History of the Organization:
In 1961, Amnesty International (AI) was founded by Peter Benenson, a British lawyer, and Eric Baker, a Quaker (a member of the Religious Society of Friends, which was founded by George Fox). Quakers were unsatisfied with the existing religious groupings and values of Christianity. A Quaker believes that the direct experience to God is available to all people, without any type of meditation. They're extreme Pacifists. They believe that war is just an enormous waste of time, money, energy, and most importantly lives. Actually, they don't believe in war at all, especially the Cold War.
After reading the story about the two Portuguese students that were sentenced to seven years in prison for raising their glasses in a toast to freedom, Benenson wrote to the editor of The Observer newspaper to publish an article named The Forgotten Prisoners. He asked readers to show support for the students by writing letters. Letter writes in more than twelve countries had formed and wrote to defend victims of injustice and unfair treatment. In the beginning, AI focused on the articles of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights that dealt with political prisoners, or prisoners of conscience (articles 18 and 19). However, as more years have passed, AI has expanded its concerns to doing many more things. It would not just fight for the prisoners of conscience, but for all who have been treated cruelly and with injustice. Amnesty is "concerned solely with the impartial protection of human rights".
Amnesty and its writers campaigned for the release of prisoners in many repressive routines all around the world. For example, in the Spring of 1986, Amnesty International campaigned for the release of specific prisoners from Guatemala, South Korea, South Africa, Syria, the U.S.S.R., and Vietnam, just to name a few.
AI was a real pain to the Soviet Union. It would publish detailed reports both of conditions in Soviet prisons and of how the Soviet political system as a whole was arranged to prevent opposition and political freedom. AI was so worked up on helping prisoners and victims of the Soviet Union, that they later found Soviet internal security documents in archives that indicated concern about AI’s anti-Soviet activities.
When the Soviet Union ended, Amnesty was ecstatic. It was happy that a system like that was over and would never return. Although no big change happened to Amnesty, they had a lot more faith. Amnesty realized that with persistence it can make a change for the better. The death of the Soviet Union didn't change Amnesty's mission, quite the contrary. The end of the USSR made Amnesty even more determined to help people in need.
Amnesty was also highly active, lively, and energetic in condemning repressive routines which carried out murders, disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and obvious massacres and slaughter against their own citizens. For example, the September/October 1988 newsletter's lead article was an appeal to the United Nations Security Council (SC) to "act immediately to stop the massacre of Kurdish civilians by Iraqi forces" under the leadership and power of Saddam Hussein.
The work AI did to defend human rights around the world caused it to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977. In the 1980’s, AI was in cultural events like The Secret Policeman’s Ball series, which is a name for a series of fundraising performances featuring big-name comedians, musicians, and other celebrities. These performances were held at different venues in London. In behalf of AI, the 1986 US.-based A Conspiracy of Hope Tour was a short series of six benefit concerts. It was held to increase awareness of AI on its 25Th. anniversary, and not to raise funds. Another tour similar to that one was the worldwide Human Rights Now! Tour (1988) that took place over six weeks. Also, it was a short series of six benefit concert and was not held to raise funds.
There's also an American version of Amnesty International that works under the Constitution and laws of the United States. That organization is called the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU for short. Its mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in America." Although ACLU's mission is similar to AI's it only functions in the US. It has also probably received more criticism from both sides of the political system because of its controversial role. Though, it probably did inspire Amnesty International. What ACLU probably didn't expect is for AI to rise above it and be one of the major organizations for human rights.
Over a period of 45 years, the organization has expanded its mission to work to prevent and end severe abuses of rights to physical and mental veracity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from distinction and racism, to promote human rights. Currently, many international campaigns are being held by the AI to "Control Arms", "Stop Violence Against Women", and to end the "Death Penalty". AI has worked to defend more than 44,600 prisoners in hundreds of countries since its beginning.
Amnesty International has really been and made a difference in the world. It has saved the lives of over 10,000 prisoners and individuals deprived of their rights. Its logo, made up of a candle and barbed wire, describes Amnesty's benefit and support perfectly. The logo was inspired after an old Chinese phrase. "Better to light a candle than curse the darkness." Amnesty International is concerned solely with the impartial protection of human rights. As a result, Amnesty International is among the most widely respected human rights organizations in the world. It is a neutral organization. Therefore, it's neither a right nor left wing organization. It abides by nobody else's rule but its own, which is huge part of the organization's beauty and simplicity. AI’s goal is to make the world to be a place free of all cruelty, injustice, discrimination, and unfairness. Its mission is to research and take action that focuses on stopping abuses of freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination. It works to promote all human rights.
Structure and Functions:
AI plans to give every human their rights, as they are under the UN Declaration of Human Rights. AI’s goal is to free every POC (Prisoner of Conscience), make sure people get fair trials, eradicate all forms of bad treatment of prisoners (including eliminating the death penalty), end terrorism and violence, aid political asylum seekers, end all forms of violence and aggression against women, cooperate with groups and organizations that are willing to end human rights abuses, and to alert everyone about human rights and abuses around the world.
