In a mock Security Council meeting, 18 common law students urged the international community to help the people of Afghanistan at the time of crisis

Posted on Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Printscreens of Zoom meeting with flags and students representing each UN country

Photo credit : Professor Saeid Mirzaei Yengejeh

In a simulated meeting of the UN Security Council, virtually convened on 15 November 2021, Common Law students passed a resolution, making a series of recommendations to the international community to help the people of Afghanistan at the time of catastrophe. The unanimously passed SC resolution (S/RES/2606 (2021)) covers, inter alia, helping the people of Afghanistan, the role of the United Nations, the question of representation of Taliban in the United Nations, and the UN sanctions on Taliban.

The resolution calls on all Member States of the United Nations to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan and Afghan refugee-hosting states to alleviate their suffering. It also emphasizes that all funds must be channeled through the international agencies which have presence in the country. Moreover, the resolution demands “a rapid vaccination campaign in Afghanistan to address the COVID-19 pandemic, especially among vulnerable groups.”

The mock Security Council’s decision underscores the important role that the United Nations play by the continued presence of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). It also calls on the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Afghanistan, to monitor the situation on the ground and present a report to the Council in three months, covering the conformity of the Taliban’s behaviors with international law norms, particularly in the areas of combatting international terrorism and trafficking in narcotics. The resolution further welcomes the appointment of a special rapporteur by the Council on Human Rights to monitor violations of human rights in Afghanistan.

The resolution postpones decision-making on questions of lifting of sanctions and representation of the Taliban at the United Nations for a later date, after receiving reports of the Special Rapporteur and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General. The United Nations began imposing sanctions against the Taliban in 1999. These sanctions were expanded, in the past two decades, to include arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze of several hundred individuals associated with the Taliban and Al-Qaida. Security Council Resolution 2255 (2015) embodies all sanctions that remain in effect with respect to the Taliban and Al-Qaida until lifted by the Council.

Also following the takeover of Afghanistan, the Taliban has requested to be represented at the United Nations—a request which is pending before the General Assembly.

Under the terms of the resolution, the Council will make decisions on these issues based on three factors: (a) respect for human and humanitarian law by the Taliban, in particular respect for women and children’s rights; (b) opposing international terrorism as required by international law and severance of ties of the Taliban with terrorist groups; (c) combatting trafficking in narcotics and human.

Following the adoption of the resolution, each participating student made a statement, outlining priorities of states they represented. Several participating students also underlined that the Security Council must play its due role in helping the Afghan people in crisis and ensuring the compliance of Taliban with its promises and norms of international law.

18 graduate and JD students enrolled in the Law of International Organizations Seminar. They represented 15 members of the Security Council, as well as Iran, Pakistan, and Canada in the mock Security Council meeting. Dr. Saeid Mirzaei Yengejeh trained these students for two months. Each student prepared a draft resolution on the subject, outlining priorities of the states they are representing. Thereafter, they engaged in consultations in four groups to merge their draft resolutions into group drafts. Finally, during consultations of the whole the students merged all draft resolutions into one draft which was unanimously adopted it in the simulated meeting. Names of the participating students are as follows: Wiam Akil,  Layali Awwad,  Chantelle Colangelo,  Cassandra Cunningham-Gowing,  Jordan Dobrucki, Natasha Dood-Persaud Di Lorenzo,  Shayan Ghahramani,  Zoe Gladstone,  Kahina Haroune,  Izaak Kaufman,  Wafa Khan,  Brooklyn Lester,  Josh Morency,  Anneka Oh,  Danial Saadat,  Apoorva Sharma,  Kathleen Tereposky, and David Wainer.

This simulated meeting was the fifth event organized by Dr. Mirzaei in his seminar of the Law of International Organizations. Previous simulated meetings of the Security Council were organized in January 2018 (on the situation in North Korea), fall 2018 (on the situation in Yemen), fall 2019 (on the negotiation between Iran and p5+1 over Iranian nuclear energy program) and fall 2020 (on QOVID 19 Pandemic).

This practice-oriented seminar provides a unique opportunity for students to learn how the UN system works and gives them a chance to learn practicing as a delegate, including preparing draft resolutions, negotiation, and decision-making in the UN organs. It is an invaluable experience for students interested in international law.

This practice-oriented approach will be followed in the “Seminar on Documenting UN Practice", CML 4108 and DCL 6121, which will be taught for the 12th consecutive year in the January-Winter 2022 session. Registration for this seminar is now open for graduate and upper year students. Interested students must submit their applications, together with their CVs to Professor Saeid Mirzaei Yengejeh (mailto:saeid.mirzaei@uottawa.ca).

Dr. Mirzaei has over 30 years of experience at the United Nations, both as an international civil servant and a governmental representative. To learn more about his background and work, please visit his profile.

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