Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 33



35th Annual Conference • March 18-21, 2009


S p e c i a l P o l i t i c a l a n d
Decolonization Committee
General Assembly Main Committees
 2008-2009 International Model United Nations Association, Inc. Used and distributed under license.
The 35th Annual Conference • March 18-21, 2009

Nick Stefanizzi
Secretary-General September 2008
Boston University

Rosa Akbari Dear Delegates,

McGill University
Welcome to NHSMUN 2009! My name is Daniel Nowicki and I’m the Under-Secretary General (USG)
Nancy Henry of General Assembly Mains Committees (known affectionately as GA Mains). I am a junior at
Conference Director Georgetown University in Washington, DC, where I’m studying international politics and security
Tufts University studies with a minor in international development. While I love Washington, New York will always be
“the city” to me. Living right across the water in New Jersey for my formative years, I have come to
Michelle Shevin
New York often, especially in the past few years that I have been on NHSMUN staff. Like clockwork,
Chief of Staff
Barnard College we gather here each March to discuss the most pressing international issues of our generation.

Cristina Rade This semester I am studying abroad in Argentina’s beautiful metropolitan capital, Buenos Aires, where
Chief of External Relations I will be living until December. If you enjoy traveling and have not yet visited South America, Bs. As. is
Adelphi University
your gateway city to some amazing natural wonders, great leather products, Texas-style steakhouses,
Ryan Burke and friendly people. On my free time, I enjoy playing fútbol with some porteño friends, adventure
Director of Security traveling, talking politics with my host family, visiting museums, and frequenting the many restaurants
University of South Carolina and clubs for which the city has become infamous. I find that I play in to the familiar Mark Twain
saying of never letting “my schooling interfere with my education.” I suggest that from now until
Matthew Low March you all find time to reflect on your academic, social and intellectual goals and discover that thing
University of California,
about which you are truly passionate.
My international travel has not precluded me from completing my NHSMUN responsibilities. This
Daniel Nowicki conference holds a special place in my heart because of its wonderful staff, the intellectually stimulating
Under-Secretary-General topics, the high quality of debate, and of course, its delegates. Over this past year, I have edited the
Georgetown University
background guides in your respective committees and procedurally and substantively prepared directors
Deanna Maxfield for the rigors of chairing debate. At the conference, my job is to help you enjoy the substantive aspects
Under-Secretary-General of committee sessions. You can find me roaming the hallways of the Hilton, checking in on
University of Southern committees and bringing you completed draft resolutions from our administrative staff, among other
California tasks.
Emily Robertson
Under-Secretary-General Enjoy reading the attached background guide, research well, and get excited for March! Feel free to
Duke University contact me with any questions about NHSMUN, and I’ll be happy to talk with you.

Lisa Cuesta Until then,

University of Pennsylvania
Daniel Nowicki
Jerry Guo den4@georgetown.edu
Under-Secretary-General 732.522.2865
Dartmouth College
Georgetown University
37th and O Streets McCarthy Hall #627
Washington, DC 20057
NHSMUN is a project of the
International Model United
Nations Association, Incorporated
(IMUNA). IMUNA, a not-for-
profit, all volunteer organization, is
dedicated to furthering global
issues education at the secondary
school level.
The 35th Annual Conference • March 18-21, 2009

