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17 December 2013 Issue 1

The Air Force School Model United Nations Conference 2013

Over 25 of the representatives of various countries highlighted and often even directly condemned the sufferings. GENERAL ASSEMBLY OPED

The Palestinian muddle The refugees are not only refused entry, but also detained, tortured and brutally harassed, often resulting in physical and mental trauma or even death. 17 Dec 2013 | Surbhi Sachdev

Allies to the Rescue: Delegates of Russia and USA defending the cases of their allies Palestine and Israel respectively’


tarved of basic human rights, codified in the International Bill of Human Rights for decades now, the Palestinian citizens are stuck in this territorial muddle of a dispute. Their predicament not only renders it tedious for them to seek asylum, it has also made them foreigners in their very own country. Till date, about 5 million Palestinian civilians (as reported by the RWA) are even denied the Right to Return (a right codified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) to their own homeland, with special reference to the Gaza strip. The refugees are not only refused entry, but also detained, tortured and brutally harassed, often resulting in physical and mental trauma or even death. Though initially, it may seem that Israel is justified (as it so emphatically tried to convince other nations of the same) in their action as they have proposed and/or agreed to a two state treaty several times only to be received with downright denial from the Palestinian side, not to mention the violent clashes insinuated by Hamas, an organization classified as an NSA by Israel and several other countries including their strong ally USA.

But delving deeper into this conflict, it can easily be concluded that the lives of the innocent civilians should in absolutely no way be afflicted in this dispute. Despite this moral and humanitarian obligation, refugees continue to face severe shortages in rudimentary yet fundamental facets of everyday living like water, housing, finance, infrastructure, health and education. As the General Assembly IV further testifies this gross maltreatment, reflected likewise in the committee’s views, as over 25 of the representatives of various countries highlighted and often even directly condemned the sufferings caused almost wholly by the tyrannical Zionist regime of Israel, which was defended to a certain yet negligible extent by Israel along with a handful of other countries (mainly USA and Azerbaijan). Thus, there arises a dire need to help the Palestinians regain their rights and blockaded/restricted territory; ergo it is rightfully prioritized as it is a grave cause for concern. Further such developments are anticipated in the negotiation and debate that occurs in the forthcoming sessions of this General Assembly.

Mercenaries cannot be considered soldiers or supporting militias under international humanitarian law hrc

The world struggles to interpret the word mercenary The need for clarity in the interpretation of the term ‘mercenary’ takes centre stage in the discussions on 16 Dec 2013 | Vikrant Mehra


s the UN Human Rights Council concludes its first round of debates, the primary issue under discussion was the need for a clear and legally-binding definition of a ‘mercenary’ Currently, mercenaries exist in a legal limbo between civilians and combatants. They cannot be considered soldiers or supporting militias under international humanitarian law either, since they are not part of the army or in the chain of command. Neither can these individuals be considered as civilians, given that they often carry and use weapons, interrogate prisoners and fulfil other essential military functions. Developing a workable and balanced definition of a mercenary has thus far, presented a major challenge. Several suggestions have been put forward by delegates, including Article

47(c) of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions, 8 June 1977: A mercenary is any person who: (c) is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party’ ‘It remains to be seen how the interpretation of mercenaries and their use thereof pan out in the due round of deliberations.

“Countries spend a lot of lives and resources in research and development of Nuclear Resources” - Sweden unsc (historic)

Indo-Pak nuclear issue takes the centre stage

Destroying nuclear weapons is not the solution as it would not prevent war and recommended the committee to come up with different solutions.

6 Jun 1998 | Jatin Rawtani


t all started in 1947 when it was feared by the Pakistan that Maharaja of Jammu and Kasmir might accede to Indian as choice given to him on the matter to accede to any of the newly independent nations.

faced by the environment. The delegate of India again and again highlighted their nation’s policy of “no first use”, a pledge not to use nuclear weapons unless first attacked by an adversary using nuclear weapons.

And now here we fear a nuclear war. In the month of May, 1947 India detonated its first nuclear device (Pokhram-I) at Pokhram Test Range and then the Pokhram-II in 1998. Within half a month of Pokhram-II, on 28 May 1998 Pakistan detonated 5 nuclear devices (Chagai-I) to reciprocate India in the nuclear arms race. Two days later Pakistan detonated a 6th nuclear device (Chagai-II).

