Newswire Articles2019-03-12T09:28:50+00:00

Overview

  • Multilingual News

    • News on UNSC – by Karina Blommen
      • Record auction: 1.2 million US dollars for stolen Syrian art
      • Accusation of Colonialism and Confusion in the UNSC
      • Ineffectiveness in the Yemen Debate: Dispute in the UNSC
    • News on ECLAC – by Luis Aizpuru
  • News on NATO – by Zoltan D’Haese

  • News on WHO – by Lorencia Poçi

    • Yemeni Civil War: the ignored humanitarian crisis  
    • WHO’s Getting into the Debate?
    • WHO’s Pro or Contra-ceptives?
    • WHO would care? Life isn’t fair.
  • News on WMO – by Lucas Wagener

  • News on IOM – by Remzi Can Yavuz 

    • Of Aeneas and Migration  
    • Illegal Immigration and the Question of Deportation: An intercultural Approach
    • The Importance of Being Earnest: on Data, Dating & Matching

Multilingual News

AUCTION HOUSE CHRISTIE‘S – AUKTIONSHAUS CHRISTIE‘S

Record auction: 1.2 million US dollars for stolen Syrian art

Rekord-Versteigerung: 1,2 Millionen US-Dollar für geraubte syrische Kunst

by Karina Blommen
reporter on the UNSC

Yesterday on Sunday afternoon, the traditional London auction house Christie’s achieved a record- breaking sales hit. For over 1.2 million US dollars, an antique tomb figure was auctioned off to an anonymous buyer. According to art experts, this tomb figure is supposed to come from the Syrian city of Palmyra, where it was looted by terrorists and illegally sold to auctioneers who sell the art and antiquities in Western countries.

Only a few days before the meeting of the UN Security Council, which will also deal with the subject of ‘Looting and destruction of cultural property’ in Leuven, the auction house now has to deal with fierce criticism from representatives of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Resto- ration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) and numerous art experts from all over the world.

In a press statement, the UNSC representative of the British government commented on the incident:

„The government is taking the incident very seriously and has assigned the case to its special police force, the art and antiques unit. We clearly condemn any form of art crime and are currently investi- gating on the details. The priority now is to catch the perpetrators in order to prevent future art crimes from happening. Having ratified The Hague convention of 1954, we show absolute commitment to the protection of cultural property.”

The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict is an international treaty concluded in 1954 with the aim of protecting cultural property against destruction, damage, theft and looting during war or armed conflict.

Palmyra, from which the tomb figure, auctioned by Christie’s, allegedly originates, is a symbol for the extent of the barbaric destruction of historical sites in the Middle East. Since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War, the terrorist organization Daesh, also known as the ‘Islamic State’, has repeatedly damaged religious and cultural sites such as the Baal Temple and the Roman Tetraphylon in Palmyra. Further- more, the terrorists beheaded Khaled Asaad, the city’s chief archaeologist. The now destroyed Pal- myra, which was one of the most beautiful cities in ancient times, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Aurora Hamm, Chair of the UNSC in KULMUN and art history student at the University of Vienna, ex- pressed her concerns about the sale of art and antiques from war and conflict-ridden regions of the world. She compared the incident at the auction house with the purchase of diamonds from the Congo:

„Not only are they indirectly financing criminal and terroristic activities, they are also often directly sullied by blood.“

But why do terrorists destroy or steal cultural assets? „Terrorists such as Daesh or Al-Quaida hate eve- rything they consider non-Islamic, but they are not stupid enough not to see the monetary value of them. For their PR they might blow up a few walls of Roman cities, but anything moveable will be sold to further finance their activities”, Hamm explained. At the same time, she criticized the way govern- ments deal with the situation: „In comparison to arms or drugs sales, the world has been incredibly slow to react accordingly to this, and art crime has systematically been underestimated.”

Her hope, and that of many others, for the UNSC meeting in Leuven is that terrorism financing through art will be combatted and that cooperation between states on the international prosecution of art crimes and on the control of art and antiques markets will be improved. It remains to be seen whether the delegates will be able to find a compromise and overcome the interests of national governments and lobbyists.

Am gestrigen Sonntagnachmittag erreichte das traditionsreiche Londoner Auktionshaus Christie‘s einen rekordverdächtigen Verkaufsschlager. Für über 1,2 Millionen US Dollar wurde eine antike Grabfigur an einen anonymen Käufer versteigert. Diese soll, so vermuten Kunstexperten, aus dem syrischen Palmyra stammen.

Nur wenige Tage vor dem Treffen des UN-Sicherheitsrates, der sich in Leuven auch mit dem Thema ‚Loo- ting and destruction of cultural property‘ auseinandersetzen wird, sorgte die Versteigerung für heftige Kritik vonseiten Vertretern vom International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) und vonseiten zahlreicher Kunstexperten aus der ganzen Welt.

In einem Pressestatement äußerte sich die UNSC-Vertreterin der britischen Regierung zu dem Vorfall:„Die Regierung nimmt den Vorfall sehr ernst und hat den Fall an die Abteilung für Kunst- und Antiquitäten bei der Polizei übergeben. Wir verurteilen eindeutig jede Form von Kunstkriminalität und untersuchen derzeit die Details des Vorfalls. Jetzt geht es darum, die Täter zu fassen, um zukünftige Kunstverbrechen zu verhindern. Mit der Ratifizierung des Haager Übereinkommens von 1954 zeigen wir unser absolutes Engagement für den Schutz von Kulturgütern.”

