Committee Director’s Note

2012

From the desk of Committee Director MUNIC- 2012 Welcoming the Delegates

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ear Delegates!

It’s a great pleasure to welcome you to the 2012 edition of MUNIC. I stand indebted to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) whose presence here is indeed encouraging for all of us here and therefore merits special thanks. The following pages intend to guide you in the research of the topics that you will be debating. Please note that this guide will only provide the basis for your investigation. Once you get your country assigned, you will become the Ambassador of this country to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and you will have to investigate further to represent your country in the best possible way. I encourage you to learn what your country is doing about the selected topics for the debate. See you all very soon. [The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people. In more than six decades, the agency has helped tens of millions of people restart their lives.]

Committee

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nited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), also known as the UN Refugee Agency, is the United Nations specialized agency in charge of protecting and supporting refugees in different countries at the request of the UN itself or of a particular government. The UNHCR assists in resettlement, voluntary repatriation and local integration. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.

Committee Director’s Note A Peep into the History

2012

NHCR was created on December 14, 1950, to help the numerous refugees in Central Eastern Europe after World War II. In 1951, the UN approved the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees which describes who is a refugee, what legal protection they have, the assistance and rights they should receive and refugees’ duty in the host country. A refugee is a person who has been threatened by conflict or violence, or has been persecuted for his/her religion, race, political views, and/or nationality and has left his/her country and entered into another country to obtain safety. When these people reach another country, they claim what is known as asylum in order to obtain protection. The UNHCR was originally created as a three year solution to address the WWII refugee issue, but as displacement and refugee issues increased worldwide, the UNHCR’s role increased. The 1967 Protocol expanded the group of people who could obtain refugee status to include people from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, not just European victims of WWII. Today the UNHCR has extended its duties to not only protect refugees, but to also protect other persons of concern in more than 150 countries. This category includes Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who can be defined as those who flee their homes due to persecution, conflict, or natural disasters but stay within their own country’s borders. Another category is Stateless Persons who are those who are denied basic rights and are not considered nationals by any country or the country they reside in. Also, Returned Refugees are those who have voluntarily decided to return to their homeland but are met with difficult conditions. Asylum seekers are evaluated in order to determine if they qualify as refugees. Once they are included in this category they have the right to stay in the country they fled to, according to international law under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. The host country, by international law, must grant refugees protection and cannot force the refugees back to their homeland. Due to the transnational nature of refugees, the UNHCR assures that the host countries follow the Refugee Convention and also provides accommodation to refugees in camps. However, refugee camps are temporary solutions in which refugees have a safe place to stay until they can return home.

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Purpose and Mission Statement

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NHCR is “mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country”.

Committee Director’s Note

2012

Membership and Authority

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NHCR is governed by the UN General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The UNHCR Executive Committee is composed of 79 members and is in charge of approving different programs and the corresponding budget. These are presented by the High Commissioner (currently António Guterres), who is appointed by the UN General Assembly.

The UN refugee agency's mandate is defined by the 1950 UNHCR Statute. In 2003, the General Assembly extended the organization's mandate "until the refugee problem is solved." The High Commissioner reports annually to ECOSOC and the General Assembly on the work of UNHCR. Also, as head of the organization, the High Commissioner is responsible for the direction and control of UNHCR. The High Commissioner directs the work of UNHCR with the assistance of a Deputy High Commissioner and Assistant High Commissioners for Protection and Operations. The agency has a national and international staff of more than 6,600 staff working in more than 110 countries. Topic 1: Role of Sustainable environmental management on Refugees

Introduction
hen refugees arrive in large numbers to a small area, this can create pressure on the environment. Often, refugees and internally displaced persons must rely on natural resources for their survival. Trees may be cut to build or support simple shelters, wood may be collected to cook meals or to keep warm, and wild game, fruit, herbs and other plants might be gathered as a source of food or medicine. Sanitary issues also become an immediate concern. Unless controlled, such activities can quickly get out of hand and have a negative impact on the environment as well as the displaced and host populations.