The delegates raised many topics like discussing the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan; The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT); Eradicating of Nuclear Weapons and their harmful effects.

The delegate of Sweden made a starting statement and said that “Countries spend a lot of lives and resources in research and development of Nuclear Resources”, this statement was questioned by a lot of other delegates as some did not agree to this. Several delegates agreed that nuclear weaponry should be banned but many arguments were also made about the consequences that will have to be

Many delegates agreed on the topic of eradicating of nuclear weapons but it was not agreed by all. While the other delegates argued that destroying nuclear weapons is not the solution as it would not prevent war and recommended the committee to come up with different solutions. Several countries pointed at as why India and Pakistan are have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty yet. As the tensions between the two nations are escalating the debates and the arguments are became more and interesting on one hand and tense on the other.


Palestine belongs to the people of Palestine: Iran BY Avikant Bhan Dec 17, 2013

imposition of the Palestinians and other Arabs. The problems faced by Palestinian refugees were also discussed. The numerous detentions and tortures along with the indiscriminate violence faced by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza had become the core of discussion, as the unrighteousness of the same was mutually recognized.

he United Nations General Assembly assembled today to dwell upon the situation largely centered around Palestine. The meeting had a number of countries who would all elucidate to others their views on the matter. Given the vast number of countries, it would seem eminent that a diverse array of opinions and thoughts would be presented – which did not turn out to be so.

The representative of Iran claimed that the area of Palestine belongs to the people of Palestine, and should be left in their control rather than Israeli. Attention was also brought to Israeli policies regarding food security and other subjects, and blockades established by Israel were debated – the latter of which made the United Nations unviable to the people within the blockade according to the representative. This was concurred by other representatives, as were other matters. But, surprisingly, the representative of the USA believed the Gaza blockade’s maintenance by Israel was completely justified.

The GA sitting debated the “Rights of Palestinians and Other Arabs in Occupied Territories”. Various countries extended their support to Palestine regarding this issue, elaborating on the unjust

With similarity in the thinking of the representatives, and the information presented by them pertained to broadly the same pattern, the meeting today went without many conflicts.



PMCs require regulation, not outright abolition BY Shruti Mishra Dec 17, 2013

National militaries are mostly seen as sacrosanct, and Private Military Contractors habitually portrayed as the villains in modern warfare. But what needs to be acknowledged is that the very concept of PMCs as a whole is not a threat, or essentially flawed.

cutting defence spending while maintaining defence standards. The U.S. is now dependent upon contractors, and the UK seems to be heading in this direction.

Over the past decade the scale and scope of Private Military Contractor activity have both expanded to an unprecedented As pointed out by numerous extent. In such a scenario, while cogent speakers in the HRC witnessing intense debates today, the only existing lacuna and deliberations about the is the lack of substantial responsibilities of PMCs, the restrictions on them. In fact it is onlookers were compelled to felt that PMCs play a vital and wonder whether the existing valuable role in making armies problems are inherent in the more flexible and streamlined, if private security industry or properly used by governments. rather a matter of inadequate Privatization of defence oversight on the part of departments through contracting the client. The institutional is a legitimate complement to regulatory frameworks covering national militaries. However, public armed forces generally defence departments need to do not apply to PMCs and reform the way in which they sociological regulation is largely deal with contractors, and dysfunctional; and thus there is clear the various ambiguities in a grave need for stricter PMC their agreements. With better regulation by export licensing and international oversight, competitive bidding, systems and clearer legislation, these human rights law. apolitical PMCs can facilitate in Before forming opinions, one

must also not overlook the fact that the work of PMCs is not solely restricted to military technology and equipment. It also includes support services, training, risk management and political analysis. Views on the role of specialists of violence in politics differ as profoundly as do the institutional context and history of civil-military relations. Moreover, the multiplicity of arenas, actors and issues defy simple common blueprint solutions. What certainly cannot be denied though is that there have been problems with the performance of some security contractors over the past decade, and it would be foolish to ignore these. It would be equally foolish, however, to condemn private security, close one’s eyes, and hope that contractors merely go away. PMCs have the flexibility, competency, manpower, and potential for cost-effectiveness that the military currently lacks. The military needs them.


