Event: KITMUN 2006
Students: Sarah Al-Muzaini, Human Rights Ahmad Al-Jouan, International Court of Justice Abdulaziz Al-Bahar, Security Council
1. Towards the writing of a declaration of the rights of religious speech.
Freedom of religion is a human right. It is composed of freedom of belief for the individual and freedom of worship for individuals and groups. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the 58 Member States of the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948, at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, France defines freedom of religion as follows: "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance."
A religious minority is a group of people who differ religiously from a larger group of which it is a part According to the CIA World Fact book; almost every country has a religious minority in its population. When minorities practice different religions, this causes conflicts between the groups of people, given that some religions contradict others and their practices.
Since people have right to practice their own religion, teach it, and discuss it, then the right of religious speech is evident. However, every country defines the right of religious speech differently thus causing disputes amongst people. Therefore, some countries feel that writing a universal declaration for the rights of religious speech helps ensure more coexistence among the citizens of each country, and less conflicts as well as international coexistence while other countries strongly oppose this as it contradicts certain religions.
2. The establishment of preliminary measures to combat child labor.
Child labor is the term for the employment of children. The term child labor can have a connotation of systematic exploitation of children for their labor, with little compensation nor consideration for their personal development, safety, health, and future years prospects. In some countries, it is considered inappropriate or exploitative if a child below a certain age works, except for some household chores and of course school work. An employer is often not allowed to hire a child below a certain age. This minimum age depends on the country.
Other forms of work include helping in the parents' business or having one's own small "business", like cleaning car windows, shining shoes, selling small items such as cigarettes, etc. Also there is military use of children, child prostitution and illegal drug trade, illegal trade involving copyright violations (CDs, CD-ROMs, etc.) and there are child actors and child singers. Some youth rights groups, however, feel that prohibiting work below a certain age violates human rights as well.
The use of children as laborers is now considered by wealthy countries as a human rights violation, and outlawed, while poorer countries may allow it, as families often rely on the labors of their children for survival and sometimes it is the only source of income. This type of work is often hidden away because it is not in employment but in subsistence agriculture, in the household or in the urban informal sector. There is no evidence that this work would be less physically or mentally exhausting than employment, particularly because it is unpaid.
3. Reform of the World Bank.
The World Bank Group is a group of five international organizations responsible for providing finance to countries for purposes of development and poverty reduction, and for encouraging and safeguarding international investment. The World Bank Group is headed by Paul Wolfowitz, appointed on June 1, 2005. Wolfowitz, a former United States Deputy Secretary of Defense and well-known neo-conservative, was nominated by George W. Bush to replace James D. Wolfensohn.
This reform has been faced with criticism as well as plaud from a variety of countries. Some countries feel that the Bank is under the marked political influence of certain countries that would profit from advancing their interests. In this point of view, the World Bank would favor the installation of foreign enterprises, to the detriment of the development of the local economy and the people living in this country. Furthermore, it is frequently suggested that the Bank intervenes in order to salvage irresponsible loans from private institutions to third world governments (and which are also often corrupt and non-representative), and thus shifts the risk from the original risk-takers to the public of the rich countries, who ultimately must back the Bank. On the other hand, other countries applaud Paul Wolfowitz and the work of the Bank. These are the countries that back the Bank and support it. Thus this is a highly sensitive issue which brings much tension to our troubled world.
4. The status of the rights of individuals in "Bopha" status (indefinite detention).
Detention generally refers to the holding of a person, either as punishment for a wrong, or as a precautionary measure while investigating a potential threat posed by that person. The term can also be used in reference to the holding of property, for the same reasons. Any form of imprisonment can be called detention, although the term is associated with persons who are being held temporarily without having been charged with a crime.
Thousands of innocent lives are ended in mere seconds due to the neglect of proper investigation, and occupied courts to hear the innocent pleas of blameless prisoners. Evidence provided by the Human Rights watch states that a minimum of hundreds of thousands of detainees in worldwide prison camps are guiltless and yet do not have the probability of a fair trial to prove their pleas.
