Gather Around Mohammad: Stay United, Stay Religious

By WBQ, Al-Quds Al-Arabi

In the final session of the the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Al-Quds Al-Arabi was glad to have observed all countries have reached an accord in some way, and finally united together, just like what the delegate of Saudi Arabia said: “Gather Muslims together around Mohammad.”

Al-Quds Al-Arabi found Draft Resolution 1.2 more appealing. In the introduction of 1.2, delegates addressed their intentions and ideas of their work group. The draft resolution proposed the creation of economic policies including the introduction of a tax rate in OIC member states.

These policies will be able to create a more diverse workforce and to ensure the rights of Muslims all around the world in the workforce.

Draft Resolution 1.2 also planned to establish Islamic public and private partnerships with media outlets in order to ensure transparency in the media and prevent distribution of false information. These policies demonstrate a positive and concerted effort to decrease Islamophobia and discrimination perpetrated by the media and government.

This agency is happy to see the delegates of Turkey and Algeria looking to create different ways in which people in the news agencies report Islamophobia. This will create a platform in which people of different religion and nationalities in the international community can report Islamophobia. This committee will use the data to analyze and hopefully, eliminate Islamophobia.

Islam is not about violence, it is about peace. It is not about the division of people, it is about unification. In fact, the word “Islam” derived from the word “salam” means “peace” in Arabic.  Al-Quds Al-Arabi believed that this Draft Resolution was brilliant at responding to Islamophobia and will be able to decrease discrimination against Muslims around the world.

Stay United, Gather under Allah and around the prophet, islam will come to victory some day, inshallah!

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The 63rd Annual Harvard National Model United Nations

BY FRANCESCA TIRAVANTI, The Straits Times

“Together we want to help the world see and believe in a better future.” – Ban Ki Moon. Harvard National Model United Nations takes place every year in the Boston Park Plaza, from February 16 to February 19, every time you walked through the hotel you could see exited delegates ready to debate.

For the past sixty-three years, HNMUN has been one of the most important conferences in the world, being called the “Super Bowl” of the Model United Nations (MUN), it attracts more than 2800 delegates from all around the world.

On Wednesday night, the lobby of the Park Plaza was buzzing with eager delegates, ready to meet others from their same committees. The main questions being asked where “What committee are you in?”, “What country are you?” or “Where are you from?”, with these questions obviously came many answers. Accents from all around the world could be heard; from the noticeable British one, the beautiful Peruvian one or the solid French accent.

As tradition, the conference kicked off with the Opening Ceremony that was held in the Ballroom A (where DISEC has been located); international delegations draped their and the country they were representing flags over the balconies, this were accompanied by the national anthems of their countries. Secretary General Bennet E. Vogt made a heart-warming speech about the conference as his team; with that the conference had officially started. In this ceremony a representative from _ also have a beautiful speech about the foundation and how we could help them.

This year, Harvard is hosting over 280 delegations from more than 50 different countries; that is why the social events are an interesting part of the conference. After the first committee session had ended, delegates gathered for the Model Casino Night and the Club Night.

What really stands out about this conference is the high level of competition, the previous days before the conference the Boston Public Library is filled with delegates continuing the research, because as some say “you can always know more stuff”. Something that is also typical from HNMUN, is the gigantic General Assembly committees they have. The Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC) hosted over 400 people, The Social Humanitarian and Cultural Committee (SOCHUM) also hosted over 400 people, the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (SPECPOL) hosted over 300 people, The Legal committee hosted over 200 people; the list could go on and on.

As the days of the conference passed, it was clear that it would not be an easy one; but directors also tried to make it as fun and easy going as possible. In my opinion crisis committees are also fun ones. Out of the blue someone could enter and kill you, or come in with fish masks on their faces or even print pictures and paste them all over the committee. Its is spontaneous and unexpected, that is what makes it so special.

4 days have passed and the last session is coming to an end, most committees passed their Draft Resolutions and they came to a consensus with viable solutions to the problems they were presented with; yet some committees are do not agree on most things like the Security Council, where all resolutions were rejected and the Secretary General had to intervene.

It was without a doubt one of the best experiences someone can ever have, and being part of the press corps team made it even more special. Now let’s prepare for closing ceremonies! HNMUN, its been a pleasure.

Some pictures from the conference:

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A Tale of Two Lies

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.

PRESS RELEASE: The Hindu Delves Into Deep Questioning of DISEC Proposals

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A journalist from The Hindu poses a question to the DISEC body.

