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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Heated Debate in the Human Rights Committee

The Human Rights Committee in session
Tensions escalated in the Human Rights Committee yesterday afternoon as delegates confronted each other on their respective country’s human rights violations during a debate addressing the resolution submitted by the delegate of China on the topic of government responses to civilian protests.

The ensuing debate, which started out as an amicable exchange of ideas between the delegates, soon became charged. Representatives of the Human Rights Watch – joined in by several other delegates present at the committee – questioned the authenticity of the resolution submitted by the delegate of China. They pointed out that the nation’s state-run media, restricted access to social networking and video sharing internet sites, detainment of journalists, and the infamous Tienanmen Square Incident all illustrate that although China seemingly takes human rights seriously in the UN, it certainly does not take it seriously at home. China countered by stating that, in regards to state-run media and limitations on the freedom of expression, is to ensure “…security…[and] efficiency…,” while also preventing a “disharmonious society.”

A number of for and against speeches also sparked impassioned debate between delegates. After delivering an against speech in which she expressed the fact that the resolution was full of holes and “fails to address innocent citizens…police brutality…[and] the potential of corruption” – among other things – the delegate of Greece was challenged by the delegates of Cuba and Burkina Faso. They directed the committee’s attention to Greece’s own problems with rampant corruption and police brutality, respectively, after the delegate of Greece pointed out China’s “poor human rights background.” In another against speech, the delegate of the USA proclaimed the atrocities that are inflicted by the Syrian government and asserted that on the issues of protest, the committee must not put trust in nations such as Venezuela, Cuba, and Syria. In the end, the delegate of the USA was denied points of information from the committee chairs.

In turn, the delegate of Venezuela supported the delegate of China’s resolution, stating that developing countries are “plagued by the constant interference of western imperialists....” This for speech brought criticisms of Venezuela’s credibility by the delegates of the U.S.A. and Israel.

Of course, this conference is only a simulation: the delegates on the Human Rights Committee were able to exit the room in one piece and without a scratch.

-Philip K. (12)

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