Despite the missing placards, and lack of Wi-Fi, the speakers’ list of the EU started off an a good note, with interesting ideas on the speeches. However, there seems to be a number of new delegates, and as a result there was some confusion on the Rules of Procedure and the mandate of the EU (since it’s somewhat different to the UN mandate which most delegates are used to) – but the Chairs did a great job in clarifying.
One area of concern was the roles played by Turkey in regards to the refugee issue. Delegates questioned the implementation of the Turkey-EU deal, and inquired as to whether Turkey was a safe country for refugees. Some believed that the deal should be scrapped, while others felt that the EU needs to collaborate with the Turkish government, as well as To push Turkey to change policies since it wants to join the EU. Also, it is important to note that Turkey had observer status in this committee.
Another area of discussion was with regards to the proportional distribution of refugees. However, it may not be possible for countries to implement such agreements “forced upon them” by the Brussels – because most countries have their own crises. Clearly, Brussels should do more in this regards and swiftly implement the Common EU Asylum Policy. Some delegates also suggested that it is important it is to keep the refugees as close to the country of origin. But, it’s clear that these delegates have failed to realize the situation in the neighboring countries may not be safe as well, ash thus naturally would try to seek to reach a better place, like the EU. Therefore, how feasible would such a proposal be?
Lastly, the issue of redefining a “refugee” came up, towards the latter half of the session. Delegates highlighted the importance of differentiating between economic refugees and refugees fleeing from conflict, as well as suggested the need for amending the definition of Refugee in the 1951 UN convention. However, this may be a very difficult task. The IPC hopes that the delegates to clarify this issue further – in differentiating and defining refugees. The Delegates also shared their ideas on the Common EU migration policy, as well as on how to integrate and better the livelihoods in the EU, and preventing refugee smuggling.
Towards the latter half of the morning session, the committee moved into Moderated Caucus.One topic discussed was the viability of awareness programs as a grassroots means of enabling social integration for refugees, where delegates gave examples of using advertising campaigns to create awareness to on racism and xenophobia. However, the IPC believes, that there seemed to be a lack of involvement from the delegates in the debate. So the IPC would like to encourage the delegates to propose more topics and get further involved in them.
Speaking of the usage of social media, this committee used sli.do to receive moderated caucus topics from the delegates and vote upon them. The IPC believes that this saved up a lot of time, since the chairs did not have to decipher illegible handwriting and get filter through chits of paper. Also, the IPC was live tweeting through the entire proceeding.
However, sadly, there seemed to be a lack of participation by the majority of the delegates. And much of the debate happened between the delegates of Denmark, UK, Austria. And despite their immense knowledge they may have intimidated some of the delegates. For the most part of the session these were the only three placards that were raised. However, it seemed that in response to this, the Chairs, towards the end of session started requesting delegates who have not spoken before to contribute more.
Therefore, the IPC, encourages greater participation from the delegates, and wishes the best of luck for the rest of the conference. We also hope that the issues discussed would be reflected in the resolutions, and that both long-term and short-term solutions to the EU Refugee Crisis are found.
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