Die Haager Konvention zum Schutz von Kulturgut bei bewaffneten Konflikten ist ein völkerrechtlicher Vertrag, der 1954 mit dem Ziel abgeschlossen wurde, Kulturgut während eines Krieges oder bewaffneten Konfliktes vor Zerstörung oder Beschädigung sowie Diebstahl und Plünderung zu schützen.

Palmyra, aus dem angeblich die von Christie’s versteigerte Grabfigur stammt, ist Sinnbild für die Ausmaße der barbarischen Zerstörung historischer Stätten im Nahen und Mittleren Osten. Seit Beginn des syri-schen Bürgerkriegs beschädigte die Terrororganisation Daesh, auch bekannt unter dem Namen ‚Islami- scher Staat‘, immer wieder religiöse und kulturelle Stätten, so zum Beispiel den Baal-Tempel und das aus der Römerzeit stammende Tetraphylon in Palmyra. Zudem enthaupteten die Terroristen Khaled Asaad, den Chef-Archäologen der Stadt. Das zerstörte Palmyra, welches in der Antike zu einer der schönsten Städte zählte, gehört zum UNESCO-Weltkulturerbe.

Auch Aurora Hamm, Chair des UNSC in KULMUN und Studentin der Kunstgeschichte an der Universität Wien, äußerte sich besorgt über den Verkauf von Kunst und Antiquitäten aus von Kriegen und Konflikten geprägten Regionen der Erde. Sie verglich den Vorfall im Auktionshaus mit dem Kauf von Diamanten aus dem Kongo: „Sie finanzieren nicht nur indirekt kriminelle und terroristische Aktivitäten, sondern sind auch oft direkt mit Blut besudelt.” Doch wieso zerstören oder rauben Terroristen Kulturgut? „Terroristen wie Daesh oder Al-Quaida hassen alles, was sie für nicht-islamisch halten, aber sie sind nicht so unklug, dass sie den finanziellen Wert des Kulturguts nicht zu sehen. Für ihre öffentliche Darstellung könnten sie ein paar Mauern römischer Städte sprengen, aber alle möglichen Kunstwerke oder Figuren werden ver- kauft, um terroristische Aktivitäten weiter zu finanzieren”, so Hamm. Gleichzeitig kritisierte sie den Um- gang der Regierungen mit der Situation: „Im Vergleich zum Waffen- oder Drogenhandel hat die Welt unglaublich langsam reagiert, und die Kunstkriminalität wurde systematisch unterschätzt.”

Ihre und die Hoffnung vieler weiterer an die UNSC-Sitzung in Leuven ist es, dass die Terrorismusfinanzie- rung durch Kunst bekämpft wird und die Zusammenarbeit der Staaten zur internationalen Strafverfol- gung von Kunstkriminalität sowie zur Kontrolle der Kunst- und Antiquitätenmärkte verbessert wird. Es bleibt abzuwarten, ob die Delegierten einen Kompromiss finden, und die nationalen Interessen der Lob- byisten überwunden werden können.1

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1 Die Zitate wurden von der Verfasserin des Artikels frei übersetzt.

Accusation of Colonialism and Confusion in the UNSC

Kolonialismus-Vorwürfe und Verwirrung im UN-Sicherheitsrat

by Karina Blommen
reporter on the UNSC

There is great confusion in the Leuven Security Council: Should Syrian cultural assets be given to France for storage and protection against destruction? The Western states feel attacked by the Peruvian accusation of neo-colonialism. Iran reassures the French delegate, who secretly but surely would like to preserve the Syrian cultural assets (for pure protective measures and educational purposes – of course!). It is only the western states that are upset about colonialism, the eastern states have not expressed themselves at all on the subject, according to the Iranian delegate. Although the states agree on the first day of the debates that the illegal sale of works of art and the plundering of cultural sites destroy both the security policy environment and the human cultural heritage, there is great disagreement among the delegates on the question of the implementation of protective measures. The question of so-called ‘safe havens’ is being debated for hours, but remains without results and is to be postponed for the time being. The British idea of a forum in which representatives of politics, science and art can exchange best practices on the recognition and protection of illegal works of art and artefacts has remained uncommented. The fact that British auction houses such as Christie’s or Sotheby’s are making millions in revenue from the auctioning of illegal works of art in Great Britain doesn’t seem to interest anyone at first. Generally, in the vague debate, it is still questionable who should finance the measures: UNESCO? The affected states, which are, however, at war? The rich states, which could gain rights to the artworks through their own financing? It can be doubted, so the impression after the first hours, that the delegates will come to more promising results than those of the very vague formulations in earlier resolutions – fitting to the question of the UNSC chair: “Which delegates would like to SLEEP?”

