By Julia Hönnecke
The 2nd Committee session of UNHCR is heating up quickly. The Topic A about expanding the 1951 Convention to newly define refugees to fit today’s issues leads to conflicts between mainly two sides: the one arguing for an expansion, and the one against it. During an unmoderated caucus, about seven countries join Hungary and the UK to cooperate to argue against the expansion of the 1951 Convention. One of the most stated arguments regards the fact that a new definition of refugees would lead to more people coming to Europe.
“Granting people shelter and security is a part of the Human Rights definition” and “refugees leave their country to survive, we are obliged to help them” is replied to with “an expansion will hurt us European countries more than you can imagine” by the UK and “we should focus on making sure unsafe countries are helped to prevent people becoming refugees in the first place”.
Other issues that led to conflict were different thoughts about the importance of a separation of the terms of refugees, immigrants and internally displaced people (IDP’s). The issue of whether to include economic refugees has been discussed at length without a possibility of finding a solution. However, the majority of countries is convinced this conference should focus on matters of life and death and not how to define who counts as poor enough to be accepted as an economic refugee.
It is getting headed in here and strong opinions are crashing against each other. Two fixed groups arose undecided over whether to include economic or environmental refugees or internally displaced people, and how to define them so people who should be included are indeed so, and vice versa in the case of deciding to expand the 1951 Convention.
Will the countries be able to find a solution to whether to adjust the definition of refugees of 1951 to fit today’s issues? If changes are decided, which new definition of refugees will be added at the end of today? Stay updated with us!