By Julia Hönnecker
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was created in the aftermath of WWII and has since then assisted over 50 Million refugees worldwide to re-start their lives. The two topics of this year’s EuroMUN of the UNHCR Committee will be whether to expand the scope and capacity of the Refugee Convention of 1951 and the evaluation of refugee camps and systems.
The Refugee Convention of 1951 is a key legal document which has been signed by 145 state-parties around the world and forms the basis for work of the UNHCR. The former sets out that states are obliged to cooperate with the UNHCR to secure the rights of refugees and is still seen 66 years later as the cornerstone of refugee protection. One important aspect is the recognition of the Convention of the importance of international solidarity regarding refugees. UNHCR’s EuroMUN delegates will discuss how relevant the Convention of 1951 is today, including recent developments of newer declarations, and analyze issues of refugees in the 21st century such as a missing legal base for environmental refugees.
The issue of increasing living standards in refugee camps and systems goes back to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 which states the right to security, liberty and the right to be safe from cruel treatment to every human. A refugee spends on average 12 years in a refugee camp and the number of displaced people has tripled since 2006. Therefore, this topic is highly relevant, and delegates will focus on long-term solutions to help refugees worldwide. Issues of security, education, healthcare, work opportunities and integration will be addressed in the upcoming days such as decreasing friction between refugees and citizens of host countries.