GARIMA KARIA, THE HINDU (Opinion)

BOSTON: As Day 3 comes to a close, DISEC delegates are eager to present (and hopefully pass) their draft resolutions on the topic of social media weaponisation.

Unfortunately for them, this would not be the case without a grilling session on the content of their working papers by The Hindu and the rest of the press corps.

A big topic was big data, particularly its dynamism and ability to flow seamlessly through borders and limits normally enforced by states themselves. In response to questions and follow-ups concerning how this committee’s proposed solutions would address the issue of sovereignty, Burkina Faso (from the SPARCS block) specified that their draft resolution focuses on the domestic level in order to address the issue of data. “Social media is an issue no matter what state you’re from,” the delegate responded. “We really want to respect state sovereignty.” In making this statement, Burkina Faso propelled its bloc’s regional and sovereignty-based approach, but the ways in which it addresses dynamic data was unclear. Hopefully, this bloc will adopt a mechanism to navigate big data and its legal parameters, but, for the time being, it seems as though the draft does not address this crucial characteristic of big data.

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Signatories seemed to lack responses to questions surrounding the pervasiveness and protection of big data.

An important consideration is that of liberty of expression, especially in terms of social media and its main functions. In response to a passionate speech made by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in favour of draft resolution “DISEC FRIEND,” The Hindu asked this bloc if and how they can guarantee that freedom of speech be respected when members of their bloc do not currently adhere to this principle.

In response, the Chinese delegation indicated “a high level of social change” currently taking place in their long-established, socially oppressive regimes. “When there’s a high level of social change, there is a high risk of radicalisation which is dangerous… we are working to create the most free speech possible while also prioritizing our citizen’s protection.”

To that end, the Chinese delegation confirmed that is supports the removal of basic human rights as a way to keep citizens safe. China also admitted that “what they are doing can be perceived as hampering free speech,” accompanied by a weak justification that citizens are only “free to express themselves when they are safe,” inherently disclosing that citizens are therefore unsafe in China. “We have to ensure that [our citizens] are safe before we can provide them with the freedoms that wealthy western democracies can.”

I’m not sure how the Chinese state is going to achieve this “safety” for their people if it in itself is the cause for their lack of safety and oppression, but the fact that freedom of speech is a human right now associated solely with “wealthy western democracies” is a concerning reality in itself

On the topic of monitoring systems, Ireland completely dodged The Hindu’s question regarding database security and safety in the face of cyberterrorism and terrorist access. “We aren’t giving away data to terrorists,” she said, while failing to explain how this data is going to be protected.

One final problematic clause in the DISEC FRIEND proposal allowed for states’ prior “international arrangements” to take precedence over any new policy implemented by the aforementioned proposal. If this is the case, this agreement is both shallow and non-enforceable on international political terms.

To clarify, The Hindu questioned whether or not this parameter would exempt states that censor media and engage in human rights violations domestically from abiding by the terms of the proposal in the future.

Vanuatu confirmed my hypothesis with a guise of state sovereignty prioritization. “We can give states the framework that they need and allow them to navigate and interpret,” Vanuatu said. “It’s a push in the right direction.”

I’m not sure a “push” is what aggressive and oppressive states need, particularly in terms of social media rights and liberties, but rather a firm guiding hand in the direction of free speech and human rights.

However, the realities of this occurring are bleak. “We have to toe a line… there’s some grey area there in terms of sovereignty.” It is clear that this bloc prioritizes the classical definition of sovereignty over enacting tangible change and promoting human rights, such as freedom of speech, which may stimulate cohesion within the committee, but will definitely hinder any real progress on this issue.

Special Summit on Terrorism Drafting the Resolution

By Sarah Rangkuti, the WSJ (expository)

As the fourth session began, the director reminded all delegates to start working on the draft resolution(s). There has been six working papers submitted yesterday (2/17) in which various central and focused ideas have been introduced for draft resolutions. According to the delegate of Senegal, the SMART group, which mainly focused on the prevention of radicalization by educating society, and the group that focused on Diagnose, Treat and Resolve (DTR) are merging their ideas.

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SMART and DTR are merging their ideas

During the first 20 minutes, there was an unmoderated caucus, where the Wall Street Journal observed that there are some delegations that have not made a the decision yet to choose the certain bloc they would like to join. The Delegate of Ecuador expressed their opinion, “They are making a good resolution, but they don’t have any idea about Islam and the terrorism because it has a huge differences.” Ecuador agrees with the idea that education can cut the root cause problem of terrorism.