Inaugural session of the United Nations Security Council BY Natasha Gupta jun 6, 1998

The inaugural session of the United Nations Security Council was brimming with excitement, zest and vigour. The agenda that was addressed by this committee was the engrossing issue of nuclear proliferation in South Asia. The countries unanimously agreed to discuss the effectiveness of a nuclear war-free zone. Several valid arguments were made by the delegates of USA, Portugal, Iran and France, but those did not seem to make a substantial amount of difference as they were left dangling midway due to time constrictions. Though, restriction of the clock did not stop the delegates to put forth accurate facts. The committee, as an entity, was very wellresearched and presented precise statistics with great alacrity. Conversely, diplomats at many occasions deviated from the topic of discussion. Time and again countries debated about everything under the sun but the implications of a nuclear weapon free region. The atmosphere of the committee was a splitting image of that of an actual United Nations

conference. Every delegate had a spark of zeal in her eye and was driven to carve a solution for a predicament which has caused a global upheaval.

Fight for a facilitated future 16 Dec, 1980 | Pranit Chawla


olitics, standing firm through despicable circumstances have proved to hinder fruitful and prolific deliberations time and again. The agenda of vote bank politics has casted a shadow so dark that the basic rights of the repressed section seem to be lost in the obscurity of power, greed and corruption. This age old custom could finally be looking towards a silver lining with the Mandal commission’s playbook focusing on the holistic upbringing of the backward classes rather than tangling into congressional foreplay. Amidst the opening statements, Shri K. Subramanian was reported saying “the greater goal is to bring

the backward classes forward with the other classes”. With the discussions moving along steadily, the chairperson of the committee, B.P Mandal clarified the committee’s stance on politics and reservation. He said “no political party will be allowed to take credit for the solutions passed in commission.” The incumbent Prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi also facilitated discussions by drawing a line between her party’s rallying systems and the laws passed for social and economic welfare. The definition of a socially backward society was relentlessly modified. The majority reached to a consensus of using fiscal rather than public

factors as the roots for segregating people. However, one of the key issues which the members failed to discuss on the premier day was the educational facilities for the under privileged. Education acts a bridge between unemployment and occupation. Knowledge not only liberates the mind, but it validates the comprehension of the basic amenities provided by the government to each citizen. If the members can promptly shed light on the previous mentioned issue, the economically backward classes can truly hope for a significant improvement in their quality for life, which they have always conjectured.

Time for Change: Deliberations On To Save the Economy 24 Oct 1990 | Vardaan Aggarwal


he atmosphere in the Cabinet Meeting called by Prime Minister VP Singh was pregnant with hope for change. Quite a few solutions were put forward, and all were hotly debated.

development. One of the main points raised during the Meeting was the effect of the Gulf War Crisis on the Indian economy. India has been largely dependent on Iran for its crude oil supplies, but the drop in supplies due to the Gulf Crisis has led to an astronomical increase in oil prices in the country. This, in turn, has adversely impacted the transportation costs; ergo, the prices of food commodities have skyrocketed, i.e., inflation, leaving the economy in a shambles.

The Ministers pointed out, inter alia, the glaring lack of foreign exchange in the economy. Almost all Ministers, with the exception of some, advocated liberalisation of the economy. It was suggested that the Indian economy be now opened up, and free imports be allowed so as to create a favourable environment for economic It was observed that

one of the major steps that the Government should take to put the economy on the road to recovery is to increase exports. To increase exports, however, the demand for Indian made products will have to stimulate. The most effective way to do this, of course, would be through devaluation of the currency as buyers in the global market will be able to obtain Indian products at a much lower price. But just as pros do not exist without cons, this seemingly efficient solution, too, does come with some disadvantages: devaluation will make imports more

expensive, and as has been pointed out earlier, India barely has resources to fund further imports. However, while devaluation will indeed prove to be beneficial for the domestic producers/ manufacturers, the common consumer will suffer. The producers, as they are better and more organised, will naturally have a larger say in the matter. But it is up to the Government to ensure that in the process of ameliorating the economy, it does not ignore the voices and concerns of the common man.

TAFS MUN Issue 1  
TAFS MUN Issue 1  

Al Jajeera | Reuters. Issue 1 of The Air Force School MUN 2013 Designer: Paritosh Anand