Es herrscht große Verwirrung im Löwener Sicherheitsrat: Sollen syrische Kulturgüter zur Aufbewahrung und zum Schutz vor Zerstörung nach Frankreich gegeben werden? Die westlichen Staaten fühlen sich angegriffen vom peruanischen Vorwurf des Neo-Kolonialismus. Iran beruhigt den französischen Delegierten, der insgeheim aber sicherlich gerne die syrischen Kulturgüter (zu reinen Schutzmaßnahmen und Bildungszwecken – selbstverständlich!) aufbewahren wollen würde. Es seien nur die westlichen Staaten, die sich über den Kolonialismus aufregen, die östlichen Staaten hätten sich gar nicht zum Thema geäußert, so der iranische Delegierte. Zwar sind sich die Staaten am ersten Tag der Debatten darüber einig, dass die illegalen Verkäufe von Kunstgütern und Plünderung von Kulturstätten sowohl das sicherheitspolitische Umfeld als auch das menschliche und kulturelle Erbe zerstören, über die Frage nach einer Implementierung von Schutzmaßnahmen herrscht aber große Uneinigkeit in den Reihen der Delegierten. Die Frage nach den sogenannten ‚safe havens‘ wird stundenlang debattiert, bleibt aber ohne Resultate und soll zunächst vertagt werden. Im Raum stehengeblieben ist die britische Idee eines Forums, in dem sich die Vertreter von Politik, Wissenschaft und Kunst über die ‚best practices‘ der Staaten zur Erkennung und zum Schutz von illegalen Kunstgütern und Artefakten austauschen können. Dass in Großbritannien mit der Versteigerung illegaler Kunstgüter die britischen Auktionshäuser wie Christie’s oder Sotheby‘s Einnahmen in Millionenhöhe machen, scheint zunächst niemanden zu interessieren. Fraglich ist in der vagen Debatte weiterhin, wer die Maßnahmen finanzieren soll: die UNESCO? Die betroffenen Staaten, die sich allerdings im Krieg befinden? Die reichen Staaten, die durch eigene Finanzierung Rechte an den Kunstwerken ergaunern könnten? Es lässt sich bezweifeln, so der Eindruck nach den ersten Stunden, dass die Delegierten zu substantiellen Ergebnissen kommen, anstatt lediglich die sehr vagen Formulierungen in früheren Resolutionen zu wiederholen – passend zur Frage des UNSC-Chairs: „Which delegates would like to SLEEP?!“

Ineffectiveness in the Yemen Debate: Dispute in the UNSC

Ineffektivität in der Jemen-Debatte: Streit im UNSC

by Karina Blommen
reporter on the UNSC

Following today’s UNSC debate on the situation in Yemen,

the call for reforms of the most important UN body is likely to become even louder. Despite the successful and unanimous adoption of the resolution on the protection of cultural assets in crisis areas, the UNSC’s ineffectiveness has become apparent today, in addition to the accusation of undermining underrepresented regions. “Once we start talking about the implementation, everyone is disagreeing”, according to the German delegate at the beginning of the session. At this point, it had not yet been clear that the improvement of sanctions and the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement as actual tasks of the UNSC should remain largely unaffected today. While Peru and Germany called for stronger cooperation, competing resolutions are now threatened by vetoes of the competing p5 powers, especially from Russia and the United States.

Since the capture of the capital Sanaa in 2014, Yemen has been at war, resulting in a catastrophic hunger crisis. At that time, Iran-backed Houthi rebels had ousted the government. Since 2015, Saudi Arabia, also supported by the USA, Great Britain and France, has led the fight against the Houthi rebels with a military alliance. Meanwhile, Iran and Russia reject military interventions. The bilateral disagreements between Iran and Saudi Arabia took up most of the debate and led to a dispute throughout the UNSC. “All the countries of the UNSC are all working together, but the Islamic Republic of Iran is constantly disseminating insinuations and spreading fake news”, the Saudi Arabian delegate said. Mutual accusations, mostly bilateral, not only led to a destructive exchange of ideas, but also significantly worsened the overall atmosphere of the Council, despite the presence of numerous cooperating states. Delegates were trading barbs with each other. Iran countered in a press statement: “[Saudi Arabia, editor’s note] doesn’t only lack all respect for international law and human rights, but also basic diplomatic conduct.”

Today, delegates of the UNSC in general lacked diplomatic behaviour. It remains to be seen whether they will arrive at a constructive, further-reaching result in the coming final hours of the conference. For the suffering population in Yemen, it is desirable that aid be delivered as quickly as possible and that the Stockholm Agreement will be implemented as soon as possible.

Nach der heutigen UNSC-Debatte über die Situation im Jemen dürfte der Ruf nach Reformationen des wichtigsten UN-Gremiums noch lauter werden. Trotz erfolgreicher und einstimmiger Annahme der Resolution zum Schutz von Kulturgütern in Krisengebieten offenbarte sich heute neben dem Vorwurf der Untergrabung von unterrepräsentierten Regionen insbesondere die Ineffektivität des UNSC. „Sobald wir anfangen, über die Implementierung [von Maßnahmen, Anm. der Redaktion] zu sprechen, sind alle anderer Meinung“, so der deutsche Delegierte bereits zu Anfang der Sitzung, als noch nicht abzusehen war, dass die Verbesserung von Sanktionsmaßnahmen und die Implementierung des Stockholm Agreements als eigentliche Aufgaben des UNSC heute größtenteils unberührt bleiben sollte. Während sich Peru und Deutschland in der Debatte für stärkere Kooperation aussprachen, drohen späteren konkurrierenden Resolutionen nun jeweils Vetos der konkurrierender p5-Mächte, insbesondere vonseiten Russlands und den Vereinigten Staaten.