Many countries feel that this is an apparent violation of human rights and strongly oppose those that fail to provide detainees with basic rights. However, other countries feel that detainees are dangerous criminals that don’t require such rights to begin with. They also feel that most of the detainees are in a mental state that is too hazardous and frail, thus they cannot be treated like normal people that should have the liberty of basic rights.
Case Background: Lebanon Versus Syria
Dr. Daniel R. Fruit with assistance from Ahmad Al-Jouan
1975-1990, Syria, along with Israel, intervenes in the Lebanese Civil War.
1990, As the Gulf War rages, Syria, with the tacit permission of the US, crushes the forces of Christian nationalist Michael Aoun, who received aid from Saddam Hussien. Aoun flees first to the French embassy and subsequently to France. Emile Lahoud, with the backing of Syria, leads the Lebanese Armed Forces.
1992-1998, Rafik Hariri, with the support of Syria and tacit permission of the US, serves as Lebanese Prime Minister. A wealthy businessman, he rebuilds Beirut as a financial capital, but leaves the economy in trouble with his free-spending ways.
2000-2004, Hariri returns as Prime Minister. His second period in office finds him increasingly speaking out and acting in opposition to Syria. Meanwhile, accusations of corruption surround him personally, despite his generous gifts to charity. Surprisingly and embarrassingly to Syria, he announces the government will not oppose the return of Michael Aoun. Pro-Syrian courts quickly add that Aoun might still face charges of treason.
2002, Aoun compares the rule of Syria in Lebanon to that of the Nazis in the occupied territories.
2002, The leader of a Christian militia, Elie Hobeika, is assassinated. Aoun accuses Syria.
2004, Syria seeks to prolong the term of Emile Lahoud as president. Rafik Hariri, prime minister, openly opposes this.
August 2004, Rafik Hariri, at one time a key political ally of Syria, meets with Bashar Al Assad in Damascus. Hariri repeats his opposition to the extension of pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud's term as president. He reports that Assad said that he would "rather break Lebanon over the heads of Hariri and Walid Jumbalatt than see his [Assad's] word in Lebanon broken." Assad, Hariri claims said "Lahoud is me...if you and Chirac want me out of Lebanon, I will break Lebanon." Hariri reports that he felt afraid to abstain on a vote on Lahoud or even to leave the country.
February 22, 2005, The car containing Hariri blows up, killing him, his entourage, and several friends. Lebanese Druze Walid Jumblatt leader, immediately points the finger at Syria.
February-March 2005, The failure of the Lebanese government to adequately investigate Hariri's murder leads to street protests and the downfall of the pro-Syrian government. The UN passes resolution 1559 calling for an independent investigation of the murder.
April 2005, Syrian troops after 25 years, finally leave Lebanon. Syria continues to announce its innocence of involvement in Hariri's death. Many comment on how the assassination does not serve Syria's interests as much as those of the USA and Israel who want to isolate and weaken Syria.
June 16, 2005, Much to everyone's surprise, Michael Aoun returns to a hero's welcome. The general's new friends include children and widows of several assassinated politicians, including militias he fought against and, most surprising of all, pro-Syrian politicians.
June 2005, Aoun's political party, successfully courting pro-Syrian politicians, emerges as a major political force. Aoun appears within sight of winning a majority. His backers quickly add that this does not mean that Aoun by any means supports Syria.
June 2005, The second round of elections deals a setback to Aoun. His candidates in the north do not win the expected number of seats. The anti-Syrian forces led by Hariri's son become the ruling group. Aoun, who vehemently declares himself a nationalist, not a sectarian, emerges from this vote de facto Christian community only.
July 7, 2005, Syria continues an informal customs blockade of Lebanon, which cost Lebanon approximately $300,00 per day. An estimated 60% of Lebanon's commerce crosses the Syrian border.