Nick Stefanizzi
Secretary-General September 2008
Boston University

Rosa Akbari
Director-General Dear Delegates,
McGill University

Nancy Henry Welcome to NHSMUN 2009! My name is Max Ross and I will be the Director of the Special Political
Conference Director and Decolonization Committee (SPECPOL) this year. This year’s committee topics are Conflict in
Tufts University Western Sahara and Trafficking in Latin America. These issues are both interesting and relevant, and
due to SPECPOL’s unique mandate, we will be able to discuss them from a political standpoint. I am
Michelle Shevin
very excited to hear the different ideas and debates that each one of you will bring to the conference.
Chief of Staff
Barnard College
Currently, I am a sophomore at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. I will be majoring in
Cristina Rade Romance Languages, with a specific focus on Latin America. One of my favorite parts of this major is
Chief of External Relations that I get to travel to a lot to different parts of the world. In fact, as I write this letter to you, I am on
Adelphi University
my way to explore the interior of Brazil! Yet I must admit, there is something that I find to be
Ryan Burke potentially even more exciting than traveling and exploring the world—a new episode of LOST. Yes, I
Director of Security consider myself to be one of the biggest fans—if not the biggest fan—of the TV show LOST. If you
University of South Carolina ever want to discuss theories, characters, or your favorite episode of what I think is the greatest show
in the history of television, do not hesitate to contact me. Or, if you have never heard of LOST before
Matthew Low and need someone to explain why you should begin watching it, please contact me as well!
University of California,
Berkeley I have been participating in NHSMUN since I was a sophomore in high school. I was a delegate for
one year on the Economic Commission for Africa and for two years on the Legal Committee. Last
Daniel Nowicki year, I was the Assistant Director of DISEC—the Disarmament and International Security Committee.
Under-Secretary-General Needless to say, the majority of my NHSMUN experience has taken place within the General
Georgetown University
Assembly Mains committees. I really enjoy the diverse perspectives and opinions that surface in these
Deanna Maxfield larger committees, and I am sure that this year’s SPECPOL will be no exception.
University of Southern While this background guide has a significant amount of information on both topics, it should serve as
California your starting point for even more specific research and investigation that you can acquire and apply to
Emily Robertson
the perspective of your assigned country. Explore these topics as much as you possibly can—it will
Under-Secretary-General not only improve the quality of our committee sessions, but it will also allow you to get more out of
Duke University the Conference as a whole. If you have any questions or simply would like to introduce yourself before
March, please contact me at the e-mail address below. I am looking forward to meeting all of you
Lisa Cuesta soon!
University of Pennsylvania
Jerry Guo
Under-Secretary-General Max Ross
Dartmouth College maxross@dartmouth.edu
4120 Hinman
Hanover, NH 03755
NHSMUN is a project of the
International Model United
Nations Association, Incorporated
(IMUNA). IMUNA, a not-for-
profit, all volunteer organization, is
dedicated to furthering global
issues education at the secondary
school level.
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee


Delegate preparation is paramount to a successful and exciting National High School Model United Nations
2009 Conference. We have provided this Background Guide to introduce the topics that will be discussed in
your committee; these papers are designed to give you a description of the topics and the committee. They
will not give you a complete description of the topic areas and they will not contain the most up-to-date
information, particularly in regards to rapidly evolving issues. We encourage and expect each delegate to fully
explore the topics and be able to identify and analyze the intricacies of the issues. Delegates must be prepared
to intelligently utilize their newly acquired knowledge and apply it to their own countries’ policy. You will
find that your nation has a unique position on the topics that cannot be substituted for or with the opinions
of another nation.

The task of preparing and researching for the conference is challenging, but it can be interesting and
rewarding. We have provided each school with a copy of the Delegation Preparation Guide. The Guide
contains detailed instructions on how to write a position paper and how to effectively participate in
committee sessions. (Note: some position papers have unique guidelines that are detailed within respective
committees’ Background Guides.) The Guide also gives a synopsis of the types of research materials and
resources available to you and where they can be found. A brief history of the United Nations and the
NHSMUN conference are also included. The annotated rules of procedure complete the Delegate
Preparation Guide.

An essential part of representing a nation in an international body is the ability to articulate that nation’s views
in writing. Accordingly, it is the policy of NHSMUN to require each delegate (or double-delegation team) to
write position papers. The position papers should clearly outline the country’s policies on the topic areas to
be discussed and what factors contribute to these policies. In addition, each paper must address the Research
and Preparation questions at the end of the committee Background Guide. Most importantly, the paper
must be written from the point of view of the country you are representing at NHSMUN 2009 and
should articulate the policies you will espouse at the conference. All papers should be typed and double-
spaced. The papers will be read by the Director of each committee and returned at the start of the
conference with brief comments and constructive advice.