Seit der Einnahme der Hauptstadt Sanaa im Jahre 2014 herrscht im Jemen Krieg, welcher zusätzlich in eine katastrophale Hungerkrise resultierte. Damals hatten vom Iran gestützte Huthi-Rebellen die Regierung verdrängt. Seit 2015 führt das auch von den USA, Großbritannien und Frankreich unterstützte Saudi-Arabien mit einer Militärallianz den Kampf gegen die Huthi-Rebellen an. Iran und Russland lehnen derweil Militärinterventionen ab.

So nahmen die bilateralen Uneinigkeiten zwischen Iran und Saudi-Arabien den Großteil der Debatte ein und führten zu einem Streit im gesamten UNSC. „Alle Länder des UN-Sicherheitsrates arbeiten zusammen, aber die Islamische Republik Iran verbreitet ständig Unterstellungen und verbreitet gefälschte Nachrichten“, so der Vorwurf Saudi-Arabiens. Gegenseitige, meist bilaterale Anschuldigungen und verbale Schlagabtausche führten nicht nur zu einem destruktiven Ideenaustausch, sondern verschlechterten die Gesamtatmosphäre des Rates erheblich, trotz der Anwesenheit zahlreicher kooperierender Staaten. Iran konterte in einem Pressestatement: „[Saudi-Arabien, Anm. der Redaktion] fehlt nicht nur die uneingeschränkte Achtung des Völkerrechts und der Menschenrechte, sondern auch ein grundlegendes diplomatisches Verhalten.“

Diplomatisches Verhalten war heute eine fehlende Attitude im Leuvener UNSC. Ob die Delegierten in den kommenden letzten Stunden der Konferenz noch zu einem konstruktiven, weiterführenden Ergebnis kommen werden, bleibt abzuwarten. Für die notleidende Bevölkerung im Jemen ist es wünschenswert, dass Hilfslieferungen schnellstmöglich ankommen und das Stockholm Agreement schnellstmöglich umgesetzt wird.

E Pluribus Unum: Out of Many, One

by Karina Blommen
reporter on the UNSC

Following today’s UNSC debate on the situation in Yemen,

the call for reforms of the most important UN body is likely to become even louder. Despite the successful and unanimous adoption of the resolution on the protection of cultural assets in crisis areas, the UNSC’s ineffectiveness has become apparent today, in addition to the accusation of undermining underrepresented regions. “Once we start talking about the implementation, everyone is disagreeing”, according to the German delegate at the beginning of the session. At this point, it had not yet been clear that the improvement of sanctions and the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement as actual tasks of the UNSC should remain largely unaffected today. While Peru and Germany called for stronger cooperation, competing resolutions are now threatened by vetoes of the competing p5 powers, especially from Russia and the United States.

Since the capture of the capital Sanaa in 2014, Yemen has been at war, resulting in a catastrophic hunger crisis. At that time, Iran-backed Houthi rebels had ousted the government. Since 2015, Saudi Arabia, also supported by the USA, Great Britain and France, has led the fight against the Houthi rebels with a military alliance. Meanwhile, Iran and Russia reject military interventions. The bilateral disagreements between Iran and Saudi Arabia took up most of the debate and led to a dispute throughout the UNSC. “All the countries of the UNSC are all working together, but the Islamic Republic of Iran is constantly disseminating insinuations and spreading fake news”, the Saudi Arabian delegate said. Mutual accusations, mostly bilateral, not only led to a destructive exchange of ideas, but also significantly worsened the overall atmosphere of the Council, despite the presence of numerous cooperating states. Delegates were trading barbs with each other. Iran countered in a press statement: “[Saudi Arabia, editor’s note] doesn’t only lack all respect for international law and human rights, but also basic diplomatic conduct.”

Today, delegates of the UNSC in general lacked diplomatic behaviour. It remains to be seen whether they will arrive at a constructive, further-reaching result in the coming final hours of the conference. For the suffering population in Yemen, it is desirable that aid be delivered as quickly as possible and that the Stockholm Agreement will be implemented as soon as possible.

Nach der heutigen UNSC-Debatte über die Situation im Jemen dürfte der Ruf nach Reformationen des wichtigsten UN-Gremiums noch lauter werden. Trotz erfolgreicher und einstimmiger Annahme der Resolution zum Schutz von Kulturgütern in Krisengebieten offenbarte sich heute neben dem Vorwurf der Untergrabung von unterrepräsentierten Regionen insbesondere die Ineffektivität des UNSC. „Sobald wir anfangen, über die Implementierung [von Maßnahmen, Anm. der Redaktion] zu sprechen, sind alle anderer Meinung“, so der deutsche Delegierte bereits zu Anfang der Sitzung, als noch nicht abzusehen war, dass die Verbesserung von Sanktionsmaßnahmen und die Implementierung des Stockholm Agreements als eigentliche Aufgaben des UNSC heute größtenteils unberührt bleiben sollte. Während sich Peru und Deutschland in der Debatte für stärkere Kooperation aussprachen, drohen späteren konkurrierenden Resolutionen nun jeweils Vetos der konkurrierender p5-Mächte, insbesondere vonseiten Russlands und den Vereinigten Staaten.

Seit der Einnahme der Hauptstadt Sanaa im Jahre 2014 herrscht im Jemen Krieg, welcher zusätzlich in eine katastrophale Hungerkrise resultierte. Damals hatten vom Iran gestützte Huthi-Rebellen die Regierung verdrängt. Seit 2015 führt das auch von den USA, Großbritannien und Frankreich unterstützte Saudi-Arabien mit einer Militärallianz den Kampf gegen die Huthi-Rebellen an. Iran und Russland lehnen derweil Militärinterventionen ab.

