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Panama Model United Nations 2013| XXI Annual Session

Forum:

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Issue:

Issue #601: Measures to ensure the overall safety of refugees and internally displaced people at a regional and global scale.

Student Officer: Ligia Bezerra Position:

Co-Chair of UNHCR

Introduction When you are a member of a nation, the government provides an entire net of protection and safety around you. Once you become a refugee or an internally displaced person (IDP) your safety and protection is put at risk. During the time in which a citizen becomes a refugee or IDP their rights are usually lost due to certain persecution from the government. But if refugees manage to reach a safe state that can aid them, their rights may be recuperated. This first issue addresses the protection of refugees and internally

displaced

people

in

order

for

them

to

achieve

safety.

The United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees (UNHCR) strives to guarantee the human rights of any stateless person in the country providing asylum or original state. Moreover, it makes sure that

asylum

country’s

governments

are

following

established

laws

regarding

refugees.

Refugees deserve many ways of protection just as any other citizen does. A safe asylum is what all refugees deserve. According to the 1951 Refugee Convention a safe asylum is an asylum that provides proper

shelter,

food,

water,

and

health

care.

Refugees should also be protected legally in order for them to receive a suitable lifestyle. One of the main and long-term goals of the UNHCR is the safe return of refugees home. Organizations work with the government in order to make sure no refugee is ever forced to go back to their original state if conditions continue to be unsafe. Physical protection must also be considered since many refugees suffer from sexual assault. They ought to obtain physical protection to avoid gang violence and rape crimes. Just like Research Report | Page 1 of 8


Panama Model United Nations 2013| XXI Annual Session

any other citizen of the world, refugees have rights that should not be overlooked, as they also deserve legal and physical protection. IDPs are one of the most vulnerable groups of people in the whole world. Although internally displaced people deserve the same kind of safety as refugees, sometimes it’s harder to provide it because they haven’t yet crossed an international border. The government in their own country should provide IDP’s legal protection but unfortunately IDPs are generally displaced due to civil conflicts and in those cases the government wont provide any protection. Organizations were created in order to minimize and avoid the suffering of the IDPs and focus on their protection.

Definition of Key Terms Refugees Someone that “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country” (UNHCR) Internally Displaced Person (IDP) An internally displaced person (IDP) is a person who has been forced to flee his or her home for the same reason as a refugee, but remains in his or her own country and has not crossed an international border. Returnees A refugee that has returned to his or her home. 1951 Refugee Convention A document initially created to protect the European refugees after WWII but soon became the major instrument of international refugees law. The document includes information about the refugees’ protection and social rights. Asylum-Seekers Research Report | Page 2 of 8


Panama Model United Nations 2013| XXI Annual Session

Although it’s often confused with refugees, an asylum seeker is someone who says he or she is a refugee, but whose claim has not yet been definitively evaluated. Stateless People Statelessness refers to the condition of an individual who is not considered as a national by any state. Statelessness occurs for a variety of reasons including discrimination against minority groups in nationality legislation, failure to include all residents in the body of citizens when a state becomes independent (state succession) and conflicts of laws between states. Repatriation Is the process of returning a person back to one's place of origin or citizenship. One of the best results a refugee can have after so much suffering. Its also one of the major goals of the UNHCR, keeping in mind that repatriation will only occur if volunteered or if country is in a safe position.

General Overview All around the world refugees and IDPs have become a really intricate issue due to the huge involvement with the government of a lot of countries. Since they are considered the most vulnerable group of people their right are being severely violated in many cases. What refugees and IDPs need the most is protection and that is what the UNHCR is seeking to provide.

Violation of Right When refugees are still inside their country of origin they have the same rights as any other citizen under that government’s jurisdiction. Once they leave the country their rights are put at risk until the refugee manages to enter a country of asylum. In the country of asylum a refugee deserves the same rights as other citizens including but not limiting to freedom of thought and movement, access to health care, food and much more. Unfortunately, these rights are not always granted. Seen as the most vulnerable group of people in the world, others tend to think their rights can be easily violated and advantage is taken of them. The most frequent violated rights of refugees including sexual abuse. Sexual abuse can happen to anyone in this situation but it’s more likely to happen to unaccompanied children or women. In refugee camps sexual abuse is also present and sometimes it’s done by any type of authority who takes advantage of the refugee’s vulnerability. Sometimes women and children are Research Report | Page 3 of 8


Panama Model United Nations 2013| XXI Annual Session

approached for sexual labor in exchange of necessities such as food and water. Sexual abuse may also occur in other phases of being a refugee not only in camps. It can also happen during the translation from the country of origin to the asylum country. During the travelling, pirates, smugglers, and members of the security of the boat can abuse of the passengers. Mostly these occasions are quickly and temporal but in the case of sexual abuse by pirates it’s different. Pirates generally abuses of refugees for a longer term in exchange for their safety and freedom. Due to

this and other types of rights violations the UNHCR came up with programs for protection and security of all refugees and IDPs.

Major Parties Involved and Their Views Syria

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Panama Model United Nations 2013| XXI Annual Session

Syria is one of the countries in an emergency situation. Since the civil war in March 2011, Syria has approximately 2.5 million people that have left their home either to cross an international border or to refuge within Syria.

Palestine Palestine has approximately 5 million refugees. Around 1.4 million of these refugees found refuge in countries such as: Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza strip. Refugees from Palestine are usually protected an assisted by the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA).

Colombia Although Colombia does have issues with refugees, its major problems are IDPs. Colombia has about 3.8 million citizens internally displaced due to lack of security. Inside Colombia there a lot of illegally armed groups that threaten other people’s life.