AI sends teams to look into claims of human rights abuses. AI researchers publicize and broadcast their findings and discoveries. Most of its members are volunteers. They are assembled to lobby against any mistreatment if there is one, by letter writing to government officials, protesting, demonstrating, arranging fund-raisers, and educating people about ill-treatment. AI fights individual offenses as well as general policies. AI is recognized for its 40 year history and Nobel Peace Prize (1977), and still works on a public level.
As mentioned before, when the Soviet Union was over, Amnesty International was overjoyed. It was glad that a system like the Soviet Union's was over and would never be enforced in the world again. Although no great change occurred to the organization, they had a lot more confidence. Amnesty realized that with perseverance, it can make a difference for the better. The end of the Soviet Union didn't change Amnesty's mission, quite the opposite. The end of the USSR made Amnesty even more determined to help people in need, and victims of injustice in the human rights department.
AI uses letter writing to get their messages across. AI contacts over 7,000 groups and over 1,000,000 when it discovers cases with human rights abuse (the US. has about 300,000 members alone). The members, who usually don’t mention AI directly, respond with concern, anger, and protest to government officials about the case at hand. The basic aim of letter-writing is to embarrass the government officials to change their countries behavior. If that doesn't work, they move onto protesting and demonstrating.
Amnesty International has a great rule that is abided by all members. It is called the "country rule". The rule states that members should not be involved and active in issues in their own country. This rule protects them from possible mistreatment and abuse from their own government. This rule is also applied on the researchers and campaigners working for the International Secretariat ("AI’s global center for research, campaigning, legal, lobbying, and membership work. Its main office is located in London").
International Executive Council (IEC) runs AI. It is made up of a board of eight members elected for two-year terms by the International Council Meeting (ICM). The meeting consists of delegates from each country's Board of Directors. The IEC appoints a Secretary General and an International Secretariat (headquartered in London). The structure of organizations differs nationally and locally. Some of the members of the IEC, ICM, and Board of Directors usually have a certain number of political beliefs; though they're still elected to be on one of these prestigious boards and councils. Amnesty is trying to solve this specific problem, but sadly is having a little bit of progress. The people seem to be very popular in their neighborhood. They also seem to be very capable of doing the job despite their political beliefs. Therefore the people of their area ignore the latter and vote for what they have seen over the years. Some of that is the council and board's ability to lead; their generosity, suitability, among other things. They rise in the organization because of those traits despite their political beliefs.
The present big man behind the Amnesty, or should I say the big woman, is Irene Khan (a woman from Bangladesh). She has been the Secretary General since 2001. The rest of the members are volunteers. Most of them used to work for the UN like the current Secretary General, and have moved to Amnesty looking for better improvement; although a few have been recruited from the UN to Amnesty. Because most members are volunteers, they don't get paid to do all the things required for Amnesty. The people that do manage to make a living out of Amnesty get a salary, but very few people like specific researchers. ON very rare occasions, the organization will provide some of its members with money if it's for a worthy cause. To become a member of Amnesty International is quite simple. All a person needs to do is visit their website and go to the section that says "act now". The person then picks the country he/she is currently staying in. After that, all he/she needs to do is add his/her personal information (like name, address, and email). It is important to note that AI does not accept donations from governments or governmental organizations.
AI has currently expanded. It deals with cultural, economical, and social human rights. In its 2004 report, it stated that "it is difficult to achieve sustainable progress towards implementation of any one human right in isolation. ... AI will strive to ... assert a holistic view of rights protection. It will be particularly important to do so in relation to extreme poverty, and the human rights issues underlying poverty." The organization is even considering taking a position on abortion. These might include supporting rights, suitable healthcare when complications occur (in states were abortion is legal), decriminalization, or legalization. But you should realize that the issue is greatly controversial within the organization.
Strengths and Weaknesses:
Amnesty International is an organization with much strength and quite a few weaknesses. No one ever said that AI was an organization without any flaws, but it does have many good traits and beneficial qualities.
A very important flaw of AI is bias, mostly selection and ideological bias. A number of countries including China, United States of America, and Russia have criticized it on supposed bias, not looking at both sides of the penny, and failure to take security threats to heart. Although you should be aware that these aforementioned governments all have worrying human rights concerns; and Amnesty hasn't been afraid to publicize these concerns. AI has usually concentrated on some countries more than others and that's what causes some to say that it is a bias organization. An example would be AI's focus on Israel and not concentrating as much on North Korea or Sierra Leone. However, supporters say that Amnesty has 2 main jobs: a) to come across as many finding as it can b) create pressure in order for improvement. An example would be the Darfur crisis vs. the conflict in Israel between Palestinians and Israelis. AI only issued 52 reports on the human abuse in Darfur and issued 192 reports on the human abuse in Israel. Another reason people (governments) might call Amnesty bias is because of the people more likely to be joining the organization. A Palestinian working in the Gulf is more likely to join AI than a suffering Iraqi farmer. When the Palestinian does join the organization, it won't see the crisis in its country or in the west fairly.
