NYMUN'16

#NYMUN2016 Security Council – Exciting debate clouded by Palestine’s status

United Nations Security Council hall, Manhattan, New York

Secretariat’s decision to give full member status to Palestine and a seat in SC, sparked controversy and took the focus away from the actual agenda.

As I’ve mentioned earlier in my debrief, Security Council is a committee that I’ve had great expectations for. And when I turned up in the morning to cover the committee, I was surprised to see the experienced cadre of MUNers sitting around the traditional U-shaped table arrangement. It was star studded and I’ll keep you waiting for the photos to know exactly who they were.

The committee agenda states that they must discuss the issues of Organised Armed groups and Private Military Companies. But a strange decision by the Secretariat to provide full member voting rights to the delegates of Palestine throughout the conference sparked quite a bit of controversy in the Council even before they could formally discuss the topic at hand.

China, USA and others questioned the presence of the delegate of Palestine in the Council, when the agenda was not about the Israeli-Palestine issue. Personally, I find it extremely unfair to Israel that it has not been allowed to have a delegate to respond to any statements that Palestine makes in the Council regarding Israel. The result was that both the Secretariat and the Head Table of UNSC had to keep reminding the delegates to keep away from bringing up the Palestinian matter.

The committee is lucky to have a cool headed Palestinian delegate who is not abusing the increased power vested in him by the Secretariat. If not for that, the whole decision could have caused much more mayhem. After all everyone enjoys a bit of Israel or Palestine bashing when it’s an option.

When the debate did veer into the right territory, the delegates began a bit of a blame game about the hiring of and responsibility for past atrocities of PMCs; especially by the notorious Blackwater. Things were compounded by the presence of a representative of Academi, the current face of Blackwater, who is there to represent the views of the industry itself.

Russia attempted to provide direction to the committee by urging the house to discuss a working definition on organized armed groups. But the house kept veering into controversies around USA and its past experience with Blackwater.

The UNSC President commented at the end of session that the debate was quite exciting but the issue of Palestine kept the debate off track for most of the time. He added in that the US delegate did a great job at holding the line as the whole committee kept attacking the US over its dealings with PMCs. These were all comments that I would agree with wholeheartedly. But I do believe that the Head Table could have taken action to keep debate in track. First by limiting the number of right replies and statements made during the Speaker’s List. Second by dividing the time for Mod-Caucus between the PMCs and Organised Armed groups to make debate more streamlined.

Also, don’t forget to follow and tweet about UNSC on #ScNymun

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