You are responsible for sending a copy of your paper to the Director of your committee. Additionally, your
delegation is responsible for bringing a bound copy of all of the position papers—one for each committee to
which your school has been assigned—to the conference (to be submitted during registration). Specific
requirements of the bound copy have been sent to the faculty advisor/club president. In addition to position
papers, each delegation must prepare one brief summary statement on the basic economic, political, and
social structures of its country, as well as on its foreign policy. Please mail country summary statements to the
Director-General of NHSMUN 2009 at the address below. All copies should be postmarked no later than
February 16th and mailed to:

Rosa Akbari, Director-General Max Ross

3631 av. Henri-Julien 4120 Hinman
Montréal, Québec H2X 3H4 Hanover, NH 03755

(Country Summaries) (Individual Position Papers)

Delegations are required to mail hard copies of papers to the Director-General and Directors.
NHSMUN Staff will not consider e-mail submissions as an adequate substitution.

Delegations that do not submit position papers to Directors or Summary Statements to the Director-
General will be ineligible for awards.

The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

The Special Political and Decolonization Committee (SPECPOL) is the fourth of the six General Assembly
Mains Committees, and as such, is commonly referred to as the Fourth Committee. The current Fourth
Committee, created in 1993, is actually a hybrid of two former committees: the Decolonization Committee
(formerly the Fourth Committee) and the Special Political Committee. SPECPOL’s mandate allows it to
address a variety of political concerns during its yearly meetings, like decolonization, self-determination, or
international peacekeeping issues (GA/SPD/341).

More recently, the Fourth Committee has considered the political ramifications of issues often similar to
those addressed in the Disarmament and International Security (DISEC, or the First Committee), the Security
Council, and the Human Rights Commission. Past sessions of SPECPOL have considered a large variety of
topics, ranging from the effects of atomic radiation to the rights of indigenous tribes worldwide. Despite the
discussion of similar issues, SPECPOL provides an unparalleled opportunity for representatives outside of
countries’ permanent missions by providing them with a chance to participate in debate. This in turn enables
the Fourth Committee to determine the issues the international community considers to be of the utmost

The jurisdiction of the Fourth Committee is such that it cannot directly command military activity or place
sanctions or restrictions upon member States. As with all General Assembly committees, however,
SPECPOL can create resolutions calling for a specific action or advising other bodies and organizations of
recommended operations. Considering the similarities in the topics they both address, the Fourth Committee
often makes recommendations to the Security Council.

During its 62nd session of 2007-2008, the Fourth Committee addressed a wealth of topics. Examples include
the occupied Syrian Golan, the general conflict between Israel and Palestine, and the territory of Tokelau
(A/RES/62/121, A/RES/62/108). The Committee is critical to the United Nations because its mandate
allows for the discussion of topics that other committees’ omit. This substantive accessibility, combined with
the representation and participation of all United Nations Member States, provides the Fourth Committee
with a notably strong credibility.

Because the Fourth Committee discusses the political details and international relationships of countless
topics in such a unique perspective, SPECPOL is an integral body within the General Assembly. As such, its
analysis of and recommendations on topics are taken into serious consideration. From this, it is clearly
apparent that this committee plays a crucial role in the resolution of political issues within the international

The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

SPECPOL 2009 will only be as outstanding as its participants are. It is crucial that delegates familiarize
themselves with both topics and prepare themselves to share new findings with the rest of the Committee.
Delegates should research their countries’ policies on these topics and, if applicable, examine how their
respective governments have dealt with the issues before—both within the United Nations and in other
contexts. It is important to remember that the background guide provides delegates with an introduction to
the topics; with that said, more research should and must be done by all delegates to obtain a thorough
understanding of the issues and their intricate details. Well-researched topics enable delegates to serve as
important assets to the progress and success of the Fourth Committee. This further ensures that debate will
be both informative and enjoyable.

In order to achieve a thriving debate, appropriate decorum must be upheld at all times—without exception.
This means that delegates must respect the Dais and fellow delegates unconditionally during formal and
informal debate. Disrespect of any form will not be tolerated. With proper decorum, especially in a larger
committee like SPECPOL, all opinions can be properly heard. Everyone wishing to speak will be given a
chance to do so with as minimal a delay as possible and at the discretion of the Dais.

Additionally, a thorough understanding of parliamentary procedure is necessary for all delegates at the
conference. Review NHSMUN’s rules of procedure carefully, as different conferences employ different rules.
Both the Director and Assistant Director are available to assist you in understanding these procedures,
whether before the Conference or during the actual committee sessions, because they serve as two of your
most important resources when preparing for NHSMUN 2009. While the Director is the official leader of
the committee, both the Director and Assistant Director conduct extensive research on both topics and are
more than willing to discuss any questions or comments that you may have. A third member of the Dais,
referred to as the Chair, will be helping to lead committee sessions and ensure that parliamentary procedure is
properly respected and maintained at all times.