So nahmen die bilateralen Uneinigkeiten zwischen Iran und Saudi-Arabien den Großteil der Debatte ein und führten zu einem Streit im gesamten UNSC. „Alle Länder des UN-Sicherheitsrates arbeiten zusammen, aber die Islamische Republik Iran verbreitet ständig Unterstellungen und verbreitet gefälschte Nachrichten“, so der Vorwurf Saudi-Arabiens. Gegenseitige, meist bilaterale Anschuldigungen und verbale Schlagabtausche führten nicht nur zu einem destruktiven Ideenaustausch, sondern verschlechterten die Gesamtatmosphäre des Rates erheblich, trotz der Anwesenheit zahlreicher kooperierender Staaten. Iran konterte in einem Pressestatement: „[Saudi-Arabien, Anm. der Redaktion] fehlt nicht nur die uneingeschränkte Achtung des Völkerrechts und der Menschenrechte, sondern auch ein grundlegendes diplomatisches Verhalten.“

Diplomatisches Verhalten war heute eine fehlende Attitude im Leuvener UNSC. Ob die Delegierten in den kommenden letzten Stunden der Konferenz noch zu einem konstruktiven, weiterführenden Ergebnis kommen werden, bleibt abzuwarten. Für die notleidende Bevölkerung im Jemen ist es wünschenswert, dass Hilfslieferungen schnellstmöglich ankommen und das Stockholm Agreement schnellstmöglich umgesetzt wird.

A New Economic and Humanitarian Paradigm for Venezuela

Un Nuevo Paradigma Económico y Humanitario Para Venezuela

Hay una discusión en el CEPAL con respecto a las posibles medidas que este comité podrían llevar a cabo para enmendar el desastre en Venezuela. La hiperinflación del Bolívar Venezolano es uno de los mayores problemas que afecta a la población. Por ejemplo, la República Argentina presentó una iniciativa para la dolarización de la economía con el objetivo de brindar confianza y estabilidad, aunque sea temporalmente.  Sin embargo, existe un gran escepticismo con respecto a si el régimen de Maduro aceptaría esta iniciativa dada la constante retórica anti-americana. Por supuesto, ciertos países han presionado para poder lograr una agenda mucho más agresiva ya que quieren obtener ciertas concesiones políticas.

La pregunta que surge es si este comité quiere adoptar una perspectiva a corto plazo o a largo plazo. Al primer grupo de países les gustaría ver primero una estabilización económica para Venezuela para luego dar atención a los aspectos políticos y humanitarios de la crisis. Por otra parte, a países como Argentina y Brasil les gustaría ver nuevas elecciones. Ellos argumentan que solamente una solución democrática le permitiría obtener al país obtener ayuda financiera del FMI. De igual manera, la crisis migratoria es de extrema relevancia dado que 3 millones de venezolanos han salido de su país en los pasados años. La prensa seguirá cubriendo los eventos de este comité y esta ansiosa de saber que perspectiva será adoptada por el CEPAL.

by Luis Lauro Aizpuru Vargas
Reporter on the ECLAC

There is a current discussion in ECLAC regarding the possible measures this committee could take to tackle the economic disaster in Venezuela. The hyperinflation of the Venezuelan Bolivar is indeed one of the major problems that greatly affects the population. For example, the Argentine Republic brought forth an initiative for the dollarization of the economy in order to bring temporary confidence and stability to the economy. Nonetheless, there is huge skepticism if the current regime would indeed welcome this initiative given their recurring anti-American rhetoric. Of course, there are certain countries that push for a more aggressive agenda and they want to get political concession out of it.

The question arises then if this committee wants to take a short-term or long-term perspective for the crisis. The first group of countries would like to see an economic stabilization of the country to then address the political and humanitarian aspects of the crisis. On the other hand, countries like Argentina and Brazil would like to see new elections to happen in the country. They argue that a democratic solution would be the only way to escape from the current situation because it would potentially allow the country to get access to an IMF bailout. Moreover, the migrant crisis is of extreme relevance given that the countries of this committee have welcomed more than 3 million Venezuelan migrants in the past few years. The press will continue to cover the events happening in this committee and is eager to see which perspective is adopted.

A Pragmatic Approach is Needed

Un Enfoque Pragmático es Necesario

Uno de los efectos secundarios de la crisis humanitaria en Venezuela ha sido la gran diáspora de migrantes en la región. Esto ha puesto una gran presión en los servicios púbicos de los países anfitriones. Por ejemplo, el tema de la educación ha sido discutido por los miembros del CEPAL. Hubo un intercambio apasionado de diferentes aspectos del tema. Por ejemplo, en quien habría cubrir los costos de dichos servicios educativos o de que sistema debería de ser adoptado. Esta ciertamente fue una conversación muy interesante y aunque hubo desacuerdos de ciertos detalles específicos hubo un consenso general con respecto a brindar ayuda a los migrantes venezolanos, especialmente a los niños y niñas.

page1image41453184Picture: On the streets in Venezuela

Posteriormente, hubo una discusión respecto a la posibilidad de diversificar la economía venezolana. Dada que existe una dependencia enorme de las exportaciones petroleras esta parece ser una idea razonable. Sin embargo, este parece ser un enfoque muy idealista que abiertamente ignora la situación geopolítica existente. Con una crisis constitucional teniendo lugar hoy en día y con una posible guerra civil a la vuelta de la esquina esta discusión para estar fuera de lugar. Esperamos que los delegados adopten un enfoque más pragmático que pueda llevar a Venezuela a resolver sus problemas económicos.

by Luis Lauro Aizpuru Vargas
Reporter on the ECLAC

One of the main side effects of the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela has been the huge migrant diaspora
in the region. This has put an enormous strain on the public services of their host countries. For instance,
the issue of education has been brought up by some of the member states of ECLAC. There was a heated debate on many angles of this issue. For example, who would pay for the education services or which type of system would be adopted. This certainly was an interesting conversation and naturally there were disagreements about the specific details but in general there was an overall agreement on helping Venezuelan migrants in this regard.