"For Amnesty International to suggest that somehow the United States is a violator of human rights, I frankly just don’t take them seriously." That was a quote said by a Republican of Bush's administration when Amnesty International accused the United States of their ill-treatment of detainees in the war on terror. Republicans are least likely to join Amnesty International than Democrats. That's because AI has criticized the United States so many times during Bush's time as president. Though at first, the US was for Amnesty before he was against it. That was during the Soviet period, but that's been long over.
AI defenders said that there should be utter respect for human rights in open countries and closed countries. What AI means by this is that respect and values for human rights should be acquired by every country in the world, and not just by the countries that terribly need it. Maybe by repairing the countries that don't have a lot of human abuse, it will inspire other countries with more cases of human abuse to patch itself up.
Another major part of AI's weaknesses is the way it gets things done. AI does a lot of campaigning, letter-writing, strikes, etc. A noted organization like that should do a lot more than what anti-fur groups do. AI should expand its techniques in changing the way things are done. Campaigning is fine, but there are better methods to change things in our world today. If AI improves its system then it'll show the world that it's an organization worth keeping and not a wimpy group. But in the end of the day, Amnesty International's main concern is to embarrass the people who abuse human rights. Another bonus is embarrassing them in public; because the more publicity you get the more famous the organization is, which results in fear of the organization for people who abuse human rights.
AI's money is a strength and weakness to the organization. They receive many donations daily, but sadly, it's not enough. AI has many goals and not enough people are contributing to the renowned organization. However, the money is still enough to attract quite a few governments. You can't say that the money has direct power over the governments, but it does have some power. An example would be when certain governments talk to representatives from the organizations about lending the government some money to help stop human abuse; though AI does hesitate when it gives away money. It researches the information it has and makes sure that the money is going for a good against human abuse case. Then, when it's finally sure that the money won't be wasted on something utterly foolish, it makes a representative monitor the movement of the money, and the development of the project.
AI's strengths are uncountable. One of its more important strengths is the organization and its volunteers' determination and willpower. Amnesty doesn't give up easily. It continues and perseveres in the direction that it thinks is right. They have a point of view that's extremely consistent and outspoken. Many people (governments) would think that's a bad quality, but in Amnesty's field of work, it's an enormously vital trait. Also, Amnesty's members are committed and hardworking. They wouldn't have joined if they weren't dedicated and loyal. That's a major strength in the world we live in.
Amnesty International’s national sections and local volunteer groups are primarily responsible for funding the work of the movement. The AI doesn't accept donations from governments in any way or form. The hundreds of thousands of donations come from the pockets of its members, the public, and organizations such as trusts, foundations and ethical companies. A couple of the organizations include the INGO (International Non-governmental Organization) and the ISO (International Organization or Standardization). It should be noted that Amnesty doesn't accept money from Left-Wing or Right-Wing organizations. The international budget is spent on research, delegations, campaigning, and developing activities. You really cannot say that a country gives AI more money than another country, because it does not accept money from governments.
During the financial year of April 1, 2002 to March 31, 2003 the budget adopted by Amnesty International was £23,728,000 (including contingency). It was spent in the following areas: Membership Support 2,816,800 12% Campaigning Activities 2,387,100 10% Publications and Translation 2,810,600 12% Research and Action 5,828,800 26% Deconcentrated Offices 1,720,400 7% Research and Action 3,481,100 15% Administrative Costs 3,918,400 18%
Also, relief payments to victims of human rights violations and their families totaled approximately £48,000 during the same period. So that in total resulted to £23,775,000, compared to Kuwait's budget that's mere pennies. Kuwait spent £16,575,000,000 in 2005 alone. That's almost a 16 billion more than Amnesty; if you think about it that's a lot of money. Amnesty International has countless goals to be accomplished. You can almost say that Amnesty's aspirations are limitless. Sadly, Amnesty's budget doesn't allow it to fulfill each and every aim. You can't rid the world of human abuse with just £16 million. It is just not possible. Alas, AI's budget is a limited one.
Amnesty International had groups forming all over the world since its early formation. Amnesty has good relations with the ten countries that hold its finance offices in 4 continents. The ten countries are: Beirut, Dakar, Geneva, Hong Kong, Kampala, London, Moscow, New York, Paris, and San Jose. It should be noted that AI has a finance office in four of the five world superpowers. Amnesty has groups in over 150 countries. Europe comes in first with 42 countries. After that, Africa comes in with 41 countries. Then Asia and the Pacific and the Americas are ties with 28 countries. Finally the Middle East and North Africa come in with 19 countries.
