Post available to Premium Members only. Please upgrade your account in order to apply.
By Emma Harris
The first day of sessions in the Human Rights Council opened with the pleasure of receiving two guest speakers: Juan Cuenca and Maria Lasala from Roca Junyent law firm. Referring often to definitions and articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, both guest speakers presented the idea of possible conflicts which have arisen in the face of the era of technology. Cuenca reminded us that we have essentially given up our right to privacy by publishing our personal information on social networking sites, asking “is it possible to regulate” access to information? Miss Lasala began with a very powerful statement: “Everything is internet.” She emphasized that private companies, not only governments, profit from ‘Big Data’ and finished her speech with a video conveying a futuristic New York City where all personal information: bank accounts, social security number etc. is linked to DNA which in turn is a form of ID (thumb print), leaving the committee with many questions to consider throughout the day including “Is there no way to protect us without violating human rights?”
After thanking the guest speakers, the Human Rights Council moved on to the day’s topic beginning with various statements regarding the ambassadors’ respective views. Off to a triumphant start was a genuine wordsmith from the delegation of Saudi Arabia with a 90-second speech on how, without the ability to gather information, we find ourselves unprepared for terrorist attacks. This was followed by numerous for and against statements denouncing US activity and control as well as encouraging the search for alternative solutions. As the session continued some countries started to take a more leading role such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Brazil however as praised by the Chair, Miriam Juan-Torres and Co-Chair, Karla Juliana “the majority (were) participating but none (were) monopolizing.”
Then began a string of moderated caucuses including: surveillance, security and limits and incentives of information. The ambassadors shared their stances on sovereignty vs. security, the threat to national security and the perceptions concerning surveillance and protection. While some delegations such as the Russian Federation, China, Saudi Arabia, the US and Pakistan seemed to be strongly devoted to surveillance with the Saudi delegate mentioning that “national security is not spying”, others such as the Human Rights Watch, Chile, France and Germany were more concerned with what these actions could mean for their citizens.
There were of course, those states whose main goal was to keep the other delegates on-track in order to find a solution which led to over half hour of un-moderated caucus allowing three major groups to form and begin on working papers. This reporter was curious to know the chair’s opinion of the relative silence of the US delegation considering the quite persistent Brazil campaigning to take the power from US hands and launch a neutral committee to oversee the global gathering of information and very diligently the chair obliged stating that “we will see it shine soon”.
Finally, when the afternoon began a motion was passed to discuss giving up privacy which led to some delegations that support the need for supervision asking for proposals from those who are against… Only time will tell if they’re able to find a consensus.
This article was published in The Clarion, official newspaper of CMUN , the Model United Nations of Barcelona. Read the other articles:
or read the whole issue here.