Secondly, there was a significant conversation taking place regarding the possibility of diversification of the Venezuelan economy. Given that there is such an enormous dependency on oil exports this seems like a reasonable idea. Nonetheless, this looks like a very idealistic approach that overtly ignores the current geopolitical turmoil of the country. With a constitutional crisis going on and a civil war around the corner it seems that the discussion is out of touch with reality. We hope that the delegates adopt a more pragmatic approach that would realistically allow V enezuela to alleviate its economic struggles.

Troubles in NATOland  

by Zoltan d’Haese
Reporter on the NATO

NATO is being apathetic. In times of increasing tension, unknown enemies and a fast-changing disrupted world, NATO needs to change their working structure to a more adaptable and flexible configuration. In light of this, some action is already being taken: The Strategic Concept of 2010 and the NATO Response Force which is a highly prepared and technologically advanced force comprising all military components. Next to this, NATO has also been trying to work closer together with other organizations, most notably the European Union (EU).

Despite all these proceedings extra change is needed. This is hard. Like every big organization NATO is subjected to the 2nd law of Newton. Which states that a lot of energy is needed to perform a change in direction. This energy is non-existing in the debate at the moment. Contradictions and opposition are the mean themes of the debate. A perfect example is the erupted quarrel between the delegates of the kingdom of Norway and the USA about the pay gap between different countries. Norway doesn’t apply to the 2% rule but there are other ways to pay for the Atlantic alliance for example with development aid or with the blood of our people, the delegate said.

A lot of work still needs to be done: Will there be an exclusion mechanism for discordant nation states? Is the coalition of the willing feasible in the present political climate? What about the increasing silence of the delegate of the USA? Will he perform a Judas act at the end of day? Questions are asked, answers will be given!

WHO’s getting into the debate?

by Lorencia Poçi
Reporter on the WHO

The WHO decided to stay on agenda and start with their first topic: maternal health and mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa. Immediately Botswana opened the debate, but it soon came down to western countries being not favorable to pumping more money into it, pointing out they prefer immediate action is taken as soon as possible with the budget already available.

Later on, the debate shifted more towards concrete actions: creating a system for contraceptives, the role of NGOs and improving infrastructure. Chad was always ready to shake up the debate and remind everyone of the western approach of the matter and that we cannot erase thousands of years of culture and faith. Apart from that also both Botswana and Somalia pointed out on the matter of NGOs that there is a trust issue. And rightfully so, as many of us still remember the big scandal of Oxfam regarding the sexual crimes in Haiti. Perhaps more local aide and assistance would be much more appreciated and accepted by the people? However, delegates are switching between so many topics without elaborating any of them. Though they are all working on the same working paper, agreement is still far away, even agreeing to disagree would be a step forward.

Nice words but no substance at the WMO

Credits: Island rights initiative

by Lucas Wagener
Reporter on the WMO

Cooperation, a word that has been used a lot by all delegates during the meeting of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). It seems like the delegates all believe in the importance of the topic, the danger of floods and climate change and are eager to find solutions, though the ideas of what these solutions should look like, are very different. Especially the delegate of Brazil surprised, since its recently elected president Bolsonaro, often described as the Donald Trump of South America, downplayed the importance of the fight against global warming on several occasions. Still the delegate spoke about an exchange of technology and resources with affected countries.

The further the debate carried on, however, the more tension arose between the delegates. When it comes to actual funding for the victims of floods and better methods of prevention for affected areas, Brazil does not feel responsible for the small Island-states of the Pacific. Also, the proposal of the delegate of India to make education one of the priorities in the fight against global warming was not shared by the delegate of Samoa, since education does not help when certain states are on the verge of sinking due to rising sea-levels. To quote the delegate of the Independent State of Samoa:

“A lot of nice words have been spoken, but substance is missing” – Independent State of Samoa

It seems that the delegates of the small pacific island-states feel they are not being taken seriously by the other delegates concerning their point of view and the danger they face. Up until this point, no solutions seem to be in reach. Perhaps the use of the military of other countries, especially Brazil, can be a solution, though this has to be discussed, since the Island-States again fear their sovereignty undermined, just a humble journalist’s suggestion.

The State of the IOM

by Remzi Can Yavuz
Reporter on the IOM

The discussion in IOM this morning has gotten quite heated with the statements of the delegation of Israel on border control. How should IOM deal with the issues at hand such as illegal immigration and human trafficking? Building walls might be the common ground for USA and Israel, meanwhile Italy and Australia seemed less hospitable than ever with their demands of stricter border control. Even though Australia had pointed out the fact that the nation itself is composed of immigrants, their policy of keeping refugees in camps and providing them with “what they need” does not look as good as it sounds.

