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UNHCR
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Under Secretary General

Ege ÇİFTÇİ

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Academic Assistant

Enes ŞANLI

Agenda Item

Finding Durable Solutions for the Eastern European Refugee Crisis

About the committee

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The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was created in 1950, to address the refugee crisis after the Second World War that gravely affected millions of Europeans. Since its foundation, UNHCR aims to assist people who fled or lost their homes. UNHCR is governed by the UN General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

 

In the age of modernity, the notions of displacement and asylum are inseparable from the rest of the political agenda items. One can observe the direct and indirect impacts of various social, political, economic, and natural occurrences on the refugees and their behaviors; whether these occurrences take place on a local, national, or global scale only changes the magnitude of these impacts. Naturally, global trends draw far more attention and bring forth greater issues that need to be dealt with. In this situation, a particular region has recently gained a salient position in the eyes of global policy-makers due to its increasing relevance to the refugee problem: Eastern Europe.

Eastern European States since the fall of the USSR have become profoundly incorporated with their neighbors to the west in multiple areas; through the expansion of the European Union and NATO to the east, cooperation and integration of eastern and western parts of Europe reached a climax. Consequently, any problem or unexpected occurrence encountered by one of these parts affects the other almost immediately; and in our case, this problem is the influx of refugees to the Eastern European States.

The political instability and the humanitarian crisis that recent developments have sparked in the region, together with the unexpected and grave pandemic of Covid-19, global climate change, and natural disasters triggered by it, mobilized millions of people and drove them towards different internal or external locations for asylum. In this new wave triggered by the pandemic, however, usual routes towards Europe were either closed or heavily regulated, unlike previous waves which had provided greater chances for refugees to make it to Europe. Again, unlike previous waves in which the asylum seekers were of Middle Eastern, African, or East Asian origin, political occurrences in the Eastern European States created a bulk of asylum seekers of European origin and put unexpected pressure on the eastern borders of the European Union. In this ongoing situation, policymakers face an urgent matter: Finding durable solutions for the global refugee crisis, especially with the addition of Eastern European refugees.

Delegates of the UNHCR Committee are expected to address very complex issues. Several of them include: Creating temporary and long-term solutions to aid those who were affected by the recent emergencies, ensuring that refugees with non-European origins are treated equal to those with European origins, and possibly revising the outdated 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. Therefore, this Committee is recommended for intermediate and advanced delegates.

It is our wish and privilege for the delegates to join these efforts in our UNHCR Committee and experience the intriguing matters of the Eastern European Refugee Crisis.