In the beginning of AI's career, the USA was supporting it 100%. That was when Amnesty was against the Soviet Union and everything it did. However, the scales have changed right now. That's because Amnesty International has been criticizing Israel and the way it has been acting towards Palestinians. And as we all know, the USA is a very good and close ally with Israel. That's why the USA has also become very critical with Amnesty and has trashed it. It also means that AI isn't as tight as it can be with Israel. Another reason the AI was absolutely appalled with the US is when they found out about Guantanamo Bay. It was utterly horrified with the finding that it called Guantanamo Bay a "human scandal".
Amnesty International went to the defense of the Muslim countries when the Mohammed cartoon controversy. They stated, "The right to freedom of opinion and expression should be one of the cornerstones of any society. However, the right to freedom of expression is not absolute." Although Amnesty went to the aid of Muslims when the cartoon scandal went out, it wasn't by their side. Quite the contrary, it has criticized Muslim nations many, many times. It has criticized Saudi Arabia many, many times about killings and the respect of women in that country. It has also criticized Egypt numerous times about its unnecessary torture and secret detention there. Finally, it has harshly criticized its worst victim, Saddam Hussein, though you cannot say that he didn't deserve the criticism.
Amnesty is pretty neutral with all other countries. It has gained the trust of many of the countries around the world. Especially since Amnesty's members have been so active in almost every protest that AI has conducted. They have a firm, blunt, consistent, and very outspoken opinion. You won't Amnesty changing its mind and negotiating in the political sense. Amnesty sticks to its guns whether it's right or wrong.
Delegate: Nour Ghadanfar
Issue 1: Combating defamation of religions as a means to promote human rights, social harmony and religious and cultural diversity.
The definition of defamation is an attack on somebody's good name, character, or reputation. In the case of this issue, defamation means attacking someone's belief, which is religion. The defamation of religions is an international issue in today's world. It is affecting the stride towards social harmony as well as religious and cultural diversity. It has affected many people determined to work towards world peace and abolish conflict. How can these so-called people welcome peace and annihilate abhorrence if even the slightest thing like religion is taken into consideration and is the main cause for rejection? Amnesty thinks that defamation of religions is also a main cause of corruption. At the moment, the victim of this offensive act (also known as defamation) is the nation of Islam. After the highly speculated Mohammed cartoon controversy, it was clear how much defamation we need to combat in this world of ours.
There still needs to be freedom of the press, but it has to have borders, and the press clearly overstepped that border when they agreed to publish the cartoons. The controversy did not only totally outrage the world, especially the Muslims, but also increased and encouraged denouncement of all religions. Amnesty still wants and encourages freedom of the press, but it also encourages the press not to abuse that right. Governments should play a part in the role of teaching the press where it's freedom of choice and where you're abusing that right. In addition, Islam isn't the only religion that has been defamed by merciless human beings. A lot of religions including Buddhism, the Jewish community, Christianity, Taoism, Sikhism, and Hindus have been trashed and talked about. The AI stated, "Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence cannot be considered legitimate exercise of freedom of expression."
People should be able to choose their own religion without any pressure. It's one's own choice which religion they choose. Freedom of religion should be available to each and every human. The AI also stated, "The right to freedom of opinion and expression should be one of the cornerstones of any society. ... However, the right to freedom of expression is not absolute." It's important to realize that Amnesty wants to combat defamation of religions as a means to promote human rights, social harmony and religious and cultural diversity.
Amnesty International feels that the way people relate everyday ideas like terrorism and violence to religions is unacceptable. AI feels that the world should start combating the defamation right now. An example would be, to form workshops all over the world. Another example would be to ask an organization like the UN to hold many conferences discussing the defamation and how unethical and immoral it is. Also, people should never underestimate the power of advertisement. Amnesty is willing to work with the any organization willing to help to combat the defamation of religions.
Issue 2: Corruption and its impact on human rights, in particular economic and social rights.
The definition of corruption is dishonest exploitation of power for personal gain. Consequently, corruption has a colossal and immense effect and impression on human rights, whether economic or social. It's almost like a violation or personal and public rights, and Amnesty International thinks that it shouldn't be tolerated. Take, for instance, the failure to move from speech-making to reality on economic and social rights. Not to mention that corruption is another way to waste money that can be used for something a hundred times better. Amnesty is extremely proud that it has not been involved in any account scandals.
The governments that signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and international human rights treaties made a promise that every person shall have the right to an adequate standard of living and access to food, water, shelter, education, work and health care. However, when the many governments signed the treaty, they didn't do their best to fulfill what is said. On the contrary, quite a few of the countries violated the treaty, hence corruption.