September 3, 2005, An international investigation continues to point towards blaming the assassination of Rafik Al Hariri at Rostum Ghazallah of Syrian military intelligence and his allies within pro-Syrian elements in the Lebanese intelligence community.
September, 2005: A UN report comes out. While not directly implicating Syria, it reports on Syria's non-cooperation in the process.
September 29 2005, In an unexpected move, Jumblatt switches into the opposition as he criticizes Sannoura as an ineffective leader. An exasperated Sannoura calls for a vote of confidence as Prime Minister. The move backfires, as the vote fails, and the government must call new elections.
October 7 2005, In the swift election campaign that follows, Aoun consolidates his support among Christian voters. He also draws upon substantial non-Christian support with his promise to "make Syria pay for its crimes." He emphasizes his anti-Syrian credentials. Hariri's son leads a group of electors in a move to join Aoun, making a promise to let him serve as President in return for supporting Hariri as eventual Prime Minister.
October 14, 2005, In the wake of a landslide in the elections and his new alliance with Jumblatt and Hariri, President Aoun announces that Lebanon will take Syria to the ICJ and make it "pay for its crimes against Lebanon."
October 15, 2005, In an unexpectedly strong statement, Bashar Assad says, "It's about time someone stopped blowing smoke in Lebanon and telling stories. The worst crimes committed in Lebanon were those of Hariri, Jumblatt, and Aoun. Syria has saved Lebanon from itself. Let's see five years from now if Aoun can say he's done the same for Lebanon as Syria has." Official sources state that Syria intends to defend itself in the ICJ court.
October 21, 2005, Lebanon files a brief with the ICJ accusing Syria of illegally invading, occupying, and plundering Lebanon as well as with assassinating Hariri.
Schedule for the ICJ
Tuesday: 1510 – 1550: Opening Statements (20 minutes maximum). 1550 – 1600: Break. 1600 – 1710: Lebanon Presentation. 1710 –-1750: Break for Iftar. 1750 – 1850: Continuation of Lebanon Presentation 1900 – 2030: Opening ceremonies
Wednesday: 0830 – 1020: Continuation of Lebanon presentation. 1020 – 1030: Break 1030 – 1230: Syrian presentation 1230 – 1300: Break (room available for non-fasting students). 1300 – 1500: Continuation of Syrian Presentation.
Thursday: 0830 – 0930: Rebuttals. 0930 – 1100: Closing statements 1100 – 1130: Break (Room available for non-fasting students) 1130 – 1400: Deliberations 1400 – 1500: Closing statements
Russia has reported that it has lost several of its satellite-controlled nuclear missiles. Both the nuclear missiles and the technological infrastructure that controls the missiles have disappeared from a poorly guarded Soviet-era weapons factory in Kamchatka Peninsula. The search for them is ongoing and is currently being conducted by Russian security operatives and intelligence agents. The Kremlin fears that the weapons are not misplaced but have been stolen.
Terrorists located in China have sent a videotape to the Chinese Xinhua news agency revealing that they have the weapons, and have targeted the satellites for the following countries: USA, UK, Japan, Philippines. The terrorists claim they have purchased the weapons from Russia, who has willingly sold it to them. The Russian government is declining to comment. These satellites will direct the weapons and have the potential to launch the nuclear missiles at these countries. Furthermore, the satellites cannot be overridden due to the fact that all of the technological equipment used to control these satellites is under the full control of the terrorists. The Chinese government announces that it has no connection with the terrorists, and is employing Special Forces and rigorously searching for them.
The terrorists do not appear to be Chinese nationals. The terrorists announced on the news that the missiles will be fired after 24 hours. They have no current demands.
