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Frday, 7 June, 2013

TORCH Issue No. 3 & 4

TORCH AN SMUN 2013 PUBLICATION

HIGHLIGHTS Foreword by USG (Publications) and PSSOC Publication Director Committees solve crisis, moves on to respective issues Committees adjourn for the last time as SMUN2013 ends

NUS Political Science Society


FOREWORD

Friday, 7 June, 2013

TORCH Issue No. 3 & 4

Dear Delegates: Throughout the four days of committee sessions and intense debates where you were trying to solve various crises around the world, your actions and efforts did not go unnoticed. Often in the quiet corners of the conference rooms, the SMUN 2013 Press Corps silently and (somewhat) stealthily noted down your attempts and achievements at resolving global issues. From hilarious analogies (“One milkshake will bring all the Iraqis to the yard.�) to the anxious counting of votes to pass a resolution, our writers were there to record it all. With the final, jumbo release of Torch - Issues 3 & 4 bundled together, it is our hope that although SMUN 2013 has ended, you will still be able relieve some of the more memorable aspects of the conference, be it working hard with your fellow delegates to solve some of the most pressing problems the world faces today or rocking it out (and doing splits) on the dance floor during social night. At this point in time, we would like to extend to our thanks to the Secretary-General and the Secretariat, with special thanks to the Chairs for their kind assistance to the Press Corps, by filling them in if they had missed a particularly juicy or important event. Of course, none of this would even be remotely possible without the efforts and contributions of our team of writers: Colin Seow Heng Guang Lur Joan Marie Agustin Ritika Mohapatra Valerie Lim Zhai Yi Qi With this, we bid you a fond farewell and wish all of you the very best in your future endeavors!

Felicia Wong Under-Secretary-General (Publications) Celestine Lian PSSOC Publications Director 2


Thursday, 6 June, 2013

ICJ

TORCH Issue No. 3

Rebuttals continue while drone debate remains unresolved By Zhai Yi Qi

T

he International Court of Justice continued its third day of SMUN 2013 with advocates from Pakistan and the United States still locked in a heated debate, finding weaknesses in each other’s arguments and supporting their stance in the issue regarding the use of drones in the anti-terrorism campaign. The first session started with two witnesses from Pakistan and the United States. The Pakistan side claimed that civilian fatalities were callous and should be avoided, while the side for USA emphasized the efficiency of the drone strikes in targeting and eliminating terrorist threat and minimizing civilian injuries. Shortly after, the first two rounds of rebuttals heated up the already intense discussion further. Four advocates defended their sides and bravely confronted various tough questions from the judges. The advocates for the United States asserted that the usage of drones did a better job at minimizing civilian fatalities than alternative military strategies. However, the Pakistani advocates maintained that the United States was unable to prove empirically exactly how better technology could minimize civilian casualties and thus, could not justify their usage of drones. Returning from their lunch break, judges and advocates were refreshed and prepared for the next round - the last round of rebuttals. After the advocates from Pakistan and the United States presented their final thoughts, they were invited leave the conference room while the judges held a discussion inside and shared their opinions with each other. At the end of the committee session, every judge gave a sixminute speech to show their support for either Pakistan or the United States - some questioned the validity of evidence and reliability of witnesses presented, while others chose to

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ICJ

Thursday, 6 June, 2013

TORCH Issue No. 3

rely on international laws to make their decisions. They will choose their sides tomorrow and the court will finally make their last decision on the drone campaign.

International Court of Justice judges presenting their opinions after the rebuttals

ICJ SOUND BITES: Judge: Hello, everyone! President: Fellow judges. Judge: Oh, sory, hello, fellow judges. ----Perhaps due to excitement, one of the counselors for United States always forgot to sit down after he finished his speech. He remained standing up even when his opponents began their speech. The other (calmer) counselor for USA resorted to force to remind his partner to sit through a pat (or push) on the back. 4


Thursday, 6 June, 2013

WFP

TORCH Issue No. 3

Resolution to crisis in Syria, a bright outlook for WFP By Heng Guang Lur

T

he third day of the WFP council started off in a sombre mood, with the impending deadline of 12 noon hanging over their heads. Indonesia described the crisis as “a humanitarian catastrophe”, and expressed his view that the best way to provide aid was to collaborate with the current Syrian regime. The United States articulated his concern at the potential aggressiveness of the rebel government, as well as the potential risk that faced any form of aid going into Syrian territory. Iraq urged the council “not to listen to these devil Yankees”, and came up with ideas to provide aid to Syria, such as opening up its borders to allow the passage of aid. Brazil supported the plan brought forward by Iraq and Indonesia to provide aid, and proposed to commit supplies to Non-Governmental Organisations such as World Vision. Discussions were interrupted by a news report carrying updates regarding the status of refugees currently residing in Turkish refugee camps. The Turkish government was clamping down on refugees in order to weed out insurgents from the previous Assad regime, thus preventing aid from reaching the camps. This latest new release caused distress amongst some delegates, causing Brazil to remark, “Just blow Turkey up, and go in!” Further news filtered through, informing the delegates of Turkey’s willingness to open up Turkish airspace to the forces of the United States. The United States, South Africa, Brazil, and the United Kingdom urged delegates to set aside their individual political inclinations, and come to a compromise for the sake of the Syrian refugees. Delegates came to a consensus that the provision of aid should be regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation. An agreement was arrived upon, to utilize neutral states with help in the provision of food aid and employing the assistance of non-government organizations (NGOs) and