Over a billion people lack clean sanitary needed water. 121 million children do not go to school (some of whom aren't allowed to) and probably never will. In Africa, there are 25 million people suffering from HIV/AIDS and most of them have no access or entrance to any kind of health care. Also, half a million women die every year during pregnancy or childbirth. The poor are also more likely to be victims of crime and police brutality. That does not sound like a well-kept promise to Amnesty International. Again, it looks like the UDHR has been violated. It made a promise to the people of the world and it can't even keep that promise in one continent, Africa. Most of the problems all around the world are occurring because of corruption and its results on the earth and its inhabitants. Amnesty International said, "In many countries, governance has been undermined by corruption." It definitely wants to stop that. AI wants a lot of things to change in the subject of corruption and its impact on human rights, in particular economic and social rights.
There are a lot of things you can do to stop corruption starting with education. Education is the key to a person's life. It can be a changing life factor. If we start enforcing corruption at a young age, the world will never survive and the basic factors of honesty will completely and utterly disappear. Therefore, if we start teaching our children the disadvantages of corruption and the perks of truthfulness, then we can turn the future around, and make the world a better place. We should also teach our kids about money and its value. Governments are controlled by the rich and they aren't making a very good job of ending corruption, you can actually say that they are the start of most corruption. Another way you can stop corruption is by contacting a powerful organization because they can really make an effective difference.
Organizations that deal with this issue should also try and see that its program is not perfect. Some of its governments are helping spread corruption instead of the other way round. There have been many speculations about the matter, and yet Amnesty hasn't seen an improvement from the governments. However, we, the world, still need to stop corruption dead in its tracks.
Delegate: Laila Arafeh
Issue 1: Follow up to and implementation of the outcome of the Durban 2001 world conference against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
In 2001, a world conference against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance took place in Durban. Many issues were discussed, like the end of violence in the Middle East, the question of slavery, the eradication of poverty, and the question of victims of racism. 2,300 representatives from 163 countries participated in this conference. This included 16 heads of State, 58 foreign ministers, 44 ministers, and nearly 4,000 NGO representatives and more than 1,100 media representatives were recognized.
The conference result came with measures to be taken on National level to fight racism and discrimination and promote respect of human rights. It also recommended the establishment of a body at the UN consisting of five members from different world regions to coordinate with the HCHR to follow up on the implementation of the document. The most important issues of the document call for States to agree by 2005 on an international convention to be held to ratify a conclusion on elimination of racial discrimination. It also urges states to eliminate discrimination based on religion. It also urges states to stop discrimination against immigrants and foreign workers. It also urges states to take measures to extend education and physical health to everyone and to commit financial support for anti-racism education. It calls for states to make sure to promote human rights and fight racism.
AI would vote for resolutions that would confirm the implementation of the human rights protection. Preventing discrimination against religion and racism is also an important thing. For example, AI would vote for a resolution that would say a rule should be formed where countries are supposed to control peoples freedom of rights when religion or racism is a big issue in it (banning the caricatures). Another example is a resolution that forms centers that provide food for the poor to end poverty.
Issue: Palestinian victims’ right of return to the occupied territories and their right to restitution as well as compensation.
The Palestine problem has become an international issue a long time ago. Jewish immigration from many places (mainly Eastern Europe) took place and caused the Palestinians to rebel. The UN proposed a partitioning plan which divided Palestine into 2 states: one Palestinian Arab and one Jewish, and Jerusalem internationalized. In 1948, 77% of Palestine and a large part of Jerusalem were occupied by the Jews and the state of Israel was created. More than 750,000 Palestinians had to flee or were expelled. In November 1948, a resolution on providing assistance to Palestinian refugees was adopted by the GA. In December, the GA declared that refugees wishing to return to their land may do so, and those that do not wish to do so should be compensated for their property (resolution 194).
The Conciliation Commission for Palestine was established by this resolution (194). It was requested to assist the refugees’ resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation. The Commission’s efforts have been unsuccessful. In the 1967 war, the rest of Palestine (the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and the remaining part of Jerusalem) was occupied by Israel. This caused another mass departure of Palestinians (around half a million), with most of the refugees displaced for a second time. The withdrawal of Israel from the territories it had occupied in 1967 was called on in the SC resolution 242 of November 22, 1967.
Palestinian victims are the people that had to leave their homes and land in 1967. The occupied territories are the areas that were taken by Israel in that same year. In June 2006, AI "called on Israel to end immediately its reckless shelling and air strikes against the Gaza Strip, which have killed and injured scores of unarmed Palestinians, including several women and children, in recent months."
Quoted from a website, AI "urges that a debate is started as a matter of urgency within the international community, including the relevant UN agencies, host states and other relevant states (Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, and other states with large Palestinian minorities), as well as NGOs, in order to find solutions to bridge the protection gaps that exist in relation to non ID Palestinian refugees in Lebanon". AI believes that these Palestinian victims should have their rights to return or else should be compensated for their losses. When that happens, Israel and Palestine would both gain peace. Also, relevant and host states deserve to be compensated since they have large numbers of Palestinian minorities and have paid some of the price for Israel’s deed. These countries should be rewarded financially from the World Bank. In addition to that, they will gain economically and politically once the issue is solved.