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Background1

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hile Refugee Camps are generally not meant to be permanent, many countries have hosted refugees or IDPs in the same place for several decades. Different strategies and actions must be implemented in order to address key environmental issues, help prevent environmental degradation from taking place and

Committee Director’s Note

2012

avoid conflicts arising over competition for natural resources. UNHCR acknowledges the impact that camps and settlements can have on the environment. Taking this into account the UNHCR has developed policies to deal with different environmental issues. Environmental management is therefore a policy priority at UNHCR and is relevant in all phases of its work, from emergencies to rehabilitating the environment when a camp or settlement is closed. NHCR's sustainable environmental management programs cannot be achieved without the active involvement of refugees or internally displaced people. To promote and guide these programs, UNHCR advocates four principles of action: - Integration ensuring that the environment features in other related programs or activities, such as physical planning or sanitation, are taken into account - prevention before cure - taking action as early as possible to minimize potentially large-scale problems and irreversible effects costeffectiveness with limited resources at its disposal, UNHCR must always strive to maximize the efficiency of its assistance programs - local participation involving local communities in the development and management of environmental activities is fundamental to managing natural resources in a sustainable manner.

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Possible Solutions
lthough the UNHCR has a clear set of principles, it is sometimes difficult to ensure the well being of refugees, especially in long term internal conflicts. There are several situations where the country which shelters refugees does not have the resources to attend to the needs of those people and also ensure the environments’ well being. The international community must try to apply the principles recommended by the UNHCR and also ensure the active participation not only of the host countries but also the participation of refugees themselves. By doing this they will be able to guarantee their livelihood but not at the cost of the environment.

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Committee Director’s Note Sanitation of Refugee Camps

2012

I. BACKGROUND INFORMATION

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holera is one of the most common diseases that appears in refugee camps and is usually caused when feces comes into contact with drinking water. Clean water is a necessity in refugee camps and without it the inhabitants face life threatening consequences. Although clean water and proper sanitation are essential to basic living in the camps it is extremely difficult to achieve this due to security restrictions, scarce resources, understaffing, etc. Thirty percent of refugee camps don’t have adequate waste disposal and being so could cause waste to enter into drinking water; causing outbreaks of disease. An estimation of more than half of the refugee camps in the world are not able to provide the minimum requirement of water per person.

II. UNITED NATIONS INVOLVEMENT

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ince 2009 UNHCR has boosted water and sanitation projects around the world, this includes upgrading existing water and sanitation facilities, improvements of the quality of services, and implementing promotional hygiene activities. UNICEF works in over 90 countries around the world to improve water supplies and sanitation facilities in school and communities. UNICEF also promotes safe hygiene practices. The UN established the water, sanitation, and hygiene program (WASH) that promotes sanitation in underdeveloped countries.

III. POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

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ne short term possible solution is to create “disease kits” that can be sent to refugee camps around the world that will consist of vaccines (if any), clean medical tools, instructional booklets, etc. A long term solution would be to create adequate plumbing and waste disposal in long term refugee camps. To decide if a camp is considered long term the camp would have to exist for a certain amount of years and see no end to the conflict displacing the refugees.

Research Questions
1. Is this issue a problem in your country/ neighboring countries/ continent? 2. Who and what are the stakeholders of this issue?

Committee Director’s Note
3. What are the positions of the various stakeholders on this issue? 4. What strategies/solutions have been attempted?  What have worked? Why? 5. How this problem has/is affecting your country/ neighboring countries/ continent/ world?  What have not worked? Why?  What could be improved? Why?  What new need to be introduced? Why? 6. If this issue is not a problem in your country, then how can they be involved?  Why and why not? 8. What are some facts, figures, statistics regarding the issue – national, regional, international? 9. Do you need funding for your solutions? If so where would you get this funding?

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10. Is/has your country hosting/hosted refugees? If so, is the sanitation in your camp adequate? 11. If the sanitation in a refugee camp your country is hosting is not adequate, how do you propose to handle this issue?