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WFP

TORCH Issue No. 3

nations with warm diplomatic ties with the current Syrian government to provide aid. The first working paper was promptly submitted after much discussion. A draft resolution was then crafted out of the working paper, and a vote was cast to pass the draft resolution. All delegates voted in favour of the resolution, and the resolution was passed with two minutes before the deadline.

“a mini-skirt, short but sweet, and covers the important bits.” - delegate of USA, on the revised working paper

Delegates then got down to amending the submitted resolution for biofuels, after the original resolution passed was deemed unsatisfactory by the Chairs. Numerous topics that went neglected during the original discussions were raised, including environmental issues, which were dismissed as a minor detail during the original discussions. The council faced a loss of personnel, as Russia had to leave midway through the session, but showed camaraderie with a round of applause to indicate their support for her. Delegates expressed their delight with the amended working paper, with numerous analogies being thrown about to describe their work. The United States likened the revised working paper to a “mini-skirt, short but sweet, and covers the important bits”. Colombia referred to the working paper as a “pineapple, hurts when you sit on it, but it has a lot of good points”. Jumping on the bandwagon, Iraq went one step further, describing it being “just like SMUN, well-planned and allrounded, holistic and beneficial for all parties”. The general feeling of the council was summed up with a statement from the delegate from Indonesia, claiming that their work was “awesome and handsome, just like this delegate.” After numerous edits, working paper 2.3 was finally introduced as the final edit, which marked ‘significant progresses’ from the original. The council then broke off into an informal mood, as they embarked on the superlatives session. In a stunning turn of events, the male delegate from Indonesia was nominated and voted for, with a 100% vote, for Miss WFP 2013. He will be accompanied by the delegate from South Africa, who was voted as Mr WFP 2013. The delegate from China was nominated as the ‘Delegate

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WFP

on Fire’, which ran without any opposition, while the title of ‘Cutest Delegate’ went to the delegate from Brazil, while the delegate from the United States won the title of ‘Most Power-Hungry Delegate’, apparently due to his insatiable hunger on both the council floor, and on the dinner table. The representative from South Africa charmed the council with a charismatic rendition of ‘I’m Too Sexy’ from by British pop trio Right Said Fred, winning the vote for ‘Sexiest Voice’, while the American delegate attempted to sway the votes in his favour with this cheeky remark,” If you have an issue, I’d love to be your resolution!” Needless to say, this remark drew audible groans from the council. In an alleged abuse of power from the Undersecretaries, Chairs of WFP, Xinyuan and Derek, were voted as the ‘Best Couple’. Indonesia beat out all other contenders for the title of ‘Class Clown’, while the final category, ‘Celebrity Lookalike’ went to the Malaysian delegate for his uncanny likeness to singer-songwriter Bruno Mars.

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TORCH Issue No. 3


SOCHUM

Thursday, 6 June, 2013

TORCH Issue No. 3

... and a resolution was thus passed! By Ritika Mohapatra

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ay three of SMUN 2013 had all the delegates of SOCHUM at their anxious best. The clock was ticking and a deadline of 12 P.M. had to be met for the resolution on the Syrian crisis to be passed. As the Secretary General arrived at periodic intervals with updates about new developments, a.k.a, making life harder for the delegates, they couldn’t help singing to themselves, “I knew you were trouble when you walked in” by Taylor Swift. The discussion began with a rather unproductive first hour with countries finding it tough to focus on only the humanitarian aspects of the problem at hand, given the intricate nature of the relations between the responsibilities and purview of the committees of the UN. The delegates were yet again divided on the choice between military intervention and sending financial aid, with Brazil and the U.S. in favour of the former and countries of China, Singapore, Switzerland, Greece, Russia and UAE considering tactful diplomacy as the most feasible solution and using intervention as a last resort. At this juncture, the chairs had to remind the delegates that these issues are out of the scope of discussion and decisions to be carried out by SOCHUM. Focus has to be maintained on human rights atrocities, fleeing refugees and their safety. Under considerable pressure from the chairs, who intervened as and when necessary, the delegates worked cooperatively towards coming up with a resolution containing more operative clauses, remembering that crisis had by then reached extreme proportions and that there are people being beheaded on the streets. Immediate response to the thenrecent developments of increasing number of cultural and religious persecutions was called for. It was understood that a respectable and legitimate committee is the natural result of passing a respectable resolution.