The Chinese government still cannot find the alleged terrorists. The Russian government is in a state of confusion and disarray. The US is on red alert. All foreign nationals have left the US, UK, Japan, and the Philippines, pulling out foreign investments, thereby crippling the nations' economies. 6 hours have passed. Meanwhile, two Turkish nationals wanted by the Greek government for their connection to the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda have reportedly escaped Greek custody, and were last seen boarding a flight for Cyprus. Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Ivanov has admitted to his direct involvement in the selling of the weapons to the terrorists, but says he was not aware of their plans beforehand. The Russian Government is insisting that Mr. Ivanov be tried in Russia and will not allow any other country to gain access to him.
Al-Qaeda’s has just made a live broadcast of something over al Jazeera. The broadcast contains a live announcement from Bin Laden and, in addition to that, the Turkish nationals will appear in the video behind Bin Laden, announcing they are in Afghanistan with him. Russia will place its troops on Afghanistan’s border, backed politically by Greece, announcing that it has the right to capture the terrorists for their interrogation of their Defense Minister. The USA is not allowing anyone to come into Afghanistan, saying it considers it a "USA occupied territory and seriously unstable".
12 hours have passed. There has been a major breakthrough in the situation of the terrorists' identities. Osamah Bin Laden has appeared on the Arabic "Al-Jazeera" news station and has announced that the terrorists are indeed members of the Al-Qaeda organization, but did not state their nationality. He has demanded that all the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay be released and dropped off in Algeria, as it is an Islamic nation. Bin Laden guarantees that only when the prisoners have been confirmed free will he give the instructions for the terrorists to stop pointing the satellites at the aforementioned countries.
Honorable delegates, most distinguished guests,
Thomas Jefferson once said...."Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. "
Though they may seem simple, the rights issues facing humanity are much more problematical then we think they are. Ladies and gentlemen, a thick shroud of injustice and insecurity, suffocating the innocent and shielding the guilty, covers our world and it is up to us here today to wash away this shroud. Freedom, peace, security, justice and progression may be words with definitions that are found easily in a dictionary, but ask your selves this; can we really find definitions to words that impinge on the world in a manner that is beyond belief?
Our commission is faced today with the issue concerning indefinite detainees. Thousands of culpable lives are left to jeopardize society’s innocent. Even more disturbing, is the fact that blameless prisoners are being neglected proper investigations, and courts to hear their innocent pleas. Some countries evidently feel that detainees are dangerous criminals that don’t require such rights to begin with. They also feel that most of the detainees are in a mental state that is too hazardous and frail, thus they cannot be treated like normal people that should have the liberty of basic rights. Won’t someone step forward and find a levelheaded compromise? A successful solution regarding this issue is vital, and standing here today as your chair I anticipate a change in a question that fills our hearts with unease.
The second issue that faces us today regards The World Bank and the funding and financial aid that is has been providing countries with that require it. Surprisingly, there still remains a large range of countries that are in dire need of financial aid, possible and affective debt payment plans, and other support. It is up to you delegates, to ensure that The World Bank is efficient and helping all those countries in need before more problems arise, debts are increased, and more aid is required. The issue that faces us today is that unfortunately, debt-ridden countries are drowning in their bottomless sea of debts. Giving loans that require interests to such countries is like giving them air, yet can the WB just give loans with no interest? There must be a solution of some sort that we pass here today, some countries do not have the time to wait anymore, and their citizens are dying by the thousands per day. You may think how is that related to the WB? It’s simple, these countries need money to feed their citizens, educate them, and give them their full rights according to the UDHR, and especially their right to life.
Next comes the issue regarding child labor. According to the UDHR, "Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit."
Loads of countries strongly feel that when young children are used for labor-intensive production and/or militias, they are being deprived from their rights. Children should be at school rather than roaming the streets with guns or products while struggling to make a profit. Children are the future of our world and thus should be educated without delay. Education is the fundamental building block of success and progress.
