Johannesburg Model United Nations 2016 Committee. Chair Research Report Format and Guideline

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1 Chair Research Report Format and Guideline JOMUN XIV Forum: Advisory Panel Issue: Online Database for Refugees Student Officer: Tshegofatso Vilakazi Position: Deputy Chair Johannesburg Model United Nations 2016 INTRODUCTION The Refugee Status in Africa is one that requires immediate attention. At this point in time, many people are displaced from their home nations due to civil issues such as conflict, violence and human rights issues have moved into other places around the world and have been forced to adopt new cultures in countries which would appear completely strange to them, and which would be likely to continue to affect many countries in the continent, let alone the world. In order to negate this problem, it must be taken into effect that people seeking refuge would escape due to civil issues happening in their nations. Therefore, it is important to tend to that issue regarding civil issues, such as the elimination of possible conflicts or assisting nations that have been affected by war in order to create a safer environment. It is also to note that many people who seek refuge do so in difficult conditions where it would be near impossible to track people who take refuge in other nations, which would therefore make it harder to track and recognise refugees down as people in certain states. However, there are many states which have declared themselves refugee receiving states and the number of those states are likely to increase. Furthermore, it should be noted that there are already present databases for asylum law, but those still do not have active databases regarding the identification of refugees. Therefore, it is important to maintain focus on the collection of refugees in countries in order to provide programmes of assimilation into foreign nations. As well as taking those into effect, it is also important to maintain the human rights of refugees as they move into areas. DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS Refugee A person forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution or natural disaster Research Report Page 1 of 10

2 Migrant A person who moves from one place to another due to many reasons, such as the search for work or better living conditions UNHCR The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is An international agency mandated for the protection and support of refugees, should the Government or the United Nations itself request its services Refoulement The forced return of refugees or asylum seekers to a country where they are liable to be subject to persecution BACKGROUND ON THE ISSUE According to the UNHCR, there have been many new movements caused by civil unrest and human rights violations are almost certain to affect countries to a larger scale on the continent at In Africa, the projected numbers of people of concern have shown a consistent rate of increase, which is not likely to depreciate due to the repatriation, resettlement and other possible long term solutions. However, the level of displacement caused by the conflict through the affected countries in and around Central and Eastern African Countries is almost certain to remain immense for the oncoming year. In Africa, the right to seek refugee status is one that is revered, as there is a vast number of asylum seekers that have found the necessary support that would not be present in their previous home nations. It is notable that previously, African Nations have been generous in providing Asylum, although many core values have been challenged ad questioned through manners such as refoulement, as well as difficulty in access to UNHCR representatives who may be in need for protection. As well as that, Southern Africa has seen an increase in mixed migratory movements, therefore causing an increase in hostility towards refugees and pressure on finding safe, conflict free zones and spaces. On a more positive note, since 2009, the implemented comprehensive durable solutions strategy for the refugee matter in Angola have continued, which has seen better cooperation between Angola and other nations, such as Botswana, the Congo and Namibia, amongst others. Other measures have been through ensuring that local integration between asylum seekers and nationals, therefore integrating refugees in a more accepting society, which has been notable in nations such as Zambia. In Western Africa, the progress of re establishing civil rest and safety of asylum seekers in the Ivory Coast has yielded positive results and feedback, therefore leading on to the return of Ivorian expatriates. Between January 2013 and June 2014, repatriation had to be suspended indefinitely due to the sudden outburst of the Ebola Virus in neighbouring countries. (UNHCR) Research Report Page 2 of 10

3 MAJOR COUNTRIES AND ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED UNHCR The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is an organisation majorly involved in the safety of refugees at the request of the Government or the UN. The UNHCR has been heavily involved in the provision of safety of all refugees in said countries and has even sought to ensure that refugee rights are being honoured. African Union The African Union is an intergovernmental organisation established in 2002 consisting of all African States, except Morocco, to promote the unity, solidarity and ultimate betterment of all member African States, as well as the promotion of international cooperation. The AU has been heavily involved with the safety of refugees, as it has maintained its firm belief that people seeking asylum in nations should not be denied that as well as the support of all asylum seekers in Member Nations. Ethiopia Ethiopia as a nation is known to currently host the most amount of Refugees in Africa. As Ethiopia shares borders with conflict stricken neighbouring countries such as Somalia, South Sudan and Eritrea, which has allowed it to be able to host as many asylum seekers since the 1990s. On 2011, the country possessed an estimated eight camps for about refugees, but the number of camps has since increased to 23 camps to be able to host more refugees. European Nations Many European Nations have had a high amount of asylum applicants cross their borders in hopes of escaping conflict, although a majority of them do come from nations such as Syria, Russia or Afghanistan. However, African nations that have been in deep turmoil, such as Somalia and Eritrea have had many refugees enter European borders in hopes of safety. However, according to the International Organisation for Migration, in 2013, as many as 3000 migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean, which would be an indicator of immediate attention into ensuring the health of refugees is ensured. Research Report Page 3 of 10