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With renewed zest, the committee finally made amendments to and voted in favour of a resolution focusing on refugee settlements and humanitarian aid, drafted by the delegates of India, Argentina, supported by Brazil, UAE and China, and all the other countries. And then, of course, it’s party time as the delegates moved on to prepare for the social event!

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TORCH Issue No. 3

“I knew you were trouble when you walked in” SOCHUM delegates on SecretaryGeneral entrances


UNSC

Thursday, 6 June, 2013

TORCH Issue No. 3

The UNSC tackles a Hollywood crisis and travels back in time By Valerie Lim

T

ime was running out for the Security Council, as they faced the escalation of the Syrian crisis. Before the council could even reach a consensus on the most appropriate approach to tackle the crisis, further developments occurred which rendered previous solutions irrelevant. As if straight out of a Hollywood film, while the Iranian military had entered Syrian territory under an agreement with the New Islamic Republic of Syria (NIRS) to facilitate Syrian security, it instead besieged the capital of Damascus and called the NIRS to surrender unconditionally. Furthermore, the Syrian military had sided with the Iranians. Time was not on the side of the Council that was visibly caught off guard. With Syria in need of urgent assistance as the violence and the humanitarian crisis only continued to worsen, the council was divided and unable to take any decisive action. Appealing for calm and caution among the council, the delegate of China urged, “this is the year 2013, not 1940 when we talked with our weapons,” exhorting the Council to look towards a peaceful solution rather than one involving military intervention.

“This is the year 2013, not 1940 when we talked with our weapons” - delegate of China

The crisis further escalated as President Barrack Obama, backed by the US Congress, launched a counter-attack against the Iranian forces. UN Military experts have identified the actions of the US as preliminary and delaying actions as they start to mobilise their forces for war. Further, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have opened their air space to all American forces. Matters seemingly got out of hand as war was imminent and situations have evolved so rapidly that working papers and resolutions crafted by the delegates were repeatedly rendered redundant. The clock was ticking and the atmosphere in the room grew increasingly tense as the UNSC realised the urgency of the crisis and the need to act quickly and decisively. The chair warned that “World War III will start” if the Council could not get their act together.

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Thursday, 6 June, 2013

UNSC

TORCH Issue No. 3

The UNSC is shown the effects of war as seen through the eyes of Syrian civilians

Understanding the need to consider the interests of all five veto-wielding permanent members, the French delegation introduced draft resolution 3.1, which calls for the establishment of the United Nations International Force in Syria (UNIFIS). This has the objective of removing the NIRS and Iranian forces from Syria and subsequently, establishing a transitional government. The UNIFIS will also be involved in maintaining national stability to better facilitate aid and reconstruction efforts within Syria. Further, the draft resolution limits the scope of the current and subsequent US operations. Right at the stroke of eleven, the UNSC finally reached a consensus and passed draft resolution 3.1. Applause was in order for the first time since the conference began. The UNSC reconvened with the rare opportunity to travel back in time and reconsider the steps that the council would have take before the Crisis occurred. Bashar al-Assad magically revives in a world that the NIRS does not exist. Having understood how rapid developments could occur, the UNSC wasted no time and began the debates on the scope of the Syrian crisis that required the UNSC’s critical attention. The intensity of disputes peaked towards the end of the third day, as the frustrations of real world politics began to take a toll on the delegates after three days of committee sessions. Exasperation soared to such a degree that a delegate even

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“World War III will start” - UNSC Chair


Thursday, 6 June, 2013

UNSC

TORCH Issue No. 3

got down on his knee to negiotiate with another delegate during an unmoderated cacus. Throughout the course of the day, three working papers and two draft resolutions were introduced. Did the council gain the benefit of hindsight and learn from the experience of the crisis or will they return to business as usual? Only time, and perhaps a Kathryn Bigelow film, will tell.