While the other blocs are merging their ideas, the pro-sovereignty bloc is stick to their stance and collaborating with the African union, as well as improving the solutions so it could be implemented for all countries. “In tackling the terrorism, we believe that we must respect each nation sovereignty. It has to be focused socially, security-wise, technologically, and politically,” said the Delegate of Iran to the WSJ. She added that in terms of education, the pro-sovereignty bloc would like to educate people about islamophobia and radicalism through the social media campaign using the representatives of media industry. Iran stressed on the monitoring of the media to prevent youth to be recruited.

However, all delegates in SST have been working hard to draft the resolution is due tomorrow. The WSJ hopes all nations could put aside their ego in order to find the best solution to tackle terrorism.

Questions and Answer after the Panel of Authors in NATO

BY FRANCESCA TIRAVANTI, The Straits Times (Expository)

  1. Netherlands: “I was wondering in point number 10, when you talk about the special report by the NAC you just have two criteria which will be in process or satisfactory. So NATO will never reject a country, we just keep them in process; what will happen with those¡ countries we do not want in NATO and what happens with every country that applies into this?

Turkey: “Thank you for your questions. If you read carefully into point 10.8 it is explained that if the member is not ready to join the alliance, then NATO will communicate that to ministry of foreign affairs of that country what is the reason they are not ready to join. The main reason why it is in process is because is because od doubts regarding that.”

USA: “We also have two other clauses that explain in more detail the strong relationship we are trying to have with each minister of internal affairs in order to have a well commit that we are approaching them with the best intentions.”

 

  1. Italy: “Don’t you believe there is someone specially to mandate those constitutional change, considering you are dealing with citizens and national identity loss problems?

Denmark: “First of all that is a compromise that will assume the nation and that does not require a constitutional change; it will be realized between NATO and the nation within a conversation in which they will compromise themselves in order to protect the minorities in their countries.”

USA: “As you can see that is a recommendation we are proposing mainly for Russia and it will be followed by the organizations according to their ministers.

 

  1. Belgium: “In clause number 7, we are wondering if NATO is according to that clause and if it will make it more efficient o necessary?”

Turkey: “The membership of this committee is strictly for one process, because the PFP is another initiative of NATO we are planning another one called the acceptation road mark stipulated in the draft resolution.”

Norway: “The partnership for peace that has the main goal of creating goodwill and cooperation between countries.”

USA: “By this point we have 28 countries participating in the partnership for peace and we are completely aware of our mainly job that is having indirect threats and more approaches with these states in order to get a stronger alliance.”

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The United States of America (middle), Denmark, Norway and Turkey.

The Save Plan, Plan of Actions. Working Papers in the HGA 1991

BY FRANCESCA TIRAVANTI, The Straits Times.

Reaffirming the inalienable right of all people to self-determination and independence, the delegates of the Historical General Assembly 1991 committee gathered to debate the Decolonization of Western Sahara. Being aware of the refugee crisis that affected the nation when this happened, in this committee session they merged their ideas to create working papers.

The Save Plan, is one of the working papers that were presents. In this one the participating countries where: China, Australia, Japan, France, Mexico, Russia and 20 others. The countries stated that: “In this working paper we are looking for viable, resourceful and well-thought solutions to tackle the problem the Western Sahara is facing, we invite you all to work with us together as the International Community that we are.”

What they are proposing is the creating of a demilitarized zone between the Moroccan-occupied southern provinces and the Polisario-controlled free zone. This will demilitarized zones between 10 miles and with a barrier to prevent any breaks. In this way they will try to stop any kind of leak and by that protect the civilians from both sides.

Also, endorses and integrated registration with documentation procedures so that refugees and “persons of concern” meaning the stateless and internally displaced persons; will have a proper documentation to ensure and effect identification once they are inside the country. This could also work to protect the country’s security from terrorist attacks. What is odd about this point in the working paper is that they want to reform the 1991 United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees Handbook for Registration. This handbook was created to have note of the refugees entering the country, reforming it in any way could cause some serious loss of extremely important information.

Furthermore, they are asking for peacekeeping operations to tackle the issue of the violent attacks. They ask to expand the numbers and the missions the United Nations has sent in order to improve and guarantee peace in the conflict zone.

In his way, the countries composing this working paper will tomorrow work of the Draft Resolution, the culmination of a three-day work plan of actions. We cannot work to hear what they have come up with to tackle this terrible conflict that is only creating chaos and fear in the population of the western Sahara.

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