4 TIMELINE OF KEY EVENTS 2011 East Africa Drought June 2011 The Dabaab refugee base in Kenya consisted of about people in three Refugee Camps, which exceeded the utmost capacity of More than asylum seekers still continued to arrive in the base from Southern Somalia, with 80% of them being Women and Children. September 2011 More than Somalian Refugees had reportedly fled to Asylum Providing, neighbouring nations, such as Kenya and Ethiopia December 2011 The UN s OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) announced that an increase of relief operations had resulted in a depreciating amount of worldwide malnutrition rates as well as decreases in mortality rates in Southern Somalian zones of civil unrest in relation to the drought crisis beginning in July or August (Date Unclear) A Tripartite Agreement between Kenya and Somalia for the restoration of Somali Refugees nationality has been concluded between the both Governments and the UNHCR January 2013 Around refugees are reported to have returned to the Ivory Coast in organised convoys. June 2014 Repatriation Operations had to be indefinitely stopped because of the outbreak of the Ebola virus in the neighbouring nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone Although new displacements caused by civil unrest and human rights violations, a slight decrease in projected values of refugees (about people) is expected due to enforced durable solutions of people of concern in Africa. September 2015 The European Commission plans a budget of 96,8 billion allocated for the period in the assistance and support of region and countries most affected By the refugee crisis Research Report Page 4 of 10

5 RELEVANT UN RESOLUTIONS, TREATIES AND EVENTS 23 December 1994 Resolution 49/169, passed by the United Nations General Assembly (GA) in its 94th plenary meeting strongly reaffirms the fundamental importance of the function of the High Commissioner for refugees of providing the necessary protection and support to asylum seekers and the necessity for member states to fully cooperate with their respective offices in order to promote the effective exercise of that function. As well as the suggestion that all states that are yet to do so to implement fully the 1951 Convention and the 1967 protocol relating to the status of refugees (UN General Assembly) Other points such as the safety and circumstances of refugees are taken into account in the resolution and the further outreach of more countries into finding solutions to counter the growing issues with refugee statuses in African Countries. 9 February 1996 Also a resolution by the UN General Assembly, Resolution 50/152 also reaffirms its firm stance first proposed initially in the Resolution 49/169 of December 23rd, 1994 and later referred to in the Resolution 51/75, this resolution brings upon similar requests and beliefs as by the Resolution 51/75 and also welcomes the assistance of Member States for provision of protection, Assistance and Asylum to seekers and support from Governments to the High Commissioner in undertaking their Humanitarian tasks. 12 December 1996 The UN General Assembly officially implements a resolution regarding Refugees and related matters. This resolution would become known as Resolution 51/75 at the Office of the UNHCR on its 82nd plenary meeting. The Resolution reads that the United Nations stands firmly against the acts of Refoulement and the lack of provision of refugee rights being undertaken into effect, citing its Distress over the violations of said measures and beliefs the United Nations aim to represent. 10 February 1997 The UN General Assembly has also adopted the Resolution 51/71 regarding the Assistance of Asylum Seeking persons in Africa(UN General Assembly), where it has cited its growing concerns of refugee status in various African Nations while recognising various reports on the case, more specifically the United Nations Secretary General (SG) and the UNHCR. The resolution expresses involvement of international community and other organisations to cooperate in order to further ensure a future where all refugee rights are further implemented and the safety of asylum seekers is further endorsed by the member states. Research Report Page 5 of 10