Venezuelan delgate seen kneeling before the delegate of UK during an unmoderated caucus

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Thursday, 6 June, 2013

WHO

TORCH Issue No. 3

WHO passes resolutions despite numerous amendments By Colin Seow

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ay 3 of the World Health Organization committee sessions kicked off with urges to decontaminate the crisis zone. Delegates passionately emphasized the severity of the situation and called for prompt action and aid from developed countries. Concerns were raised regarding sending personnel into such a volatile situation and delegates were also asked to respect religious sensitivities. Towards the zero hour, multiple amendments were submitted in an effort to push for maximum protection and coverage of various groups of peoples involved. Ten minutes before the deadline, the crisis resolution was finally passed, bringing a slew of recommendations to help contain and treat the spread of anthrax. A round of applause ensued, leaving the delegates in no mood to immediately proceed on to the previous agenda of finalizing a resolution concerning sexual and reproductive health, happily amended the timing of lunch. After the lunch break, the council resumed with a debate over the clauses included in the resolution submitted by India. Unfortunately, the council could not come to agreement and the resolution was not passed. However, in a surprise turnaround, it was revealed that a miscount of votes had taken place and the resolution had indeed passed. The council resumed with a draft resolution submitted by the delegate from Sweden. Heavily concerned with the management of the AIDS, with attention also given to issues of gender equality and standard of healthcare as playing parts in helping to resolve the issues pertaining to sexual and reproductive health. Much debate surrounded that of the issue of abortion. Various delegates felt that the resolution seemed to take on both sides of the ‘to-have’ or ‘not-to-have’ of the abortion question. Far too many amendments were submitted and the

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Various delegates felt that the resolution seemed to take on both sides of the ‘to-have’ or ‘not-to-have’ of the abortion question.

WHO

TORCH Issue No. 3

council voted to stay from voting on the resolution that would give the delegates of Sweden and the co-submitters another opportunity to submit a resolution with amendments already made. With that, the committee sessions came to a close for the day and delegates proceeded onto the superlatives sessions, where hilarity ensued as the committee voted on their delegates for Mr and Miss SMUN 2013.

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Thursday, 6 June, 2013

UNESCO

TORCH Issue No. 3

Goats bleating and Taylor Swift’s singing: Secretary-General and USG Academics pay an extended visit to UNESCO By Agustin Joan Marie

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he morning of the third day at UNESCO was a hectic one, with delegates continuing the debate on the crisis in Syria. Despite reminders from the Chairs to keep in mind that UNESCO’s purview was specifically on the, as its name suggests - educational, scientific and cultural sides of the crisis - most delegates continued to digress from the essence of the issue UNESCO had to evaluate. Afghanistan had to kindly remind the other delegates again, “military and economic sanctions are not under the purview of UNESCO.” A draft resolution came to fruition from the discussions and the committee finally managed to have some constructive debate that would aid their solving of the crisis. At 11:45PM, with only 15 minutes left to the deadline, delegates were in a frenzy as amendments had just been introduced and thus not yet discussed, prompting a very quick discussion. This was quickly followed with direct voting procedure on the draft resolution. With only 5 minutes left on the clock, Chair Ingmar Salim and Assistant Chair Arjun Mulloth, increased the pressure on the delegates when they had to do a recount as the votes did not tally. However, the vote was unanimous, with 24 for, 0 against and 0 abstentions. UNESCO has solved the crisis! Everyone seemed to be in a celebratory mood and because he was feeling generous, Chair Ingmar Salim granted an extra 15 minutes for lunch to the committee. Obviously 75 minutes for lunch was too long for UNESCO, lunch time conversation topics included rugby being described as a sport with “20 guys rubbing against each other” and terms such as “big dick mentality” and “alpha male mentality” floating around.

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Thursday, 6 June, 2013

“That is not in the spirit of the United Nations. Go back to basics ...” - USG (Academics) on her disappointment in UNESCO delegates

UNESCO

TORCH Issue No. 3

In spite of, or perhaps, because of, the extended lunch period, UNESCO found themselves in their most unprogressive state in the committee session. The committee struggled with defining the scope they would address in the issue – censorship of classified information or the lack of access to declassified information by the public, particularly seen in LEDCs. Afghanistan argued, “rather than the policing of information which is every nation’s sovereign right, it should be about making information more accessible to those who live in rural areas and are poor.” He added, “It is not about the classified information. Some people cannot even access basic information due to social, economic, and even, geographic factors.” Secretary-General, Athena Michael, who had been in the room since the debate regarding freedom of information started, took this as an opportunity to put the committee on the right track. “Why Wikileaks,” urges Athena, “is that it is not centered on a single person. Sensitive governmental information did not just affect one country; it also affected other countries. The issue is borderless, it goes beyond just any single national government.” Encouraging them, she also said, “the nature of this topic is rather ambiguous, which is something you can appreciate.” However, the encouragement proved futile as the committee continued to banter over topics that had not led to a conclusive scope of the issue.

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This press corps is unsure as how it got to this but at some point, Haiti asserted, “LEDCs are not given authority in any form,” urging fellow LEDCs to form an alliance. He continued, “LEDCs have been going through so many problems but they are never given any voice in any organization.” Fellow LEDC, Afghanistan, in a bid to bring the delegate of Haiti’s head out of his ass, “There is already an organization that allows LEDCs to have a voice, and that is (cue dramatic pause) the UN.” In spite of this, Haiti remained adamant. When asked if he would like to entertain the multiple points of information on the floor, he merely went, “Erm … No.” The digression prompted delegates of Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan to quickly start debate on the draft resolution. Meanwhile, if you listened close enough, you would have heard goat bleating and Taylor Swift’s singing in the distance, (this press corps would like to assert that this is not literal) as they beaconed the Secretary-General about to speak, “I took a look at the draft resolution, and there’s a reason why I introduced it. It’s to tear it apart. … You should set the parameters right before you even discuss such things. Definition. Semantics.”

