CHAIR: MIN BYUNG CHAE
Vice Chairs: Naeun Lee, Sunwoo Park
Dealing with cultural differences that transcend man-made borders is of vital importance in a world as interconnected as today’s. In discussing differences and ways of reaching compromises, debates in SOCHUM reflect the complexity that comes with dealing with people from different backgrounds, different values, and different sets of priorities. This challenging yet thought-provoking committee will open the minds of delegates into thinking differently about important issues and countries.
Topic 1: Protecting places of cultural and historical significance threatened by conflict
The Islamic State (IS)’s looting and destruction of ancient monuments and artifacts in Syria and Iraq shed light to the issue of protecting places of cultural significance threatened by armed conflict. Although the plunder of cultural artifacts during wartime has existed throughout history, the Islamic State strategically coordinates the destruction of various places of worship and ancient archaeological ruins, such as Shiite mosques, shrines, churches, and ancient ruins of Babylonian and Assyrian cities. It also engages in the illegal trade of small artifacts to finance its organization. Even though 127 member nations of the United Nations signed and ratified the 1956 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, it has not been thoroughly enforced in recent conflicts, such as the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s. The destruction of cultural heritage equates to the loss of historical and cultural records vital to our humanity and the society's understanding of the past.
Topic 2: Improving the living conditions in refugee camps
The ethnic tensions and civil wars in 20th century led to large refugee movements in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Combined with developed nations’ growing tendency to not allow the entrance of refugees, this often led to unexpected long-term internment of refugees in temporary and permanent refugee camps. Although the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provides them with food, potable water, temporary shelter, and medical services, refugees still depend on external aid for survival without prospects of employment or education, since refugee camps are often located on resource-deficient land. With the treatment of refugees being central to the mission of SOCHUM, improving the living conditions in refugee camps is an issue that requires immediate attention.