The first thing that must be done is a survey should be conducted by the UN to find out an approximate number of Palestinians that wish to return to their lands and the number of Palestinians that prefer to be compensated. Based on that, a fund created by the UN members should be raised to pay for the Palestinians that wish to be substantially compensated as a final settlement. As for the people who want to return, they will either return to their properties, or get a new property in Palestine. AI believes that it is important to help the Palestinians that would be relocated. Therefore, there should be a committee to help them socially, economically, educationally, and medically to help them rebuild and restart their lives in Palestine.
Delegate: Nour Ghadanfar Commission: Human Rights Commission A Main Submitter: Amnesty International Question Of: Combating defamation of religions as a means to promote human rights, social harmony and religious and cultural diversity.
Defining defamation of religions as a "false accusation or a misrepresentation of someone's religion(s)"
Recalling that all States have pledged themselves under the Charter of the United Nations that quotes, "to promote and encourage universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion",
Reminding nations that organizations such as Interfaith Center of New York, International Interfaith Center, and World Faith Development Dialogue know that interfaith dialogue is extremely important step to take if the world wants to combat defamation of religions,
Proclaims that a former treaty called the Declaration on the elimination of all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief was adopted by the General Assembly on November 25, 1981,
Keeping in Mind that even though some countries have provisions against acts of religious intolerance, acts are being committed by people of these countries, like when the Mohammed cartoon controversy ensued, the people were completely unfeeling and unknowing to and of the problem it would cause,
Deeply Concerned that according to The Times, most deaths in the Gujarat riot were a result of Hindu mobs attacking Muslims and their property primarily by arson, and alarmed, according to many NGOs and newspapers, the state government Hindus and Muslims in dispensing compensation in money,
Deeply Worried that according to the Indian Express, during the anti-Sikh riots, a huge mob from the suburbs of Delhi descended on various localities where the Sikh were mainly concentrated and had lists of houses and business establishments belonging to the Sikhs, and they began to swarm into Sikh homes, ripping the occupants to pieces, chopping off the heads of children, raping women, tying Sikh men to tires set aflame with kerosene, and burning down the houses and shops after ransacking them,
Deeply Troubled that according to the author of The Arab Shia: The Forgotten Muslims, the Shia in Islam, though not openly persecuted, are often subject to thinly-veiled persecution, where the generally poorer Shia majority is ruled by a wealthy Sunni elite without deference to their numerical superiority like in Bahrain,
Appalled that according to christianpost.com, on October 28, 2001 in Lahore, Pakistan, Islamic militants killed 15 Christians at a church, and on September 25, 2002 two men entered the "Peace and Justice Institute", Karachi, where they separated Muslims from Christians, and then executed 8 Christians,
Aghast by the fact that according to religioustolerance.com, even after World War II, anti-Semitic programs continue, especially in Poland,
Guided By Seeds of Peace when saying that this resolution will work because Seeds of Peace has the same general idea only it happens 3 times a year, in 2000 the United Nations awarded Seeds of Peace the prestigious UNESCO Mandanjeet Singh Prize for Tolerance and Non-Violence, in 2003, the US. House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution honoring Seeds of Peace for having decreased the amount bigotry and prejudice in this world, and it's succeeded immensely because it's spreading peace through the next generation of leaders and there has been a major attitudinal change;1) Calls Upon the formation of the United Nations Defamation of Religions Organization, (UNDRO), under the Human Rights Council, that will: A. Have its headquarters and the camp's location assigned once this resolution passes, B. Have at least one branch of the UNDRO in every continent to raise awareness, C. Have enough employees and staff to accomplish what the UNDRO was formed for, informing all nations that the employees and staff will be chosen directly by the Human Rights Council;
2) Insists that in order for the UNDRO to take action in a country, form branches, and send representatives, it must first have the permission of the country's government;3) Resolves that the UNDRO will do the following: A. Decide on neighborhoods in countries by researching which countries have the most religiously-caused violent-filled neighborhoods and picking the top 50 most violent neighborhoods and the top 50 most peaceful neighborhoods for diversity at the camp, B. Send 10 representatives to each neighborhood of a country that will: i. Research the amount of religiously-caused violence found in each neighborhood, ii. Work out the number of civilians over the age 8 and under the age of 15, iii. Find out which children/teenagers are most prone bigotry and pick the top 10 in order for them to be able to join the camp, iv. Convince parents or guardians that do not agree for a child/teenager to be removed from their violent neighborhood, and show them that the camp is the best situation for their child/teenager educationally and spiritually until they agree for them to go, C. Have the children/teenager's college/university tuition paid for if they successfully attend the camp, D. Research the situation in the children/teenagers' neighborhood and if the religiously caused violence in their neighborhood hasn't decreased in about 5% in around 5 years, then their college/university tuition will not be paid for, E. Send the SC a monthly report of how the organization is doing, how the neighborhoods have improved or worsened, and how the camps are doing;
4) Also Resolves that the UNDRO will form free camps that will include: A. Dorms, a cafeteria, sports fields and equipment, and a medical building with up to the minute equipment, B. Counselors, teachers, and staff that will be chosen by the UNDRO, C. Buildings designed especially for classes to be held in them that will teach: i. What bigotry is doing in this world and how to combat it, ii. School classes for students that need them and voluntary classes such as drama, art, music, etc., D. A time period of three months per session with 1000 children/teenagers per session (10 children/teenagers per neighborhood);
5) Affirms that the UNDRO camps will: A. Have 10 children/teenagers removed from their violent (or not so violent) neighborhood, with permission from the parent or guardian, and placed in a camp where they will: i. Meet other children/teenagers from other parts of the world and engage in teambuilding activities with them, ii. Have their food, medical care, and shelter taken care of;
6) Also Affirms if the idea of the camp turns out to be successful, then more camps will be built;
7) Further Resolves that there will be a monthly meeting of the heads of each brand at the UNDRO headquarters to do the following: A. Discuss and execute ways to improve the camps and the UNDRO and its rules, advertise the UNDRO and its camps, and improve ways to remove children/teenagers from unsuitable environments and place them in a suitable environment.