TORCH Issue No. 3

“I took a look at the draft resolution, and there’s a reason why I introduced it. It’s to tear it apart.” - SecretaryGeneral on a draft resolution for freedom of information

Under-Secretary-General of Academics, Cherylyn Wee also expressed her disappointment, “It was actually extremely disappointing when none of you were taking down notes when the Secretary-General was speaking about why your resolution sucks. That is not in the spirit of the United Nations. Go back to basics before you even try to come up with another draft resolution.”

UNESCO SOUND BITES: France (POI to China): What do you have to say about Tiananmen Square? Saudi Arabia: This delegate would like to remind everyone that representatives are here for their own national interest. Secretary-General: Pre-emptive clauses are nothing but ‘wayang’. They’re just there to make the draft resolution look nice. 17


Thursday, 6 June, 2013

“If we close this moderated caucus, what will be the next step?” Assistant Chair, Arjun Mulloth

UNESCO

TORCH Issue No. 3

However, another moderated caucus merely ended up in silence and prompted a motion to close it. Assistant Chair, Arjun Mulloth, reminded, “The delegates have had a bunch of moderated caucuses. We have just been going back and forth and we have not achieved anything fruitful. If we close this moderated caucus, what will be the next step?” In an unprecedented move, the Chairs allowed the committee to have an unmoderated caucus till the end of the session. The delegates decided to split up, since with only half an hour left that day, 3 hours left the next morning and absolutely nothing constructive, it was imperative that they worked quickly.The committee session ended with France motioning for a moderated caucus for suggestions regarding the topics discussed during the unmoderated caucus, seeing as the delegates lacked initiative in speaking up. In spite of all this, UNESCO ended on a light note with the all-important superlatives, Mr. and Ms. UNESCO. Interestingly enough, nominees for the respective titles, Afghanistan and Algeria, both asked if it were possible to abstain from voting. The delegate of Saudi Arabia was unsurprisingly very popular for the title of Mr. UNESCO, winning by an overwhelming majority. He ended his acceptance speech with, “Ladies, if you want a free trip to Saudi Arabia, you know who to call.” Meanwhile, the delegate of India chose the coy route and went with, “What? Seriously? Ok, I’m honoured. Thank you.”

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DAY 4 of SMUN 2013


WHO

Friday, 7 June, 2013

TORCH Issue No. 4

Surprise crisis on last day of council draws dramatic reactions By Colin Seow

T

he last day of the proceedings kicked off with Sweden presenting a second resolution. It was seen as a significant improvement from the resolution submitted earlier. While there was debate over abortion and aid, fewer delegates had issues with the resolution and after a few amendments, the resolution passed at 11.40 a.m. Shortly after, the delegates were made aware that a plane carrying a confirmed case of MERS-CoV, with the passenger from Saudi Arabia. Initial suggestions were explosive. Delegates appeared to wield limitless power, with many seemingly moonlighting as army chiefs. Various delegates were in favour of using nuclear weapons to destroy the plane. Lebanon urged delegates to conserve their resources by pledging Syrian rebels as well as suicide bombers, though it remained to be seen how such volatile goods could be obtained and transported. Only Netherlands appeared to offer sensible measures over the tracing and surveillance of cases. Delegates from Australia and Sweden appeared to see the situation as an opportunity to wage war.

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WHO

Sweden was adamant about sending the plane into China, and suggested repainting it to disguise the identity of the plane. This offended the Chinese delegate, who instead offered the use of the masses in China to destroy the airport. Australia then vowed to destroy entire nations with MERSCoV through the use of nuclear weapons that it did not possess. A resolution was later submitted, in which a visibly angered United States announced a plan to raise an army of kangaroos and koalas to invade Saudi Arabia. Such a lofty plan seemed unlikely to be carried out, as Australia did not consent to the use of these animals and the fact that kangaroos are usually road kill in Australia did not support their potential as future destroyers of the Saudi Kingdom. Despite this, the resolution passed and council adjourned for the last time. -------------------------------------------------------------------------Overall Awards Best position paper: Italy, UAE Diplomacy Awards: India, Indonesia

As voted in by the committee Mr WHO: Saudi Arabia Ms WHO: Lebanon Most ~*fabulous*~ delegate: Italy Best Bromance: China and Uganda

As lovingly bestowed by the chairs Most in favor: Resolution 1.2 (India) Best position paper on subtopic: Burkina Faso (FGM), Russia (HIV/Aids) Most comprehensive position paper: Switzerland Honorable Mention for position paper: Haiti, UK Most improved delegate: Lebanon Best improvement in formatting: Indonesia Most sustainable delegate: Australia Most amendments: Sweden Sleeping giant: USA Double lives: India, Lebanon, Russia Impressive newcomers: Bahrain, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mexico, Zimbabwe

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TORCH Issue No. 4

Delegates appeared to wield limitless power, with many seemingly moonlighting as army chiefs.