HOWEVER THIS IGNORES THE REALITY THAT families often rely on the labors of their children for survival and sometimes it is the only source of income. This type of work is better than sending their children to schools on empty stomachs and in barely-there clothing. Thus countries and the UDHR must reach a solution together that ensure the childrens best interest. After all, they are the future of our intricate world.
Finally, comes the issue regarding the right of religious speech. With democracy being widely accepted by most countries, millions worldwide are demanding the right of religious speech. This is a complex and sensitive issue that shouldn’t be cast aside. Several countries may think, why has this issue come to the UN if it states clearly in article 18 of the UDHR: "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance." But there are some countries feel that people are just taking the freedom of religious speech too seriously and are crossing their boundaries.
In addition to that opinion, there are other countries that feel so passionate about their religion, that they would like their entire population to embrace it. Such countries feel that this will benefit the people greatly as it creates co-existence and decreases chances of religious conflicts. Despite the variety of opinions, this issue shouldn’t be cast aside and I urge countries to work together to benefit everyone.
In conclusion as MAHATMA GANDHI wisely stated, "Even if you’re in a minority of one, if you’re right, that’s all that matters."
The fight for truth. The fight for justice. The fight for equality. The fight for world peace is a long and argues one. If Iraq and Kuwait went to the ICJ then there might not have been a Gulf War. If Palestine and Israel went to the ICJ then there might not be an intfada today. If the United States and Iraq went to the ICJ then the Middle East region might not have suffered from the ongoing violence in Iraq. The ICJ could have solved these conflicts because of its preventive role, The use of international law as a base for making decisions and its status as the world’s court.
The International Court of Justice is an Independent body of the United Nations designated to bringing Justice to all the cases presented to it. The court is the protector and interpreter of international law and has had a great deal of successful judgments, which were respected.
One such example is the case of Bahrain VS. Qatar. Both sides agreed to obey the court’s judgment and they did execute the court’s judgment that is the role I envision the International Court of Justice to play. The role of arbitrator in the world arena. Bahrain and Qatar instead of having a war over border disputes concerning several islands and more importantly oil exploration rights went to the ICJ and got a final ruling which both sides respected. Peaceful settlement of disputes that is what the ICJ should be doing in the world.
The International Court of Justice could help to solve many conflicts and problems facing the world. As Corazon Aquino, former president of the Philippines once said, "Reconciliation should be accompanied by justice, otherwise it will not last. While we all hope for peace it shouldn't be peace at any cost but peace based on principle, on justice." This the role that the ICJ should play in our world but which many countries are unwilling to let it play. It should spearhead reconciliation efforts because violence leads to more violence, and reconciliation brought with justice has lasted, but reconciliation brought with war on the other hand has not lasted such as in the case of the former Yugoslavia.
Another famous quote by Thomas Jefferson goes like this "Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it." Ladies and Gentleman let us pursue our policy of peace and friendship through this court and let us bring ourselves closer through the use of international law.
Let us use the law to help reconcile us and bring us closer.
Ladies and gentlemen, honorable delegates of the United Nations Security Council,
Winston Churchill once said, "All the great things are simple and can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, and mercy, hope."
Honorable delegates, these wise words generally represent the morals upon which the United Nations was established. Freedom from discrimination, justice for the oppressed, honor for the valiant and those who seek noble causes, a duty to implement one’s position while accepting responsibility for one’s actions, mercy from suffering and hope for a world in which countries perceive each other not as separate nations, but as one land where peace is an entity that does not need to be implemented, but is already present as is the air we breathe and the land we build our lives upon.
Honorable delegates, the United Nations was created based on a vision, one that encompasses the above words that Churchill wrote, and does not merely repeat the words, but takes each and every one and broadens it, so as to serve as the pillars upon which the fortress of the international peacekeeping community, the United Nations, is to be built and reinforced.
Honorable delegates, we in the Security Council have the most commanding job in the United Nations, and are given powers that are envied amongst the international community. The responsibility to use this power wisely and appropriately for the betterment of the nations in the world is a large one. The real power we possess is the power to use our strengths in ways that help others.