Delegate: Laila Arafeh Commission: Human Rights Commission - B Question of: Palestinian victims’ right of return to the occupied territories and their right to restitution and compensation. Submitted By: Amnesty International (AI)
Defining Palestinian victims as the people who left their homes in Palestine due to the war and occupation of their territories by the Israelis in the 1967 war, and their descendants who were born in refugee camps or who are suffering (socially and economically because their rights are not been given) and are not permitted to get citizenship from their host country,
Defining occupied territories as the areas that were taken by Israel in 1967 as quoted in the UN Security Council resolution 242, "Affirms…Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict,"
Believing that the withdrawal of Israel from the territories it had occupied in 1967 was called on in the SC resolution 242 of November 22, 1967,
Noting that Palestinian refugees demand their right of return based on Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone has the right to leave any country including his own and to return to his country",
Noting Further that they also demand their right of return based on Article 11 in the UN GA Resolution 194: "resolves that refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so… and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property... " and also "Instructs the Conciliation Commission to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation",
Shows complete gratitude towards The Conciliation Commission for Palestine that was established by resolution 194 which was "requested to assist the refugees’ resettlement and economic and social rehabilitations" even though its efforts have failed,
Keeping in Mind that the number of Palestinian refugees were 711,000 in 1950, and has grown to over 4 million where one third live in the West bank and Gaza, a little bit less than one third in Jordan, 17% in Syria and Lebanon, and 15% in other countries, and about 1 million refugees have no form of identification (other than the UNWRA identification card),
Affirming that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is a "relief and human development agency, providing education, healthcare, social services and emergency aid to over 4 million Palestinian refugees living in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria" and was established in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War,
Calls Attention to the fact that UNRWA has repeatedly complained that it could not carry out humanitarian mandate because of the Israeli curfews and checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza, and that over 30,000 people are homeless due to the demolitions of Palestinian homes in Gaza,
Deeply Disturbed that refugees living in neighboring countries are living in situations where they are not being considered citizens of the host country, and many live in poverty, and neighboring states have to accommodate these refugees and have to support them economically, medically, educationally which is a burden to the country,
Noting with regret the september in 1970 known to the Arabs as the "Black September" which was when King Hussein of Jordan had to stop Palestinian organizations from overthrowing his monarchy which resulted in "heavy civilian Palestinian casualties" and the expulsion of the PLO and many Palestinians to Lebanon (which numbered more than 300,000 in 1975 creating an "informal state-within-a-state" in the south),
Emphasizing that failing to solve this issue will reflect negatively on all countries of the area, including Israel, with the escalation of fighting and it will delay the political and economical progress in the area, whereas in solving this problem, this will be the beginning of an economical and political boom that will reflect positively in the economy of all countries, specifically in Israel, that will have a huge market to promote their products and trade;
1. Calls Upon the UN to establish a sub-committee under UNRWA that would conduct a survey among all Palestinians living outside the West Bank and Gaza in order to find out an approximate number that wish to return to their lands and the number that prefer to be compensated financially for the properties they lost;
2. Declares that for the victims that prefer to be compensated, the sub-committee will do the following: A. Prepare claim documents to be filled by Palestinian victims that wish to be compensated, B. Receive claims from the Palestinians with an estimated value of their lost properties, C. Study and evaluate the proper compensation for each claim, D. Prepare legal documents to be signed as a final binding settlement for each claim;
2. Takes Note that this sub-committee will use the funds collected for UNRWA as compensations for the Palestinians, and if further funds required, they will be requested from donating countries;
3. Trusts that collecting donations and solving the refugee problem will: A. Slowly bring an end to UNRWA; B. Help relieve the host states from the financial, economic and moral responsibilities for the refugees and stabilize the political situation in those states;
4. Emphasizes that countries will be represented in the compensation committee board based on the percentage of the funds they donate;
5. Requests that Israelis, Palestinians, and neighboring countries must be represented in the committee;
6. Further Requests that this committee would also be in charge of the Palestinians who want to return and will establish effective refugee centers that would: A. Prepare camps to receive the returning Palestinians; B. Coordinate their return to the cities and homes from the hosting countries;
8. Affirms that Palestinians may return to their property if it is located on any of the areas Israel withdraws from, which would be called Palestine;
9. Notes that Palestinians whose properties fall into areas that remain with Israel will have a choice of: A. Being compensated financially in cash where the committee will evaluate the amount of compensation to be paid; B. Owning shares in a company responsible for the utilities to be provided to the Palestinian people, established by the Palestinian government;
10. Further Reminds that Palestinians will have no further demands for their right of return or for compensation, where this would be a final settlement.