UNSC

Friday, 7 June, 2013

TORCH Issue No. 4

The UNSC passes a resolution — but it is merely feet-dragging? By Valerie Lim

T

he last day of SMUN saw the United Nations Security Council continue to debate over the two draft resolutions proposed the previous day. The French Republic, in opposition to the draft resolution 2.1 introduced by the Russian Federation, deemed the resolution as “nothing more than a license to commit genocide”. Many members of the council including the USA, the State of Israel, the Arab Republic of Egypt and Turkey were equally disturbed by such a draft resolution; they were concerned that “the operative clauses do not have any enforcement mechanism” and that only “half-hearted sanctions” would be imposed. They further criticised the resolution for waiting till 2014 to hold elections, thereby effectively prolonging the problem while allowing the current government to continue its massacre on its citizens. The delegate of Turkey succinctly described draft resolution 2.1 as “[stating] facts but [proposing] inaction”.

“[states] facts but [proposes] inaction” - the delegate of Turkey on draft resolution 2.1 introduced by Russia

Instead, draft resolution 2.2 proposed by Turkey was an attempt to reach a compromise yet ensures necessary measures such as Assad’s resignation while the incumbent government remains largely intact. The Venezuelan delegation, in their introduction of working paper 2.4, pointed out that the key contention among the council is Assad’s stepdown. While Venezuela, China and Russia held that his stepdown was an unnecessary precondition to peace talks, other members of the council including France, Turkey and Israel maintained that his resignation would be necessary to ensure political stability. Working paper 2.5 introduced by the USA tried to bridge this divide among the council by putting together both solutions. The USA proposed first holding peace dialogues between the opposing forces in Syria aided by Russian leverage on Assad and the Western bloc leverage on the Syrian National Council (SNC). If peace talks fail, Assad would be forced to step down and a transitional government will be established before

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UNSC

free elections are held. However, the Russian delegation refused such a compromise and insisted that Assad’s step down is still unnecessary and further introduced working paper 2.5 to show that the oppositional forces would not cooperate with the government even if Assad resigns. As the day draws to a close and debates intensified, the council was nowhere near reaching a consensus on the actions to take should peace talks fail. In desperation, the Security Council decided to focus the resolution on what was widely agreed on, while postponing any strong measures till a later date, allowing for the adoption of draft resolution 2.2. The resolution calls for the cessation of all hostilities within Syria with the implementation of a ceasefire coupled with a multilateral peace conference to discuss a peaceful resolution to the conflict. However, in the event that this fails, the UNSC will be back at square one.

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TORCH Issue No. 4

“nothing more than a license to commit genocide� - the delegate of France on draft resolution 2.1 introduced by Russia


UNESCO

Friday, 7 June, 2013

TORCH Issue No. 4

UNESCO wraps up freedom of information discussions; Chairs be snatching wigs

By Agustin Joan Marie

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he social event the night before may have been a welcome respite, but Day 4 marked the last day of SMUN 2013 and the last committee session was in session. With the words from the Secretary-General and Under-SecretaryGeneral still ringing in their ears, UNESCO got the ball rolling with a second draft resolution for the topic of freedom of information introduced and submitted by Algeria, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. One of the major causes of contention was clause 6, a recommendation for countries to take extra measures in securing classified information and discourage the publishing of such information through any form of media. India considered the suggestion for harsher laws to be enforced (clause 6B) as a limitation to the freedom of information. At the same time, Haiti, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe also questioned as to how clause 6A – a call to upgrade security for information storage – would be implemented since LEDCs such as themselves lacked funds to improve even their own infrastructure. Haiti took offence at such a proposal and deemed Saudi Arabia as “very selfish”. The debates became quite heated as the committee became divided on clause 6, prompting an unmoderated caucus in order to thrash out the issues they had with the aforementioned clause and anything else in the draft resolution. Eventually, amendments were proposed for 3 clauses in the draft resolution. However, Haiti and Ethiopia remained concerned, even with the proposed amendments. China and USA expressed their support for the amendments, while Russia did not endorse that NGOs enter countries, or at least not her own. Ethiopia asserted that clause 6B would infringe on the national sovereignty of countries involved, but Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia stood by their amended clause.