How can the conflicting opinions in IOM be resolved? Austrian and some other European delegations are proposing to aid the local governments with the help of European institutions that are already in action. Meanwhile USA states the importance of more transparent funding and encourages other delegations to take more responsibilities regarding the situation. The delegation of the Mexican States criticises USA regarding their own border control issues which might not sound relevant at first to our reader, nor was it to the USA delegation. The Mexican States’ data regarding the Mexican drugs in Sahel, however, seems to highlight the relevance of discussing the border problems between the two countries. USA’s policy with the slogan “America First!” was subject to criticism by Australia, but the criticism mostly relied on argumentumadpassionesthus was not successful to convince the American delegation. The Turkish delegation insisted on discussing the “tangible contributions” provided by countries and most of the delegations were keen on sharing what their countries have done to tackle to problem. Israel was the only country that had problems regarding IOM operating together with the governments of the region; positing them as corrupted, incompetent and supporters of human-trafficking. In short, the IOM has been active in discussion, yet are they as active in compromising?

THE ARCTIC ATTACKED!

Warning: this article contains Western bias.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (left) & Russian President Vladimir Putin (right), visiting the Arctic. Credits: POOL/AFP/File

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (left) & Russian President Vladimir Putin (right), visiting the Arctic. Credits: POOL/AFP/File

by Zoltan d’Haese
Reporter on the NATO

Tensions are rising. The Russian Federation has increased its military presence in the arctic region in order to facilitate its foreign policy and expand their territory. This extensive militarization is most concerning. The Artic region has one of the greatest undiscovered parts of the planet’s resources: 13% of the oil, 30% of the gas and an enormous amount of fresh, clean water. Due to climate change and the melting of the ice caps, this can all become available within our lifetime. In response to this militarization, NATO has set up the Trident Juncture – a joined military exercise in Norway – to counter a possible threat. This has been seen as an ‘anti-Russian’ move by Russia. President Putin has had a long history of boosting national feelings with arctic propaganda, the installation of a Russian banner on the bottom of the North pole just being one example.

“Russia has consistently been increasing its presence in the Arctic. This is natural for the largest Arctic state.”
– President Putin, Franz Josef Island, 29 March 2017.

On many occasions and speeches, he also highlights the presences of Russia in the arctic region. He stated during his visit to the Franz Josef Island in 2017 that it is only pure logic that the largest arcticstate will increase its presence in the region. There should be no doubt that the Russian state wants to use the effects of climate change to start again with the development of the north of the country, like they did during the Stalin Era. They hope that the Arctic trading route will become longer navigable, which could be a catalyst for the spreading of prosperity over the northern region.

“Russian leadership will project their own power and capabilities; And I don’t see a sufficient response from NATO.”
– Heather Conley, Arctic Expert CSIS

In light of these facts it is clear that the latest reaction from the West comes too late. NATO has had an indifferent and apathetic attitude towards the situation on the Arctic. The Russian militarization does not follow the second law of thermodynamics. It is surely reversible. The lack of action by NATO has also been met with surprised reactions from experts. Heather Conley, Senior Vice President for the Arctic at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has stated that the increase in newly opened Russian military positions has been met with an insufficient response from NATO. Even the former US Secretary of State James Mattis has vocalized during his confirmation hearing that he does not know what the Russian Federation is doing nor what it is planning to do with its increased military presence.

So, what will NATO do? Will they be quick and tenacious enough to counter this evolution? Will they be able to transcend the national interest of the 29 member states? And what about the dark and mysterious connections of president Trump to Russia? Will his administration still support NATO at the end of the week? All these questions will hopefully be answered during this week’s NATO assembly in the city of Leuven.

Yemeni Civil War

The ignored humanitarian crisis

by Lorencia Poçi
Reporter on the WHO

Yemen is in the midst of an unfathomable humanitarian crisis. Cut off from imports, and under a ceaseless Saudi bombardment, the situation has turned into one of the worst humanitarian crises of modern times: this means famine, malnutrition, an outbreak of cholera and of course casualties, but also – and often forgotten – mental issues.

Yemen is, in many ways, going through a combination of several issues seen across the Middle East: a failed Arab Spring revolution, U.S. support for a Saudi bombing campaign, attacks by al-Qaida and Islamic State, and the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Its demographics are not helping either. Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East, but with a growing population. It has far less oil than its neighbours, and what little oil production it had, has declined in recent years due to the war.

As a consequence of the conflict, Yemenis face frequent exposure to violence, which, compounded by widespread economic insecurity, starvation, fractured social ties, poverty, the absence of basic service, and governmental neglect, has created a serious risk of a mental health crisis. Despite the known long-term adverse psychological effects of war, mental health issues in Yemen have largely been neglected by both domestic authorities and the international community.

The prolonged exposure to war, stress and uncertainty can be extremely upsetting for children and creates issues and challenges that last a lifetime.

Especially children have suffered throughout this war. For many of them life during war is all they have ever seen. The children of Yemen have watched their friends and family members die before their eyes or be buried under the rubble of their collapsing homes. They have watched their schools and hospitals be targeted and destroyed, have been denied access to life-saving food and medicine and the life they once knew has been changed drastically. The prolonged exposure to war, stress and uncertainty can be extremely upsetting for children and creates issues and challenges that last a lifetime. As a result, there could be long-term psychological damage to a generation of children unless more mental health and psychosocial support is provided. However, with the right help, many of these harms can be mitigated and healed. Yet Yemen has barely got any mental health services or sufficient support for children suffering from distress. More than half of all health facilities have closed or are only partially functioning. To make matters worse, the problems for children suffering mental health issues and the support they need are not well recognized or understood in Yemeni society.