Summary

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NHCR must ensure the safety and well-being of refugees and internally displaced individuals. This extends to food, health, and the environment. The fact that sustainable management has not been effective in all refugee areas can be a result of different sets of internal policies, as well as the incapacity to comply with UNHCR standards. It is up to the international community to guarantee not only the well being of those in refugee or displaces conditions but must also ensure the environments sustainability.

Reading/ Research References
1. www.unhcr.org 2. www.un.org 3. www.unhabitat.org 4. www.refugeesinternational.org 5. www.humanrightswatch.org

Committee Director’s Note
6. www.undp.orghttp://www.who.int/topics/cholera/materials/en/index.html 2. 3. 4. 5. http://www.uniteforsight.org/refugee-health/module3 http://internationalmedicalcorps.org/page.aspx?pid=1334 http://www.unicef.org/wash/

2012

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water,_Sanitation_and_Hygiene_Monitoring_Program Topic 2: Return and reintegration of refugees and displaced persons

Introduction

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NHCR’s ultimate goal is to help find durable solutions for refugees so they can rebuild their lives with dignity and peace. Among these solutions are: voluntary repatriation; local integration; or resettlement to a third country. In many situations it is impossible for a person to go back home or even remain in the host country. Every year, the UNHCR helps refugees worldwide achieve these solutions. However, the millions of refugees and a greater number of internally displaced people worldwide make these solutions very difficult to obtain.

Background
People who are forced from their homes generally seek a voluntary return home in once the situation is safe and they can obtain a livelihood. Out of the durable solutions that UNHCR seeks for refugees, only a small number can be resettled to third countries or can be locally integrated into their host societies. n the past years, the UNHCR has been able to coordinate numerous large-scale voluntary repatriation programs that have managed to get millions of refugees home. UNHCR offices have also assisted

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Committee Director’s Note

2012

with many small-scale and individual repatriation of refugees and internally displaced people. Going home remains the strongest hope of finding an end to exile for millions of refugees. Voluntary repatriation in a safe and dignifying way requires the full commitment of the country of origin to help reintegrate its own people. It also needs the continuing support of the international community through the crucial post-conflict phase to ensure that those who make the brave decision to go home can rebuild their lives in a stable environment.

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NHCR's priorities when it comes to voluntary return are: to promote enabling conditions for voluntary repatriation; to ensure the exercise of a free and informed choice; and to mobilize support for returnees. In practice, UNHCR promotes and facilitates voluntary repatriation through various means, including organizing "go-and see" visits for refugees; compiling updated information on their country and region of origin; engaging in peace and reconciliation activities; promoting housing and property restitution; and providing return assistance and legal aid to returnees.

Possible Solutions
Return and reintegration of refugees requires not only the UNHCR, but also needs commitment on behalf of the countries who are allowing their nationals to return home. It is not an easy process for a person to return after a traumatic experience, such as becoming a refugee. Therefore, these people must receive the care and the attention needed in order to make this process easier.

Research Questions
1. Is this issue a problem in your country/ neighboring countries/ continent? 2. Who and what are the stakeholders of this issue? 3. What are the positions of the various stakeholders on this issue? 4. What strategies/solutions have been attempted?  What have worked? Why?  What have not worked? Why?

Committee Director’s Note
 What could be improved? Why?

2012

 What new need to be introduced? Why? 5. How this problem has/is affecting your country/ neighboring countries/ continent/ world? 6. If this issue is not a problem in your country, then how can the country be involved?  Why and why not? 7. What and how can students like you be involved in the prevention and occurrences of the issues? 8. What are some facts, figures, statistics regarding the issue – national, regional, international?

Summary
Repatriation and reintegration is a very complex process which requires the help of the UNHCR and the different countries who have to confront this situation in order for there to be a sustainable long term solution for those implicated.

Reading/ Research References
1. www.unhcr.org 2. www.un.org 3. www.unhabitat.org 4. www.refugeesinternational.org 5. www.humanrightswatch.org 6. www.undp.org

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