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UNESCO

Haiti was frustrated when Afghanistan was not supporting his stance as a fellow LEDC, rather it was supporting an MEDC like Saudi. Afghanistan was insulted by Haiti’s claim, as despite being an LEDC, it did not mean that he had to follow Haiti’s stance. “This delegate respects Afghanistan’s dream, but not all dreams come true,” Haiti replies. In spite of the fiery discussions, all 3 amendments passed. Although some delegates may be unhappy, they are resigned to accept the amendments. In a roll-call vote initiated by the Chairs, who “wanted [delegates] to experience it”, the resolution for the topic of freedom of information passed with 18 for, 3 against and 3 abstentions. This marked the end of UNESCO’s formal committee sessions and allowed the committee to go onto the fun stuff – the superlatives session.

TORCH Issue No. 4

“This delegate respects Afghanistan’s dream, but not all dreams come true” - the delegate of Haiti on Afghanistan supporting Saudi Arabia

UNESCO SOUND BITES: Saudi Arabia: The delegate of Saudi Arabia would like to remind the delegate of USA that she is the delegate of USA, and not the delegate of Singapore,” in response to USA citing strict laws on media censorship in Singapore as a reason agaist tightening of libel laws (clause 6B). Chair: Best dressed — we have 4 nominations ... Anyone else? *Chair Ingmar Salim: points to himself* 25


Friday, 7 June, 2013

UNESCO

TORCH Issue No. 4

In no particular order:

Haiti being most likely to be a closet Justin Bieber fan may or may not have resulted in him being the delegate who ought to be shot, with an overwhelming majority ‘for’.

Chair who ‘bangs too hard’: Ingmar Salim Delegate who ought to be shot: Haiti Sexiest male delegate: Arjun Mulloth Sexiest female delegate: Cheryl Ko Slackest delegate: Pakistan Delegate who represents the mafia: Vietnam Delegate most likely to start a war: USA Delegate most likely to starve: Zimbabwe Delegate least representative of his/her country’s position: Mali Best dressed (female): France Best dressed (male): Ingmar Salim Least gender representative delegate (female): Vietnam Least gender representative delegate (male): Saudi Arabia Quietest delegate: Macedonia Delegate most likely to be a dictator: USA Delegate most likely to be a closet Justin Bieber fan: Haiti Delegate most likely to be a tree hugger: Cheryl Ko Most destructive delegate: Vietnam

This press corps reckoned that Haiti being most likely to be a closet Justin Bieber fan may or may not have resulted in him being the delegate who ought to be shot, with an overwhelming majority ‘for’. In spite of her lack of presence on the floor during committee sessions, Vietnam managed to get a few awards, which perhaps implies a skill for backhanded dealings. Unfortunately, for the most exciting awards, the chairs seemed to have snatched the wigs of their delegates, snagging the titles of sexiest male delegate, sexiest female delegate and best dressed male; especially with Assistant Chair Cheryl Ko’s resounding win and all other nominees disqualified. This press corps found this slightly suspicious and after some probing, Chair Ingmar Salim admitted, “Because I said so. I am the law.”

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Friday, 7 June, 2013

WFP

TORCH Issue No. 4

Swift resolutions and goosebumps; A charming end to WFP By Heng Guang Lur

T

he final day of WFP proceedings kicked off with a relaxed atmosphere, with delegates looking forward to the end of the conference. Progress appeared slow at the outset, with delegates seemingly fixated on repaying their personal sleep debts. Their lack of sleep did not seem to deter the other more motivated delegates though, and the final working paper was finally passed after numerous edits from the Chairs and delegates themselves. A vote was called to pass this working paper as a draft resolution, and with 100% of the votes being for the motion, the working paper was passed as a draft resolution. With one task completed, the delegates then moved on to pass the draft as a working resolution, and aimed to move on to the second topic of “Overfishing�. However, with barely

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Friday, 7 June, 2013

“That sent goosebumps down my spine!” - the delegate of USA on Chair Derek’s rendition of “Want U Back” by Cher Lloyd

WFP

TORCH Issue No. 4

thirty minutes left until the end of the council session, time was working against them. South Africa highlighted the importance of putting whaling and finning onto the agenda, including long-term solutions to the problem, stating that overfishing was “not a problem that can be solved overnight” while Australia wanted to discuss the issue of trawling and its effects on marine life. The United States was in charge of drafting a working paper, which was thankfully submitted with less than eight minutes on the clock. Barely any objections were raised to the paper, as the delegates were eager to finally call an end to the session. As per procedure, votes were called to pass the working paper as a draft resolution, and the draft was voted as a working resolution, with nine for, one against, and five abstaining, in a record time of four minutes! Afterwards, delegates and this reporter were treated to a surprise performance from Derek, the Chair of the WFP, who serenaded the floor with his rendition of “Want U Back” by Cher Lloyd, which drew a rousing round of applause from the delegates. The United States was so impressed with the performance, remarking “That sent goosebumps down my spine!” With this, WFP SMUN 2013 drew to a close, with each and every delegate taking back valuable experiences, newfound friendships, and precious memories from the past four days.

