Head Chair:Celine Wherritt Vice Chair:Kendra Folks Moderator:Kasra Tavakoli
Position papers will be due on February 2, 2018. The position paper format, and all other important conference documents, can be found on our conference website, http://lhhsconference.weebly.com/. Email all position papers to our committee email: email@example.com. Feel free to contact us via email if you have any questions or concerns!
Hello delegates! My name is Celine Wherritt and I will be your head chair for this conference. I am currently a senior at Laguna Hills High School in my 6th year of MUN. Outside of the MUN program, I am the president of National Honor Society, California Scholarship Federation, and the Breast Cancer Awareness Club. I am also a part of Comedysportz and Tri-M Music Honor Society. Your vice chair is Kendra Folks and she is currently a junior in my 3rd year of MUN. Besides MUN, she plays on the Varsity Water Polo team and is a part of the 2-way Immersion Program. In her free time, she likes to go to the beach and hang out with friends. Your moderator is Kasra Tavakoli and he is a sophomore in his 1st year of MUN. Beyond this program, he enjoys playing basketball, swim, and waterpolo. He is also an active member in California Scholarship Federation and Key Club. We are so excited to see what you have prepared this year!
Topic A: Drone Regulation
Background A drone, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), is a moving piece of machinery that can fly autonomously (without human control). Drones have existed since World War II, but its offensive capabilities are a rather recent development to the equipment. Many countries such as China, Israel, and the United States have vast access to these electrical components; although it has been historically used for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions (ISR), the new international War on Terror has made this technology more lethal. In October 2017, a Niger ambush killed four US defense officials in the name of terrorism, constituting for an immediate authorization of offensive drone usage in the area for national security. The need for an international consensus on drone laws is essential in maintaining international peace, seeing as many terrorist groups such as ISIS and the Taliban are accessing these deadly weapons in order to use against innocent civilians.
United Nations Involvement: Drones are not illegal according to the United Nations laws, but have been under further investigation regarding their legal purposes to the international community. The UN states that a distinct body of law has the right to govern any decision to specifically target any individuals on any territory, which brings into question the right to national regulation. Therefore, seeing as drones can be used as a defensive/offensive weapon, the United Nations arguably has no right to infringe on a nation’s sovereignty to protect its own citizens. The struggle between this sovereignty and a lack of consensus has resulted in no international laws today regarding military drone regulation. Since no one can make a clear decision on what the uses and reasons for drones, it has made it very difficult to create any new regulations on this topic. They are such a new development in today’s international community which also makes it more difficult to have clear consensus. On October 2013, the Social Humanitarian and Cultural Committee discussed how drone usage can affect basic human rights in order to facilitate international collaboration. The UNHCR has the right to investigate accidents involving any deaths related to drones, and this branch has the power to set a precedent for regulation in the future. To date, the United Nations still has no multilateral agreement/resolution regarding the future of drones as it pertains to security and military means.
European bloc: The European bloc recognizes that unmanned aircraft has the potential for high-paying jobs and increased security. In fact, the production of drones produce over 10 euros per year. As of late, European Commission’s member states are attempting to create a risk-and-performance regulatory framework with a universal standard for risk level. The Warsaw Declaration regularly updates safety procedures of “U-Space” and creates safety settings, such as “comment and control” or “sensor and avoid.” Europe believes that drones are important for national security and economy. It hopes to create a uniform set of drone laws without hampering the possibility of invention and innovation.
African bloc: The majority of Africa’s access to drones comes from the United States AFRICOM force, and there are an estimated 14 drone bases across the region. In this situation, unmanned aircraft is necessary for security reasons; more specifically, forces use technology to track resistance groups in areas like northern Uganda and Somalia. This bloc believes that drones are a ‘necessary evil’ in order to maintain safety and gather intelligence about counterinsurgency enemies. It is primarily concerned with civilian protection against violent terrorist groups like Al-Shabaab. However, critics within the bloc reason that drones may appropriate mass killings and a violation of national sovereignty. Overall, Africa is willing to take measures in order to ensure political stability within the region.
North American Bloc: The North American bloc plays a key role in the usage of unmanned aircraft, and power countries such as the United States see it as an absolute necessity to reinstate order internationally. According to Micah Zenko in the Center for Preventive Action (CPA), drones are not drawbacks but in fact heavily influential on national military tactics. The bloc defends its actions by ensuring that specific militant hotspots are identified, so it is not meant to impose on any nation’s sovereignty. Although this bloc recognizes that regulation is necessary in order to prevent terrorist groups from receiving these resources themselves, it is considered essential in a state of warfare/conflict to have access to this intelligence.
South American Bloc: Generally, South American countries allows for drone regulation, but most require a Certification of Operation. Many countries such as Trinidad and Tobago require unmanned vehicles to respect no-fly zones, especially near airports and populated areas. However, few countries have higher standards and regulation. South America on the whole has a lack of legal framework due to later technological advancements, which has led to controversies and unsettled deaths. This region mainly supports its usage for recreation, agricultural monitoring, protest filming media, and surveillance. Though it is true that technology has positively advanced the region, this bloc heavily considers how the exponential advancements may affect international relations in the future.
Asian-Pacific Bloc: The Asia-Pacific region recognizes and embraces the increasing popularity of recreational drone use; however, as outlined in the 7th Meeting of the Asia Pacific Regional Aviation Safety Team, unrestricted use may lead to property damage, privacy invasion, and a threat of international security. Currently, many Asian countries are concerned with drone usage because of the South China Sea controversy, in which the Philippines, China, Malaysia, and Vietnam claim to have historical ownership of the land (“nine-dash line” controversy). Should any country use drones in this area, this could raise a question of who invaded whose sovereignty. Security concerns are prevalent, having found multiple American drones on Chinese soil. All in all, the bloc believes in protecting national sovereignty as it pertains to security and legal property ownership.
