As one of the United Nation’s principal organs, the UN Security Council takes the lead in determining the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression. It calls upon the parties to a dispute to settle it by peaceful means and recommends methods of adjustment or terms of settlement. Under the UN Charter, all Member States are obligated to comply with Council decisions.
During BerlInMUN 2017, we will simulate two historical Security Council sessions, meaning that delegates will be able to travel back in time and try to solve historical conflicts themselves, and – who knows – maybe change history!
“Divided we stand, united we fall!” – the Cyprus dispute 1974:
It is 1974. Since the country’s independence from England in 1960, the Greek population of Cyprus has been seeking enosis with the “motherland”, which (in 1963) led to a de-facto partition of the island under a disputed UN-supervision. Now, only a decade later, the Greek military (at the time under a dictatorial regime) invades the already divided country and violently overthrows its president, in order to achieve the island’s reunification with “its brethren”. At this critical moment, Turkey demands that either England (the former colonial and current guarantor power) or the United Nations intervene, indicating its own willingness to act, if others hesitate to take a stance.
The further progression of events, from this point on, relies on you: It is you, who are going to determine the policy of the United Nations towards this expeditiously escalating conflict.
While the potential, as well as the complexity, that a United Nations intervention would encompass, is exceedingly high, what followed in 1974 was equally disastrous: All stake-holders refused to react. Within less than 6 months, Turkey took action, invaded Cyprus twice and occupied the northern part of the island, leaving 2,500 dead and leading to the misplacement of another 180,000.
While discussing the topic, you should take into consideration both your country’s position concerning a paternalistic and interventionist role of the United Nations, as well as its stance towards other key-players at the time (e.g. NATO, the EEC, the Soviet Block), and how the interests of these factors influence the policies of Cyprus, Turkey and Greece. When doing so, you should especially focus on the following topics: Firstly, how the aggression of both Greece and Turkey should be handled on an international level, both by the UN, as well as by international factors. Additionally, discuss how law and order can be re-established in Cyprus and even whether a permanent division would be a more feasible solution to the topic. Finally, you should answer the question of how the independence of the Cypriot state(s) can be protected from outer influence, especially from that of major agents, such as England, Turkey and Greece.
By answering these questions, you will be forming the future of an entire people, while handling a dispute still unsolved today. Use your power wisely.
Crisis in Rwanda 1994:
The conduct of the Security Council towards Rwanda during spring and summer 1994 is very often considered to be one of the most exemplary failures of this institution. Stigmatised by what happened a few months prior in Somalia, its decision-making capacities were lowered as most of the Member States did not want to alienate their citizens by risking lives of their soldiers. Furthermore, Rwanda itself was an elected member of the Security Council for period 1994-5, which provided it with an excellent opportunity to influence the activities of the Council.
While debating this topic, the Delegates will, at least virtually, have the chance of changing the course of history and preventing hundreds of thousands of people from losing their lives, families, friends and homes. One of the fastest slaughters the world has ever witnessed can be prevented. How the Security Council will act after April 6th 1994, when the then Rwandan President Juvénal Habyiarimana was murdered, will be entirely up to them. Nothing is set, nothing is certain. It, however, shall not be an easy task. The Delegates will face countries unwilling to act protecting thus their soldiers. The Delegates will face countries undermining any action because of their national interests. The Delegates will face countries denying the severity of the situation. Unlikely alliances are to be made. These and other obstacles must be overcome for a decision to be reached and a resolution past.
While searching for an agreement, the Security Council should ask itself many pressing questions. What exactly is going on in Rwanda? How can it be classified? Should the UNAMIR mission sent to Rwanda after the civil war and supervising the ceasefire be withdrawn? Reinforced? Is the Rwandan government our partner or an enemy?
There is an opportunity ahead of the Delegates. An opportunity not to act too little and too late all over again.
As the sessions simulated during BerlInMUN 2017 take place during two different points in time, the composition of the council will change when moving from one topic to the other. Delegates will therefore have to change the country they are representing during the conference. We especially recommend experienced delegates to apply for this committee.
United States of America
- United Kingdom
France PR China Soviet Union/Russian Federation
Mauritania/Czech Republic Australia/New Zealand
- Costa Rica/Djibouti
Austria/Oman Cameroon/Nigeria Byelorussian SSR/Pakistan Kenya/Brazil Iraq/Tansania Indonesia/Spain Peru/Argentina
Cyprus/Holy See Greece/Rwanda Turkey/Uganda
The Historical Security Council will be chaired by Lena Stránská and Konstantina Nathanael. See the whole secretariat here.
Study Guides for BerlInMUN 2017 are available online at our Resource Centre.