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Friday, 7 June, 2013

SOCHUM

TORCH Issue No. 4

For all good things come to an end! By Ritika Mohapatra

A

s the time for the curtains of the SMUN 2013 to be drawn approached, the closing ceremony marked the end of what had been an amazing four days for the delegates having been presented with an opportunity to share their bright ideas with each other. The ceremony began with two distinguished guest speakers, Mr Menon and Mr Dorsey addressing the audience about the Syrian Crisis and the complexities that have made the crisis the crazy mess that it is today. As both the speakers took different stances, students had a chance to listen to different perspectives on the same issue. Mr. Dorsey’s words, “…because as conflict becomes stronger, the risk of spill over to other countries IS higher and GETS higher” threw light on the extreme fragility of the situation. According to Mr. Dorsey, from a humanitarian perspective, one must keep in mind, “a life lost, is a life lost, no matter what the circumstances”. And to this extent, the best way to move forward would be to let the people of Syria deal with the situation on their own. If not a pretty future, it would definitely be the healthiest. What followed was an insightful Q&A session. In answer to a student’s question as to how to better one’s understanding of the Middle-Eastern politics and crisis in general, both the speakers took rather emotional stances. Vanu began by saying, “you are a small country, just enjoy, don’t get caught up.” He urged that in order to really know a country and its people, you must always have your feet on the ground, and as Mr. Dorsey put it, “it’s all in the smell of the earth”. As the session was coming to a close, Mr. Vanu’s words surely left an impact on all our minds, which went like, “transitions are always messy- these revolts are not about, what you and I may describe as democracy, they are about integrity and dignity.” Professor Terry Nardin graced the occasion with a few words of wisdom where he emphasised that “in politics, there are no right answers, its persuasion not proof”, “it’s about managing differences and the chief virtue in politics is prudence, which comes from experience”.

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“A life lost, is a life lost, no matter what the circumstances.”


Friday, 7 June, 2013

“In politics, there are no right answers, it’s persuasion, not proof” - Professor Terry Nardin

SOCHUM

TORCH Issue No. 4

The last leg of the ceremony was an hour of delegates, chairs, organizers and the Secretary General, all reminiscing and expressing what each one of them had taken away from the wonderful event that SMUN 2013 had proven to be. For most, it was more than just a conference; it was a beginning of beautiful friendships and long lasting bonds. As the chair of SOCHUM shared her experience, she called the delegates of her committee “a wild and energetic bunch”, which they proved right with their incessant cheering and shouting throughout the ceremony. The delegates of Columbia and Afghanistan, Akanksha George and Karl Siu, respectively won the awards for the “Best positioned papers” and the delegate of Myanmar, won the “Best delegate” award. At the same time, the delegate of UAE won the “Best diplomacy” award. It was heart-warming to see the delegates of the officially craziest committee, SOCHUM, hold so much promise in the twinkle of their eyes, representing the untouched and beautiful dreams that these future leaders hold so dear to their heart, and that must be nurtured ever so carefully.

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Friday, 7 June, 2013

ICJ

TORCH Issue No. 4

The court makes its final decision

By Zhai Yi Qi

O

n the last day of SMUN 2013, delegates in the International Court of Justice spent a busy and eventful morning discussing the results of the case between the United States and Pakistan. Judges were separated into two groups, where they shared their opinions, collected and summarized important details. At about half past eleven in the morning, the two sides presented their final verdicts, which were the results of these days’ hard work. Those in support of the United States believed that it is possible and evident that the United States had tried to reduce civilian casualties through the usage of drone strikes whilst achieving their antiterrorism goals. In contrast, those in support of Pakistan has their doubts about the evidence given by advocates from the United States was true and asserted that the existing evidence was insufficient to prove that the United States had tried to minimize the loss of Pakistani civilian lives. The International Court of Justice came to a successful end when the president declared the closing. She said, “All participants were very hard-working and had been beyond her expectation. Congratulations!” After the lunch break, delegates were treated to a dialogue session with two distinguished guest panelists, Mr. Vanu Gopala Menon, an ambassador in the United Nations from Singapore, and Mr. James Michael Dorsey, a professor from Nanyang Technological University. They discussed the political situations in Syria and the Middle East and also fielded questions from participants. All in all, it was a very fruitful sharing session with the delegates taking away with them invaluable insights to current affairs and also, a newfound love for SMUN.

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“All participants were very hardworking and had been beyond her expectation. Congratulations!” - President of ICJ

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