Committee sessions will entail both formal debate (using a Speakers’ List) and informal debate (either
moderated or un-moderated caucuses). Delegates are encouraged to use both formal and informal debate to
share their ideas and solutions. When it comes to writing working papers and resolutions, the most ideal time
for this vital process is during un-moderated caucuses, where delegates can use their time most effectively to
produce work of the highest quality.

As long as delegates are substantively prepared, willing to work, and respectful of others, we will do our very
best to ensure that you have an interesting and exciting experience at NHSMUN 2009. By following these
guidelines, this year’s SPECPOL will achieve an accurate simulation of the United Nations’ Fourth
Committee and in doing so, the committee will learn a great deal about pertinent issues in today’s world and
understand how international relations are conducted at a global level. Please contact the Director if you
have any questions regarding the topics or general procedures, and I will be more than happy to assist you as
you prepare for this coming March.

The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee



“The people of Western Sahara still have not had the opportunity to exercise their right to self-determination and they still
languish in refugee camps in the harsh Sahara Desert.”
–Congressman Joseph R. Pitts, United Nations Fourth Committee, 6 October 2004.


Western Sahara, a largely vast and barren territory located in North Africa between Mauritania and Morocco,
has experienced severe conflict for several decades. Formerly a Spanish colony, the territory became a violent
battleground in 1975 after Spain’s sudden decision to cede the territory to Morocco and Mauritania (Shelley
xviii). The Polisario Front, an Algerian-backed rebel group that formed to claim the right to Western Sahara’s
self-determination, immediately disputed the land claims of these two countries. After more than three
decades of territorial conflict and peace efforts, notable resolutions are few and far between. The region has
experienced unstable ceasefire treaties, aggressive separatist groups, mistreated refugees, and largely
unproductive negotiation attempts facilitated by the United Nations (UN). An effective means of avoiding
this cyclical disagreement and violence continues to elude peacemakers.

Despite Western Sahara’s presence on the current agenda docket of the United Nations, formal discussion of
the issue has produced few results. Today, the problem is far more complex than it was originally. At first,
the question was simply whether or not Western Sahara should be independent. The conflict has become
increasingly complicated by generating hostilities among various countries. Such obstacles tend to result in
violence and further isolation of a potential resolution. Because the complexity of this issue is constantly
rising, little progress has occurred. Negotiation efforts, such as the New York meeting of Morocco’s
government and the Polisario Front in June 2007, have made hardly any impact on the resolution of the
Western Sahara situation and this “humble beginning is a far cry from an actual agreement” (Baranikas 1).

Approximately five-sixths of Western Sahara is currently controlled by Morocco, a current cause of great
debate in modern international law. Furthermore, Morocco and Algeria have become significant regional
rivals due to the conflict. As the issue continues to develop, the Fourth Committee must follow its
peacekeeping mandate and mediate a feasible solution before the problem escalates any further.


W estern Sahara’s liberation from Spain

For a territory whose conflict currently holds global recognition, Western Sahara experienced a very humble
start. At 102,700 square miles (approximately the size of Great Britain), the region was originally thought to
be void of any mineral or other type of wealth, with few Berber nomads migrating and inhabiting the area
(Jensen 21). The discovery of mineral wealth, however, soon caused other countries to begin developing an
interest in the region. For example, the discovery of high-grade phosphate rock at Bou Craa—a northern city
close to the main city of El Aaiún—motivated interest in investment in mining equipment, specifically, the
construction of a 62-mile long conveyer belt, and the development of elaborate port facilities in El Aaiún,
located on the northwestern coast (Jensen 26). Throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, many
European states debated claiming parts of the territory. In January 1958, Spain officially declared Western
Sahara its province, naming the territory Spanish Sahara. Just one month later, King Mohammed V of
Morocco laid claim to Western Sahara (Pazzanita xxviii). This early conflict surrounding Western Sahara—
solely between Morocco and Spain—was enough to attract the attention of the UN, but more so, served as
an indicator of similar conflicts that would emerge in subsequent years.