Delegate: Nour Ghadanfar
Amnesty International has recently celebrated its 45th birthday. During that period of time, it has seen the most outrageous and disturbing crimes of human rights, but it's those crimes that inspired Mr. Peter Benenson to establish Amnesty, and it's those very crimes that drive the heart of the organization; the heart that is moved by the many suffering souls of this cruel world.
Good morning (afternoon?) honorable chair and fellow delegates. We are all gathered here today in this prestigious conference to try and repair some of the physical and emotional damage that has been inflicted on our great world today.
The countries of the majestic world have succeeded in many things like abolishing the death penalty and slavery throughout most of the world. THAT we still haven't abolished it completely tells us that we still have a long way to go. Let me explain…
Can you imagine being detained and put to jail for forever without a fair trial? Can you imagine having corruption spread throughout the world and not being able to do anything to stop it? But most of all, can you imagine a person being denied the freedom of their own, personal religion and being tortured because of it? Now I ask you my fellow delegates, CAN we stop TALKING and actually do something about it? Can we help our fellow brothers in need? Can human abuse be put to a stop once and for all? THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is the reason AI was created. THAT is our mission and we won't REST until it's accomplished.
Delegate: Laila Arafeh
People are suffering… People are living in very low standards… People’s rights are being abused… We succeed in creating more destruction and more victims, but violence has not yet been eradicated. For that reason, AI was founded. Working to promote human rights, Amnesty International has made a difference in the world. It has saved the lives of over 10,000 prisoners and individuals deprived of their rights… but AI’s mission is not yet done..
Honorable chair and fellow delegates,
AI is here today to collaborate with different countries to find solutions to major problems, willing to make our world a better place.
A very important issue is the question of Palestine, and we cannot wait any longer to help as Israeli's suffer from terrorist bombings and the world's condemnation, and Palestinians suffer poor standards of living and foreign domination...or exile.
One part of this question of Palestinian victims’ rights of return. Ensuring peace between both sides is a part of AI’s goal. It is the first step towards freedom from strife. AI believes it is important to give these victims that are living in pain a home and at the same time to satisfy everyone involved.
We all have to cooperate and find a solution that fits both sides of this crisis.
So let’s make a change. Let us hold hands and fight the cruelty that is attacking our world.
Dear Ms. Irene Khan,
This past weekend, I had the honor of representing Amnesty International in AMMUN 2006. It was a Model United Nations conference where a lot of countries and organizations attended. I was in the human rights commission that discussed many important issues such as combating the defamation of religions and ways to help fight and stop corruption. Although Amnesty International wasn’t allowed to vote, it contributed to a lot of issues, and actually passed 3 clauses by amending them. All in all, it was a very successful conference, and I truly think that I was the epiphany of the souls of Amnesty International, especially since they named me most passionate delegate.
Dear Ms. Irene Khan,
My name is Laila Arafeh. In AMMUN, I represented the ambassador of Amnesty International (AI). I was well prepared, and I thought it was going to be a tough conference; however, it turned out to be the opposite. In HRC-B, most of the delegates did not research the issue and had no clauses to submit because they didn’t know what to talk about. Also, many delegates were going against their policy (By the way, Djibouti is a Muslim country). My placard was constantly in the air, and I argued a lot and convinced people to fail the clauses that were passed. In both HRC A and B, AI was one of the strongest delegations.
On our last day, we were supposed to have 2 complete Action Plans, but BBS had to leave early. By the time we left, the Action Plans were not yet fully complete (in commission B). Unfortunately, we also missed the closing ceremony.
This was definitely an incredible experience. To me, it was different from the other conferences. Instead of submitting a resolution, we had to propose clauses to form an action plan. I enjoyed the HRC more than the GA.