United Nations Security Council (UNSC)
The United Nations Security Council is one of the United Nation’s principal organs, and as such takes the lead in determining the existence of a threat to the peace or an act of aggression. It calls upon the parties to a dispute to settle it by peaceful means and recommends methods of adjustment or terms of settlement. Under the UN Charter, all Member States are obligated to comply with the Council’s decisions.
The Security Council consists of five permanent members and ten non-permanent member states. Observer states can be invited to the Council’s sessions.
For this edition of KULMUN we will look to confront the UNSC’s delegates with topics which are frequently overlooked and where perhaps the non-permanent members might have more influence over the final decision than the permanent ones.
Topic A: The question of establishing a Kurdish state – Worth the risk?
The Kurds are an ethnic minority who make up 17% of the population of Turkey and currently also occupy regions in Iraq, Syria and Iran, making up a total of 35 million people. The group’s longstanding wish for independence was recently made equivocally clear, when a referendum took place in Iraqi Kurdistan on September 25th 2017 showed 93% in favour of a separate state. What makes this specific conflict of special interest is the particular geopolitical position it takes place in: The Kurdish independence movement finds itself in the centre of the Middle East among multiple militarily strong countries, and the stakes for deterioration and aggravation are very high. At the same time – given the complicated and unstable situation several neighbouring states find themselves in – a stable Kurdish state could provide a much needed ally for the international community in fighting terrorism in the area, thereby significantly changing the scene of international politics.
While the Council has addressed the Kurdish minority in previous resolutions and statements, no solution has been found yet. The Security Council has been discussing the situation in the Middle East and the fight against terrorism more and more over the past few years, and since the Kurdish conflict directly influences both, its resolution is of high relevance for the committee.
Topic B: Myanmar: Pushing for progress, or a human rights mayhem?
When, in 2015, Myanmar held its first democratic elections after a 25-years period under an authoritarian regime, the overwhelming victory of Aung San Suu Kyi (a Nobel Peace Prize winner and political activist) was seen internationally as a bright new start for the country. However, despite the expectations for Myanmar to transition back to a democratic state, the newly formed government has failed to address several vital issues, with the gravest one being violence against minorities.
The ethnic minority groups in Myanmar have been fighting for over 70 years, a situation that constitutes one of the longest civil wars in history. They have almost no political and social rights, whereas the systematic violence against them has been compared to ethnic cleansing, even genocide. Some ethnic minorities have formed militarized factions, but the Myanmar military and civilian society have violently suppressed these upheavals with so-called “clearance operations”, in their hunt for what they name “extremist Muslim terrorists”.
The response of the international community has been deferring widely: While China and India strongly back Myanmar’s policy, the European Union is about to halt ties with senior Myanmar military chiefs as a sign of protest. At the same time, Muslim states demand that the UN discusses the human rights violations against religious minorities, whereas the U.S. maintains an ambiguous position on the issue.
With the stakes being this high, the outcome of negotiations can permanently change Myanmar as we know it: The Security Council finds itself in the forefront of a continuously escalating conflict, with high potential, both for advancing progress, as well as irreversible destruction.
Countries present during both topics
States switching between topics
|Iraq (Topic A) / India (B) * (Observer)|
Note: * indicates that the country is advised for experienced delegates.