The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

In 1964, the United Nations passed Resolution 2072, which stated that the Saharans had the right to freedom
from “colonial domination” and shortly thereafter called upon Spain to “enter into negotiations on the
problems relating to sovereignty” posed by the territory (2072(XX)). Spain, however, voted against this
resolution because it threatened the state’s claims to the region. With the new knowledge of natural deposits
like phosphate, iron ore, uranium, and oil, the territory displayed potential signs of profit for Spain and other
countries with claims to the Saharan region (“A Brief History”).

After several years of additional debate on the future of the Saharan territory, the Polisario Front emerged in
1973 with the unofficial slogan, “Through the rifle, we will gain our liberty” (“First Polisario”). To achieve
this objective, the group, led by Polisario Secretary-General El-Ouali Mustapha Sayed, staged its first military
strike against Spain on 20 May 1973, just ten days after its formation (Lippert 634). This attack, referred to as
the El-Khanga Raid, consisted of a small group of Polisario guerrillas and their successful overthrow of a
Spanish post (Lippert 636).

The founders of the Polisario Front were primarily Sahrawis—members of the population of Western
Sahara—who were either indigenous nomadic inhabitants or individuals studying or living in Western Sahara
or Morocco at the time. With 15,000 well-armed troops, the Polisario Front soon became a force in the
region (Jensen 26). In an attempt to placate the Polisario Front, Spain suggested a declaration of internal
autonomy with future self-determination for the Sahara, primarily intended to diffuse Saharan nationalist
fervor (Mundy). Additionally, the Spanish government authorized the registration of an official government,
Partido de la Unión Nacional Saharaui (PUNS), to lead the newly autonomous region. It soon became clear
that the leaders were selected to make rulings in favor of the Spanish national government, as the Spanish
authorities were working to foster a political climate favorable to colonial interests (Jensen 26).

The events of 1975 proved decisive in the history of Western Sahara. After general discontent with its
policies, the support of Spain’s puppet government, PUNS, began to dwindle significantly and instead, the
public shifted its allegiance to the Polisario Front. In May, PUNS leader, Khalihenna Ould Rachid, fled from
Western Sahara to Morocco and announced allegiance to Moroccan leader, King Hassan. Amid acts of
aggression such as the destruction of parts of the phosphate conveyor belt by the Polisario Front, King
Hassan attempted to persuade Spain’s leaders to join him in requesting a nonbinding advisory opinion from
the International Court of Justice (ICJ). He was hoping that Morocco could gain a legal advantage over
Western Sahara for the same purposes it attempted to claim the territory in 1958. Along with the
establishment of the PUNS government, Spain had previously announced its intention to conduct a
referendum in Western Sahara with the possibility of independence, but Hassan refused to accept this.
Although the Spanish government repudiated arbitration with the ICJ, Hassan joined Mauritanian leaders
before the Court for the determination of Western Sahara’s legal status (Jensen 27). The ICJ announced its
conclusions concerning the issue in the Western Sahara Advisory Opinion of 16 October 1975, by deciding

The materials and information presented to the Court show the existence, at the time of
Spanish colonization, of legal ties of allegiance between the Sultan of Morocco and some
of the tribes living in the territory of Western Sahara… . On the other hand, the Court’s
conclusion is that the materials and information presented to it do not establish any tie
of territorial sovereignty between the territory of Western Sahara and the Kingdom of
Morocco or the Mauritanian entity. Thus the Court has not found legal ties of such a
nature as might affect the application of Resolution 1514(XV) in the decolonization of
Western Sahara and, in particular, of the principle of self-determination through the free
and genuine expression of the will of the peoples of the Territory. (Western Sahara
Advisory Opinion, International Court of Justice. 16 Oct 1975).