6 9 February 1998 The General Assembly has also adopted the Resolution 52/101 in the Assistance to Asylum Seeking persons in Africa, where it has considered the Report of the SG as well as the Report from the UNHCR, cites its gratitude over the efforts shown by nations of asylum and assistance in the accommodation of refugees as well as the necessity of strengthening the capacity within the United Nations system for the implementation of relief and reintegration programmes for Asylum Seeking persons. (UN General Assembly) The Resolution calls for a heightened level of safety of refugees in Asylum nations and further commends the involved Governments, as well as the Office of the High Commissioner for their initiatives for the promotion of repatriation within the framework of tripartite agreements on voluntary repatriation of Asylum Seekers throughout the regions of importance. 8 February 2001 Resolution 55/72 is one that is adopted by the General Assembly Regarding the Enlargement of the Executive of the programme of the UNHCR (UN General Assembly). It recognises the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) decision 2000/302 regarding the growth of the Executive of the programme as well as the previous request of the growth of the Executive contained in the letter from July 11th, 2000 from the Permanent Representative of Mexico to the UNHCR. The resolution declares that the United Nations has decided to increase the number of members of the Executive from 57 to 58, as well as the request for the ECOSOC to elect the additional member at its organisational session for February 2002 Another resolution adopted by the General Assembly, Resolution 56/166 is a resolution that is set at solving the issue of Human Rights and Mass Exoduses, with the Resolution citing its disturbance due to the scale and magnitude of exoduses and displacements in the world and it also recalls its previous resolutions on the subject. PREVIOUS ATTEMPTS TO SOLVE THE ISSUE 20 May, 2004: Solutions to Refugee Problem Common Responsibility, Require Adequate Resources, Ruud Lubbers tells the Security Council (4973rd Meeting (AM)) According to Ruud Lubbers, a previous High Commissioner, there had never been as many chances for lasting solutions to be implemented throughout so many regions of Africa. As well as saying so, the High Commissioner recognised the common responsibility present to reduce the possible matter of future conflict and to ensure that the current progress is further continued, although many challenges still laid ahead, such as the demilitarization of former combatants, including members considered underaged (UNHCR). As well as accepting challenges, there was also the issue of resource inequality committed to Africa, with many conglomerates and organisations being underfunded in order to prepare the Research Report Page 6 of 10

7 foundations for the eventual renationalisation to Sudan. Despite that, there had been questioned raised about voluntary repatriation and reintegration into society were sometimes not possible, as well as the fact that public perception of the refugee problem had been affected worldwide by incidents of human crime. As well as the issue of security, there were also questions about the coordination of the whole United Nations system and all relevant outside bodies and more information regarding the financial report. The High Commissioner responded by insisting that many attempts to get access to the border have been made, even though there had already been organisations focusing in the region, access was extremely limited. This would be solved by making a plea to the Government of Sudan. The High Commissioner also responded by admitting that on financial support, it was always an uphill battle, and while other bodies had their assessed contributions, the UNHCR had to seek other contributions in order to fund its campaigns. According to the former High Commissioner, the regular government had funded the agency, which had eventually stopped. As well as the garnering of places where asylum seekers could be housed, the UNHCR has also attempted to collect systematically collect information regarding the amount of refugees, even though there were issues about the amount of expected refugees in an Asylum granting Area, as in one instance since the UNHCR started collecting information, the figure was far beyond the expected number by the UNHCR, which would therefore affect how resources and assistance towards refugees would be granted, such as basic needs such as food, water or even shelter. Another issue regarding the collection is that it did not seem to collect information regarding the health risks, as it is important in both the granting of assistance in refugee situations and the requirement of assistance from organisations such as the World Health Organisation, which are aimed towards ensuring the health of people everywhere. Therefore, the collection of data was initially very limited, as resources used for it were finite, and the collection also was not very thorough, which ultimately was detrimental towards ensuring the prolonged safety of people in both Asylum Seeking and Asylum granting nations. POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS One possible solution to the issue would be the implementation of a database that would track down citizens officially declared as Asylum Seekers, which also could be used to track any possible issues regarding refugees, such as any particular health issues in one particular refugee, which could therefore be dangerous towards citizens of Asylum Providing Nations. This would also be effective for the eventual health safety of both nations, as the tracking of Asylum Seekers and their nations of origin, which could be further assisted in the long run. One advantage of this would be that the tracking of diseases in Asylum seekers from possible war torn and/or poverty stricken nations. Many concerns from nations awarding asylums are possible health issues that could be existent from nations and are contagious enough to be spread into other nations and therefore becoming an epidemic. As is normally the case, the prevention of a possible epidemic is an imperative point to be considered when UN debates occur and also is one that should be kept in mind when UN debates are in session. The tracking of Asylum Seekers would provide various opportunities to be able to Research Report Page 7 of 10