Unfortunately, in many conferences and practical situations this power is abused, and is rather used to benefit countries’ individual interests, where we sadly see nations pressuring other nations to vote with them for no apparent reason other than the fact that they do not have the conscience to speak out against them, they do not have a dignity to voice their own opinions, which is in fact their responsibility more than it is their right.
Therefore, delegates need to attend the conference with full knowledge of their countries’ policies so as to have a more productive conference and eliminate any barriers that may appear due to misrepresented delegations. The powers given to experienced delegates with VETO countries are also to be used only when fully necessary, and abuse of this right only shows that the delegate does not act diplomatically and will only slow down the whole process and cause many problems. Be reminded we are here to solve problems, and not to create them.
The words of Mahatma Gandhi are always a memorable conclusion; "We must be the change we wish to see." Ladies and gentlemen, the change we can make in the world is limited only by our imaginations, so let us imagine what we can accomplish today as diplomatic members of the United Nations.
I hope we can have a productive conference, and Thank You.
Sarah Al-Muzaini, Human Rights Chair
As chair, I felt surprised and pleased that students felt such a sense of passion and committment towards the subject of human rights. Without that committment, the world will be a place in which we have nothing but decisions made on the bottom line. Instead we had three resolutions debated which inspired us all but also saw to the reality that nations are often more inclined to say they'll change than to do so. However, still they stuck to their positions and, in the words of Mahatma Gandhi, "Even if you're in a minority of one, if you're in the right, that's all that matters."
Chief Justice, Ahmad Al-Jouan
The International Court of Justice case this year was truly intriguing because it discussed a very old topic that has been on the world stage for decades. The case that the ICJ ruled on was that of Lebanon VS. Syria where Lebanon was the Prosecuting side and Syria was the defending side. The court was very active because both sides presented good arguments. Lebanon provided better evidence, but Syria’s arguments where stronger. The judges in the court where very active especially the ad hoc judge for Syria who helped present Syria in a better light. Finally, after three days of lengthy debates the court decided that there was no clear victor and passed judgments in favor of both sides.
Security Council, Abdulaziz Al-Bahar
As president of the Security Council this year, I felt much was achieved throughout the conference. At the beginning, most of the delegates were quite reserved, as they were just getting used to each others’ styles. Towards the end of the conference, however, delegates were fighting to get a chance to speak, and their countries were adequately represented. As chair, I felt one of the most important moments in the conference was when the delegate of the United States declared war on China. This is, as is known to the Security Council, one of the most stressful situations that can occur, and it is up to the chair to aid in solving it. China, being in character, immediately rejected that statement. After taking a vote on the proposed way to solve this crisis, I called for a recess and urged the delegates to meet and compromise between themselves. It turned out it was just what the delegates needed, and after some explanation of certain misconceptions in Security Council procedure, the delegates brusquely solved the issue.
In addition to crises such as war declarations, it is vital for the president to show command of the assembly. Not once did the assembly go out of order, and even when there were objections to my procedure, the delegates respected my opinion and did not try to hinder the procession of the debate. Sometimes, delegates seemed unclear as to how to deal with a situation, and before that uncertainty was expressed I elevated it by making statements concerning that situation and the different ways that could be taken to resolve it. For example, a delegate was sometimes unclear on another’s question, and it seemed that the entire assembly understood the point the delegate was trying to make except for one delegate. I would then proceed to clarify the question to the delegate and address any problems he or she had about the situation. I think it should be noted that this was probably the Security Council with the greatest number of points of parliamentary inquiry or points of information to the chair, therefore showing the open relationship between the chair and the delegates who felt they could express their concerns at anytime without hindering the debate. In the end, all resolutions were passed, and the crisis that took place over two days was successfully resolved despite the shocking twists provided by the executives in the General Assembly. I believe this year’s Security Council was a success.