Sudan After its recent separation from South Sudan, Sudan has had issues with internally displaced persons. In the Darfur region along the border of South Sudan there is approximately 2.4 million IDPs due to continuous fighting between rebels and government.

Pakistan Pakistan has about 2.9 million Afghanistan refugees. 1.9 million of these refugees are registered and 1 million isn’t. Pakistan also has some issues with its IDPs. Approximately 758, 000 people are displaced within Pakistan’s borders.

Timeline of Events

Date December, 1951 1960’s

Description of event Creation of UNHCR in order to emphasize on refugees & IDPs protection, social and human rights. Budget of $300,000 Decolonization: one of the first important missions the UNHCR had. Not like Research Report | Page 5 of 8


Panama Model United Nations 2013| XXI Annual Session

past events this time there was no sustainable solution. African citizens fled to Europe and during this decade the UNHCR used the majority of its budget.

1980

Refugee Act of 1980 was set and it included the legal bases to the refugee admissions and also the criteria for refugee status.

1981

UNHCR wins the Nobel Peace Prize

2009

UNHCR budget increased to 2 billion. Budget was invested mostly on Iraqi refugees, Somali refugees, Darfur and Southern Sudan.

2010

UNHCR counts 43.4 million displaced people globally. This was the highest number since 1990.

UN involvement, Relevant Resolutions, Treaties and Events The UN created an agency that takes specific care of refugees and IDPs in 1951. Since then, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has being working together with other organizations to create resolutions and treaties that will benefit the Internally Displaced and Refugees.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, December 18, 2008 (A/63/423)

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, December 12, 1996 (51/75)

Protection of and Assistance to Internally Displaced People, December 19, 2011 (A/66/462/Add.2)

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, December 18, 2009 (A/64/431)

Evaluation of Previous Attempts to Resolve the Issue The United Nations has being very involved with the protection of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons. Combating this issue is very difficult to the large numbers of both Refugees and Internally Displaced, but the UNHCR together with other organizations haven’t let the numbers rise since 2007. From then on the situation for Internally Displaced Persons has being stable at a number of 26 Research Report | Page 6 of 8


Panama Model United Nations 2013| XXI Annual Session

million. Unfortunately for refugees numbers increase rapidly due to various conflicts, especially in the Middle East. Although numbers tend to increase rapidly, the UNHCR has managed to return many of these refugees safely home. The ones that were not yet able to return home are provided with safe shelters and refugee camps in other nations. The United Nations has done its very best in order to reduce the numbers of refugees and internally displaced.

Possible Solutions For the high and shocking numbers of refugees in the world, the UNHCR’s main goal is to provide them with safety and security. But refugees can’t remain as refugees all their lives. At one point repatriation is the best option and that’s what organizations such as the UNHCR strive for. Theoretically the best solution is to take refugees and IDPs back home, but repatriation will only happen if the situation in the home country is peaceful enough or if the refugee, for any reason, volunteers. Therefore, one of the crucial steps is achieving peace first. Other sustainable solution to decrease the number of refugees but always focusing on their protection and safety is to locally integrate. When a refugee cannot go back to their original country because of conflicts that puts their safety in risk, integration to their asylum country is an option. Like this, refugees will remain at a safe environment where they join society culturally and maintain a better life style. On the other hand, for the Internally Displaced Persons the best option for a durable solution is to resettle in another community within the borders of the country. Just like refugees, IDPs can also integrate to a new community to then start a new life. Adopting the culture, economy and politics of a country many times is beneficial to the Internally Displaced.

Bibliography "Global Issues at the United Nations." UN News Center. UN. Web. 28 May 2013. <http://www.un.org/en/globalissues/refugees/>. "IDP News Alert." IDMC : Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. Web. 27 May 2013. <http://www.internal-displacement.org/>. "Monitoring and Protecting the Human Rights of Refugees And/or Internally Displaced Persons Living in Camps." Http://www.ohchr.org. Web. 27 May 2013. <http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/training7part10en.pdf>. Research Report | Page 7 of 8


Panama Model United Nations 2013| XXI Annual Session

"Palestine Refugees." -UNRWA. Web. 28 May 2013. <http://www.unrwa.org/etemplate.php?id=86>. "Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons." Www.cia.gov. Web. 28 May 2013. <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/print_2194.html>. "Resolutions on Refugees and Related Matters." Http://www.unhcr.org. Web. 27 May 2013. <http://www.unhcr.org/4b9fb1199.pdf>. "Sexual Violence  Against  Refugees."  Http://www.refworld.org.  Web.  28  May  2013.   <http://www.refworld.org/pdfid/3ae6b33e0.pdf>. "UN High Commissioner for Refugees." Refworld. Web. 28 May 2013. <http://www.refworld.org/publisher,UNHCR,COUNTRYPOS,,,0.html>. "UN Refugee Agency-USA for UNHCR." UN Refugee Agency-USA for UNHCR. Web. 28 May 2013. <http://www.unrefugees.org/site/c.lfIQKSOwFqG/b.4778881/k.BE35/Home.htm>. "UNHCR - Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees." UNHCR News. Web. 28 May 2013. <http://www.unhcr.org/49bfb70e2.html>. "UNHCR - UNHCR Global Report 2011 - Ensuring Protection for People of Concern." UNHCR News. Web. 28 May 2013. <http://www.unhcr.org/4fc8808a4.html>. "UNHCR: The UN Refugee Agency." UNHCR News. Web. 28 May 2013. <http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home>. "Where We Work." UNHCR News. Web. 28 May 2013. <http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49c3646c206.html>.

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