For the first day of debate, the members of the SUCHUM committee chose to confront their opinions about the following topic: Protection of religious minorities. Even though the whole assembly agreed about the fundamental aspect of religious freedom, the debate revelated contradictions about the form of the fight.
Education or coercion?
To deal with such a problem, delegation of Canada, China, France, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Saoudi Arabia, United Kingdom and Sweden worked hard to make their voice heard.
They all agreed that religious freedom was deeply linked to human rights and their protection.
However, the cultural aspect and the diversity of the population in each country revealed that it was not so evident to find an agreement which could be satisfying and efficient in the whole world.
Indeed, two points of view emerged: establishing worldwide regulations or leaving each country fixing the problem on their own.
For the first possible issue, delegations of Sweden, USA, Indonesia and Canada defended the importance of the uniformity and cooperation of the fight. However, two way of actions were promoted. USA wanted to focus on a coercive resolution through punishment of persecutions. An argument supported by India, whereas Sweden, UK and Canada prefered to focus on educational programs. But they still had to face the opposition of China, Saudi Arabia, United Arabia emirates and Nigeria.
Between sovereignty and international interest:
For the majority of the countries represented today, religious freedom and protection of human’s rights are mentioned in their constitutions.
China, Saudi Arabia, United Arabia emirates and Nigeria expressed their disagreement about a possible international law or treaty. Indeed, for country such as Saudi Arabia or India, cultural identity is part of these human rights. Having the same conception of UK regarding the diversity could lead to loss of identity.
One top of that, some delegations, especially the one of China and Saudi Arabia set a condition: they would agree a possible international cooperation only if other countries respect the principle of non-interference.
An objection that separated our delegates in two opposed alliances when they decided to write a common clause. Five against five, the battle would be hard, that is why the position of Nigerian delegate could be decisive!
“We are writing a counter-resolution to make pressure on the other alliance, but the risk is if Nigeria doesn’t pick a side, we can’t have the majority” – Delegate of India
Fortunately, after the intervention of the chairs about the necessity to work hand in hand to find an efficient solution, the delegates finally agreed about the redaction of a common clause which respect everyone interest.