The mention of “legal ties of allegiance” of certain tribes loyal to the sultan enabled King Hassan to interpret
the International Court of Justice’s ruling in a manner that favored Morocco, completely ignoring the second
half of the ruling, which did not “establish any tie of territorial sovereignty” to Morocco (“Advisory”). The
very day after the ruling, Hassan announced a plan for the “Green March,” in which 350,000 unarmed
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

Moroccans would cross the border into Western Sahara to formally establish Morocco’s claim to the territory
(Jensen 27). After extensive deliberations, Hassan honored Spain’s request to postpone the march by several
weeks, which may be due in part to historically amicable relations between the two states. In the interim,
Spain requested that the UN Security Council forbid the march. Despite the Security Council’s condemnation
of the march, Hassan ordered it on 5 November 1975. This was the last of a series of difficulties for Spain,
whose political future was already uncertain because of then dictator, Francisco Franco’s health
complications. As a result, three days after the march, the Spanish government agreed relinquish the Sahara
to Morocco and Mauritania without conducting the referendum it originally planned and committed to full
withdrawal from the region by February 1976 (Jensen 28). Meanwhile, the Polisario Front relocated to
Algeria after Spain’s withdrawal in 1976, and was provided with bases and military aid in the organization’s
new location.

Morocco was successful in its attempt to obtain political control over Western Sahara and soon dispatched
armed forces to secure the territory. The Algerian government sent troops to assist Western Saharan efforts
in the region, however, in resistance to the Moroccan advance. Algeria, a modern republic established
through self-determination, has traditionally seen Western Sahara’s situation as a parallel to its own history.
As such, the country is a strong supporter of Western Sahara’s desire for independence. Shortly after the
dispatch of troops for Saharan aid, however, Moroccan forces attacked the Algerians which resulted in the
withdrawel of troops by Algerian President Houari Boumedienne after significant Algerian losses (Mundy).
With the arrival of Moroccan armed forces in Western Sahara, over 40,000 Sahrawi refugees were reported to
have fled eastward and out of the country (Jensen 29). The situation soon escalated: the Polisario Front’s
attacks on Moroccan soldiers were frequently blamed on Algerian forces, while Morocco was alleged to have
deployed air power and even napalm to attack refugee camps. Additionally, Mauritania expressed the desire
to annex all of Western Sahara; and at the end of 1975, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) estimated that 50,000 Saharan refugees had been displaced to Algeria (Jensen 29).

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed two resolutions in reference to the Western Saharan
conflict on 10 December 1976. One resolution requested that Spain take all necessary measures to ensure
that the population of Spanish Sahara (Western Sahara’s former name) would have the power to freely
exercise the inalienable right to self-determination (3458A(XXX)). The second resolution suggested that “all
Saharan populations originating in the Territory be able to exercise their inalienable right to self-
determination through free consultations organized with the assistance of a representative of the United
Nations appointed by the Secretary-General (3458B(XXX)). Upon an official visit to the area, however, it
was determined that the second resolution could not be effectively executed due to the extreme violence in
the region that was increasingly unstable.

These two resolutions proved to be much less effective than anticipated. The Spanish had already completed
their evacuation of the region by February 1976, and Western Sahara was under the control of Morocco and
Mauritania, despite Algerian protests. The Polisario Front, although without the approval of Morocco, had
already established the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and monitored the election of new
leaders (Pazzanita xxxi). Despite former Western Saharan leaders’ support of integration with Morocco and
Mauritania, the Polisario Front, Spain, and the UN rejected such integration on the grounds that it was
neither official nor did it adequately express the desires of all involved parties (Mundy). When Algeria publicly
supported the Polisario’s declaration of statehood for Western Sahara, Morocco responded by cutting all
diplomatic ties with Algeria. While Western Sahara was now independent of Spain, it faced regional
challenges: regional tension and violence were on the rise, and as per Red Cross reports, tens of thousands of
Sahrawi refugees were dispersed around the region.

On 5 August 1979, Mauritania and the Polisario Front signed the Algiers Agreement Front after years of
continued attacks on Mauritanian troops by Polisario rebels. The agreement stipulated that all combat forces
be removed from Mauritania’s territory in Western Sahara. Additionally, a secret provision in the
agreement—not made public until weeks after the signing—stated that “the Islamic Republic of Mauritania
undertakes to put an end to its presence in Western Sahara and to hand over directly to the Polisario Front
the part of Western Sahara that it controls within seven months from the date of signing of the present
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

agreement” (Pazzanita 18). The portion of land controlled by Mauritania (known as Tiris el-Gharbia) was soon
annexed by Morocco, however, and renamed to reflect the new control. With Morocco’s annexation, the
Polisario Front increased its offensive operations and began to conduct more attacks on Moroccan soldiers
using approximately 15,000 motorized and well-armed troops. This increase in fighting drew the attention of
the UN, which in November 1979 called for the Polisario Front and Morocco to directly negotiate with each
other. Negotiations, however, failed to accomplish any significant progress toward a stable peace (Hodges

