causes such as earthquake and tsunami. Their working paper produced a unique ‘vulnerability thermometer’ which quantifies the reasons behind migration, and how the environment has impacted the drivers of migration such as the lack of shelter, jobs, security and basic resource availability. The ERA hope to see this indicator used to better direct relief funds and adaptation projects that mitigate the need for migration, but also assist those populations in dire times to resettle.

The ERA’s working paper also proposed the System for Humanitarian Accountability of Refugees (SHARE); a system that aims to assign environmental refugee quotas based on the per capita CO2 emissions, gross national income, human development index, and ecological footprint. The Guardian questioned the ERA on the choice of a per-capita emissions accountability measure which would disproportionately increase the refugee burden onto nations such as Qatar, Curacao, Trinidad and Tobago, Kuwait, and Bahrain who have the highest CO2 emissions per capita, whilst understating the role of nations such as The United States, China, and India whose large populations favorably skew their per capita CO2 emissions. The ERA reiterated their desire to see a per-capita emissions accountability scheme influenced by other relevant factors such as population size and economic capacity.

The Guardian then questioned UNEP on the accountability for emissions, giving the example of China producing CO2 emissions when manufacturing solar panels for other nations. Should those emissions be attributed to China and therefore its global accountability for climate refugees, or should the end consumer be accountable for those emissions? In response, China acknowledge that this was a concern for them and hoped that the international community would not hold them accountable in such circumstances.

Working paper titled “SWEETHEART” was discussed, with signatories including Bolivia, China, Cuba, Greece, India, Iran, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Sweden. This working paper again called for a comprehensive global response to the environmental refugee crisis. Notably, their working paper recommends the continued use of emissions trading schemes among other measures as a means of lowering carbon emissions. This position arguably understates the imminence of human-induced climate change and the dramatic effect which will be observed on the quality of human life within the next ten to 100 years. For example, even if current global warming targets are met, over 33% of the Himalayan glaciers will be lost thus reducing fresh water access to nearly 1.5 billion individuals in India, China, and Nepal, increasing to nearly 70% if current trajectories are maintained. Emissions trading schemes therefore do not seem appropriate to address such immediate concerns, especially for China who signed onto the SWEETHEART working paper.

The working paper also addressed the need to measure 13 drivers of environmental migration. Whilst overfishing and sea level rise were addressed, the effects of ocean acidification appear to have been overlooked. When questioned on the omission of this parameter, the honorable delegate of the Russian Federation believed that this was not a relevant parameter and would not include it in a proposed resolution. Ocean acidification is one of the lesser known but most pressing environmental catastrophes related to human-induced climate change. Acidification decimates coastal ecosystems which deprive all coastal communities of access to seafood. Plankton and algae are similarly affected, disrupting the ‘carbon sink’; the ocean is responsible for removing the majority of atmospheric CO2 and converting it into the oxygen we breath and growing aquatic plants and various organisms. It seems that for an effective response to mitigate displacement from human-induced climate change, addressing ocean acidification should be an essential pillar in those efforts, and this is simply will not be provided for by the SWEETHEART working paper.

With a total of six working papers before the UNEP, the committee has until the end of committee session four (12.00pm Nov. 16) to consolidate the common initiatives into two draft resolutions which will go before the committee. This delineated global issue will require a delineated yet carefully crafted response. But until then, the international community shall hold its breath in hope of a progressive and transformative solution to environmental refugees.








An Opinion: Working Papers Need Work

BY KATIE JONES, The Boston Globe

The Commission on the Status of Women introduced a slew of ideas to combat the various forms of human trafficking that exist. Four distinct groups have formed, all sharing creative ideas on how to tackle the dark sphere of trafficking.

GIRL-PWR, a bloc featuring countries from Africa, Brazil, and Tanzania, immediately established that “human trafficking is less of a poverty issue, and more of a law enforcement issue”. This statement is rather troubling, as the Boston Globe has reported multiple countries have linked human trafficking directly to poverty.

Why is this statement questionable? If human trafficking is not really a poverty issue, why do most individuals of low economic standing enter the trafficking industry? The root of the issue is that individuals must create some form of income to survive. This can include legal and illegal activities. One must consider that perhaps those who enter the trafficking ring need money – this is not an activity you engage in for the “thrill” of it.

Additionally, law enforcement has actually significantly improved in tracking and cracking human trafficking rings. In 2018, 277 individuals were arrested in connection to just one trafficking ring in Florida. This is one of the many busts that law enforcements have been able to accomplish.

While human trafficking is still a law enforcement issue, it would be more appropriate to suggest that it could be greatly reduced by stopping the issue before it even starts. This means combating poverty, and using law enforcement to solve attacks that have already occurred.

SHIFT the Narrative bloc presenting the working paper.

SHIFT the Narrative, a block featuring P-5 powerhouse Russia, has partnered with the School Sisters of Notre Dame to provide Recruitment Facilitation Centers for victims seeking migration opportunities. These Recruitment Facilitation Centers would be extremely beneficial for rehabilitating and reintroducing victims into a new society, one that they can feel safe in.

The Boston Globe applauds SHIFT the Narrative for finding a way to turn a crisis into a learning opportunity. With these Recruitment Facilitation Centers, there will be basic language training, and teachers will be students from an exchange partnership program with the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

The United States has signed onto the bloc, Better Together. One aspect of this working paper focuses on holding internet service providers accountable for hosting sex trafficking sites on their servers. The Boston Globe would like to respectfully offer a correction to this, as sex trafficking sites are most commonly found on the deep web. Internet service providers are not classically capable of monitoring the deep web, therefore they cannot be held responsible for the circulation of these sites. If this is the case, how can the Commission on the Status of Women hold providers legally accountable? Additionally, for service providers in developing nations with little structure, how will funding be provided to improve monitoring technologies?

In the last bloc, POWER, there is an immediate call to create a third party task force under the United Nations Security Council. This task force would be compiled by peacekeepers. The Boston Globe would like to call upon POWER to explain why peacekeepers are the correct option, given the various reported cases of sex abuse crimes committed by peacekeepers. How can victims of trafficking trust a peacekeeper knowing this information?

Overall, the working papers are extremely dense and hold a valuable amount of solutions and information about human trafficking. The Boston Globe applauds all delegates in the committee, and looks forward to a progressive solution that protects our citizens.