There is obviously no clear answer to how to end this war any time soon and the whole war seems to be ignored by the international and mostly western world. Yet images seep into our news and those images leave less and less people untouched by this crisis, including me. Apart from that it remains to be seen whether the international community will be able to broker any sort of agreement or at least a ceasefire to finally get aid and assistance through to the people who desperately need it. But like the rebuilding of a country the mental healing necessary to the people who have suffered will be a work of long process, starting with awareness and acceptance of the issues.

How to Stop the World from Drowning

Credits: Island rights initiative

by Lucas Wagener
Reporter on the WMO

On the fifth of March the Word Meteorological Organization (WMO) will come together to discuss a topic affecting millions of people worldwide: floods. Floods are one of the most common and most devastating natural disasters on planet Earth. Since the beginning of mankind, floods have always posed a threat to villages, cities and whole civilizations. Today around 250 million people every year are affected by floods in one way or another. According to experts, this number is likely to increase and is in part a direct consequence of man-made climate change and global warming. In comparison to the 1980’s the number of floods and instances of heavy rainfall has already risen by a factor of four. This suggests, that in the future even more people are at risk of suddenly losing everything they have built due to this kind of catastrophe.

Today around 250 million people every year are affected by floods in one way or another.

In order to soften the consequences of such catastrophes, more international cooperation is necessary to find solutions for the danger of floods, even before they occur. While it is important to support areas that are already affected by catastrophes, it is even more important to prevent such happenings in the first place. To do this, two options are at hand. The first kind of prevention could be done in a way that acknowledges the increase of floods and therefore tries to find a way to deal with them through avoidance. Improved early-warning-systems would make it easier to detect upcoming floods. The identification of risk areas would furthermore allow governments to direct settlement into lower risk areas and reduce the risk of people being affected by floods. In addition to that, countries could improve their infrastructure and construction-guidelines, to reduce the catastrophic effect of floods on the affected people.

The second option would be to fight the emergence of flood in itself. Since there is a big link between Climate Change and an increased number of floods, policies against global warming should in return also lower the number of floods. This is easier said than done, given that the international community struggles to establish a shared effort against global warming. This becomes especially clear, when looking at one of the world’s leading producers of carbon emissions, the USA, whose current Administration has repeatedly downplayed the importance or even the existence of climate change. It is also up for debate, whether the consequences of climate change are already irreversible, so that measures taken against global warming will have little effect on the current number of floods.

It will be interesting to see which measures the WMO will suggest dealing with the danger of floods. Furthermore, it will be up for debate, whether the represented countries will indeed take action in a way that is suggested by the WMO and how effective these may be. A realistic approach, not driven by an idealistic will to fight climate change, may be a better option. Accepting that many followings of global warming are irreversible could lead to a better use of resources to fight its consequences.

Of Aeneas and Migration

Warning: this article may cause the reader to think.

by Remzi Can Yavuz
Reporter on the IOM

What other topic had been discussed more than migration since the beginning of the age of globalisation? And to be frank, could any of our dear readers be so courageous to deny the ostensible problems UN had in tackling the situation? In the following days, IOM will be concerned with two subjects that carry a significant pragmatic importance with the first one being “Human Trafficking in Sahel”. Global warming, impoverished local governments, a nomadic culture without the means to sustain itself due to changing circumstances, and the panic that the possibility of illegal migration to Europe through Libya generates for the authorities; simply, our post-colonial anxieties condensed in one instance. Certainly, with an environment not hospitable to an observer of western background; the land of Sahel is home of many problems.

We should not reduce to ‘worker flow’ to a utilitarian calculus.

The one we shall burden ourselves with, will be the situation of “Migrant Workers”, an issue that goes hand in hand with the levels of famine, unsurprisingly. What happens to the body of a person that had born south of the Mediterranean Sea, when s/he embarks on a journey to Europe with a boat that has been provided to him/her illegally at the cost of 500USD’s? That body becomes reconstituted and thus is defined as “illegal workforce”, “a modern slave” or a mere number. Should we condemn such approach as dehumanizing or is there more to it simply than that? Nonetheless, what a journalist could hope for is a care for language and perceptions that are embedded in it. On the practical end of the issue, apparent unsafe status of the migrant workers must remain IOM’s main focus. What we should not reduce to a utilitarian calculus is the ‘worker flow’, namely, the conclusion that is the categorization of the migrants by their qualifications.

The question “how must one go about the selection of refugees?” shall be answered by the delegates of the respected nations, but this journalist kindly reminds all, that measures of securities had been easily bypassed over the past decades and the one thing that has not changed, like our – in my opinion – terrible border controls, is the unfriendly approach to the ones who were carried to Europa over the waves. Considering our approach to the new arrivals and those who have arrived or will be arriving, the story of Aeneas, the founder of Rome, who himself was a “refugee” might be a suitable reading recommendation. In the days that we lack a breath of fresh air within the cage of our ideologies, which belong to a previous century, the dynamism that could come from outside; via facing the “Other” – albeit daunting – carries the potential of new possibilities that could blossom into a new identity through the corpse of the previous one.

Aeneas fleeing from Troy