8 identify issues present in refugees which may need further analysis and ultimately, figure out ways in which those issues could be solved. However, the question remains as to the manner and degree as to how refugees are to be tracked. It is notable that there is information that refugees are at liberty to withhold due to various factors such as beliefs or personal ideals that people are unable to deter away from. Delegates must also keep in mind that refugees still are entitled to their humanity, which may make the collection of information one that would theoretically never be complete. As well as refugee rights being taken into effect, it must also be kept in mind that solutions must also be able to track previous asylum seekers and substantially be able to ensure that their rights and opportunities are equally provided. Another solution would be the implementation of a digital system where host nations are able to actively interact with other nations regarding the amount and origin of Asylum seekers present in any host nations. This would effectively allow for host nations to be able to ensure that while safety and asylum is granted to refugees, refugees of similar origin are kept together in an effort to ensure that cultures are still preserved while the people that are a part of that culture are to move on to find places where they could be provided with a fair amount of opportunities to ensure that their basic needs are procured. However, as it would be a digital database, questions towards its digital safety are raised and it must be kept in mind that there are many Militant Groups that would have the capability to garner that information in order to primarily, use it negatively to put the physical safety of Refugees at risk and secondarily, use it in order to disturb civil society in nations that would provide Asylum. As well as digital means of protecting information, another possible solution is ensuring the physical protection of the database is possible, as there also is a possible threat that should be considered when making the database. It must also be considered that the database would either be run in conjunction of UN sanctioned organisations, such the Office of the UNHCR or UN member nations that would provide Asylum to Refugees, and how that protection is to be ensured, such as the provision of UN troops in said locations or the request of assistance from the troops or National Defence Forces from nations. Although that is possibility, it is also imperative to consider the sovereignty of nations in the process, as while protection is important, there are also laws from many dimensions such as the Nations, or conferences that have taken place such as the Geneva Convention that would limit the reach for troop provision from the UN or other UN affiliated nations. Research Report Page 8 of 10

9 WORKS CITED "Africa." UNHCR News. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr "African Union Adopts Major Convention to Protect and Assist the Internally Displaced." UNHCR, 23 Oct Web. 8 May "A/RES/49/169. Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees." UN News Center. UN, n.d. Web. 08 May "A/RES/50/152. Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees." UN News Center. UN, n.d. Web. 08 May D'Orsi, Cristiano. "The AU Convention on Refugees and the Concept of Asylum." The AU Convention on Refugees and the Concept of Asylum. Pace University, 7 Jan Web. 8 May "General Assembly Resolutions Relating to UNHCR." UNHCR News. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 May "Graphics: Europe's Asylum Seekers." BBC News. N.p., 30 Sept Web. 08 May Momodu, Sulaiman. "Refugees Turn to Ethiopia for Safety and Asylum." Africa Renewal Online. Africa Renewal, Apr Web. 8 May "Refugee Crisis: European Commission Takes Decisive Action Questions and Answers." European Commission Press Release Database. European Commission, 9 Sept Web. 8 May "Selected UN General Assembly Resolutions on Refugees and Related Matters 51st Session: United Nations General Assembly RESOLUTION 51/75 Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 82nd Plenary Meeting 12 December 1996." International Journal of Refugee Law 9.2 (1997): UNHCR. Web. 8 May Sheets, Country Data. "UNHCR STATISTICAL ONLINE POPULATION DATABASE: GENERAL NOTES." UNHCR STATISTICAL ONLINE POPULATION DATABASE: GENERAL NOTES UNHCR Statistics, 2009 (2009): n. pag. UNHCR Statistics. UNHCR. Web. 7 Apr "SOLUTIONS TO REFUGEE PROBLEM COMMON RESPONSIBILITY, REQUIRE ADEQUATE RESOURCES, RUUD LUBBERS TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL Meetings Coverage and Press Releases." UN News Center. UN, n.d. Web. 08 May "2011 East Africa Drought." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 08 May Research Report Page 9 of 10

10 "UN Warns of 'record High' 60 Million Displaced amid Expanding Global Conflicts." UN News Center. UN, 18 June Web. 08 May "UNHCR Global Trends 2014." UNHCR News. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 May "UNHCR Statistical Database." UNdata. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr "UNHCR Statistical Online Population Database." UNHCR News. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr APPENDIX OR APPENDICES UN site containing a full resolution regarding refugee safety < Full document regarding the AU Convention on Refugees and the Concept of Asylum < Graphics Regarding Europe s Asylum Seekers < europe >. Press Release regarding the explanation of expenditure from the European Commission < release_memo _en.htm>. Resolutions on Refugees and Related Matters 51 st Session < UNHCR Statistics regarding online population database < ADATA%20UNHCR%20(EN).pdf>. Research Report Page 10 of 10