Questions to Consider
How can the United Nations draw a distinction between security surveillance and a violation of another nation’s sovereignty?
To what extent does national conflict constitute drone usage for safety reasons? For example, is it legal for the United States to use drones in Syria for the purpose of terrorist tracking?
How can the General Assembly’s resolution regarding a right to national sovereignty pose a conflict when writing a multilateral agreement on drone regulation?
How has unmanned aircraft threatened the safety of individual citizens, and how does it have the potential to harm them in the future?
How does Article 2 and 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affect the interpretation of drone regulation?
Background Despite a significant decrease in power of the terrorist group ISIS, military conflict in Syria continues today and causes several nations to be at war indirectly. Major conflict began in March 2011, where protests for a free tyranny government in Damascus led to a mass shooting. Various countries have become involved in the environment because of economic sanctions, national security, and political control within the region. While the United States supported anti-government forces like the Free Syrian Army with weapons, training, and money, Russia and Iran supported Assad with several tanks, thousands of troops, and extensive amount of armory. These key differences in policy has prevented a cohesive solution from developing. Currently, few of the most powerful countries spend nearly $15 million/day on Syrian involvement, funding for missiles, airstrikes, military personnel, and armory. Major obstacles in resolving this issue is the issue of civilian safety and national sovereignty violations. Ultimately, the international community is obligated to resolve this issue for the purpose of international security and human rights protection, leading to multiple discussions by the United Nations regarding the alleviation of violence.
United Nations Involvement: Military involvement in Syria has become an increasingly more pressing matter for the United Nations. In the 1973 Geneva Conference in Switzerland, many nations united to discuss a peaceful and politically correct plan of action. Demand for discussion on this issue has arisen due to Syria’s more severe violation of human rights, making it possible to affect international security. Primarily, the United Nations is concerned with taking any military action in areas where civilians are present; this becomes an issue when terrorist groups like ISIS forms tactics like inhabiting areas with civilian hostages. Another important point stressed by Security Council is the popular use of chemical warfare in this region. In fact, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2118 in 2013, which focuses on removing Syria’s chemical stockpile through multilateral action. From this, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was created, ensuring the eradication of chemical weaponry through economic sanctions and diplomatic force.The goal is to maintain diplomacy as opposed to violence in order to minimize the number of casualties in the region.
European bloc: The European region first and foremostly supports immediate humanitarian aid to the Syrian civilians in a timely, efficient manner. In addition to this short term resolution, it is vital to this bloc that human rights violators are tried for their war crimes on the International Court of Justice (ICJ). One key point to decrease military conflict in Syria is to weaken the force of terrorist groups; in order to achieve this, the European Union supports the UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which focuses on strengthening political opposition. Europe supports increased political dialogue, immediate humanitarian aid, and autonomous sanctions on dangerous terrorist groups in order to alleviate violence in Syria.
African bloc: As the continent with the most military interventions within the United Nations, the African Union understands that military force has the capability of escalating the problem even further. Although not completely opposed to military force when blatantly required, Africa advocates for a more diplomatic approach, such as the Resilience Development Forum that peacefully discussed valid resolutions in 2015. Possible policies that each African country may support include aid from intergovernmental/non-governmental organizations and private sector funding. This bloc is generally distrustful of the powerful nations and, as a result, hopes to seek multilateral action against chemical warfare and military conflict in Syria.
North American Bloc: The North American region is one of the greatest allies to Syria in times of military conflict, and many forces are estimated to stay long past any terrorist conflict. This bloc believes in the use of absolute force through air strikes, drones, and specialized forces on the ground. Powerful countries in the region such as the United States has pressured Iran to confront Syria about the displacement of ISIS and al-Qaeda fighters. It is important to note that prior to 2014, peace negotiations with terrorist leader Assad were attempted, but it lead to inefficiency and lack of action. Therefore, this region strongly supports local partnerships that secures military protection in conflict-prone areas such as Raqqa (former ISIS capital).
South American Bloc: South America’s main focus is tied to the death of innocent civilians due to unnecessary military force exerted. This region mainly advocates for special conventions for the purpose of peace talks (General Assembly Resolution 2254). In addition to humanitarian aid, the bloc believes that in order to alleviate military conflicts, political reform must be discussed through constant communication. Lastly, this region generally agrees to eradicate the use of chemical weapons in military conflict in the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, seeing as the majority of these regional countries are signatories to anti-chemical-weapon resolutions. Solutions that are supported include international cooperation, humanitarian aid, and political restructuring that prevents chemical warfare and corruption.
Asian-Pacific Bloc: Much of the Asian bloc has kept a position of non-interference, avoiding direct contact with the conflict. However, powerful countries such as China have expressed disapproval of economic sanctions on Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. In the past, Asian countries have praised those launching airstrikes on rebel-controlled areas in response to terrorism attacks. Currently, Asia has expressed intent to provide unilateral humanitarian aid and personnel training in order to ensure a soft power military approach. However, there are concerns within this bloc, seeing that they are the biggest supplier of nuclear weapons and international arms; this may be a problem in the Syrian military conflict because they may be selling terrorists weapons. The Asian-Pacific bloc is likely to support resolutions that entail airstrikes, civilian aid, and troop training; however, they advocate for the continuation of chemical warfare in order to uphold its economic stability.
Questions to Consider
To what extent does the United Nations have the capability to ensure safety of Syrian citizens? According to your country policy, to what extent should the UN do so?
How can non-governmental or intergovernmental organizations alleviate the conflict in ways that the United Nations cannot?
To what extent will economic sanctions be beneficial in this conflict? Hurtful?
How does the international arms trade come into play with this conflict? How can the severity of the issue be eradicated or diminished?