Morocco’s attempts to secure control over the region manifested in the form of the Moroccan Wall, or The
Berm, for which construction began in 1980 and was completed in 1987. Morocco constructed the sand wall,
measuring 2,500 kilometers, to physically separate the territories that it controlled from those controlled by
the Polisario (Bhatia 291). Although Morocco wanted to control the entire territory, its motives for the wall
were to secure Moroccan areas from Polisario attacks and stabilize itself for future endeavors outside of the
wall. Simultaneously, King Hassan refused to conduct a referendum of the population unless it served the
purpose of “confirming Moroccan sovereignty,” without question (Pazzanita xxxii). The Polisario Front’s
greatest support at the time came from Algeria, which proceeded to support it amongst repeated insistence
from the United Nations that direct negotiations occur between the Polisario and Moroccan leaders
(A/RES/39/40). Algeria’s support for Western Sahara has continued and the Polisario Front’s legitimacy
with the Saharawis and in the global community remains undiminished.

United Nations Involvement and M INURSO

In the early 1980s, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) attempted to resolve the conflict between
Morocco and the Polisario Front. Considering that these efforts were mostly in vain, the United Nations
became heavily involved in the conflict in 1986, when UN Secretary-General, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar,
officiated negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario in New York. While the talks produced a variety
of potential ideas for peace resolutions, an effective means to implement these ideas was less tangible. In
1988, Pérez de Cuéller proposed a combination cease-fire and referendum of Sahrawi self-determination to
be held in Western Sahara, and officials from both parties accepted the plan (Pazzanita xxxiv). The proposal
was aided by the restoration of Algeria and Morocco’s diplomatic relations after a lapse of 12 years (Pazzanita

The original peace plan that Pérez de Cuéller proposed entailed four primary points: (1) the appointment of a
special representative by the Secretary-General, whose task it would be to prepare the ground for the dispatch
of neutral UN administrators and peacekeeping soldiers to Western Sahara; (2) a cease-fire between Morocco
and the Polisario Front, a reduction of Moroccan troops in the ex-colony, and an exchange of prisoners of
war; (3) a survey of the population of Western Sahara conducted with the assistance of the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees, which would use Spain’s 1974 census as a basis for additional information on
the growth and movements of the Sahrawi populace since that time; and (4) a UN-conducted referendum on
self-determination in Western Sahara after a campaign period lasting several weeks, and in which qualified
voters would be given a choice between independence and integration into the Kingdom of Morocco
(Pazzanita 427).

While this plan lacked specifics such as the number of ground troops or an approximate timeline to
accomplish the goals, it provided the necessary foundation to begin the peace process. After appointing
special representative Hector Gros Espiell of Uruguay (to be succeeded by Johannes Manz of Switzerland),
Pérez de Cuéller refined his plan and elaborated on many of the details he envisioned in five principal areas.
Then, on 27 June 1990, the Security Council fully endorsed his five proposed courses of action: (1) the
establishment in the territory after a cease-fire of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western
Sahara (MINURSO), which would be composed of military, civilian, and police units; (2) an exchange of
prisoners of war and a substantial reduction in the numbers of parties’ soldiers in Western Sahara, along with
general amnesty for political detainees, the elimination of repressive laws in the territory, and the return of all
Sahrawi refugees after being found qualified to vote; (3) MINURSO’s confinement and supervision of the
remaining military units of Morocco and the Polisario; (4) the finalization of the voter’s list and a campaign
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

period during which each side could espouse the merits of either independence or integration with Morocco;
and (5) a referendum on self-determination in which independence or integration would be the only choices
presented to the electorate (Pazzanita 429).

Morocco’s government rapidly responded with a detailed letter critical of the plan. Chief among these
criticisms were complaints about administrative responsibility, the maintenance of law and order, security
issues, the armed forces, and the referendum, noting that the proposed electoral process was “exaggeratedly
optimistic taking into account the complexity of the operation” and the problem of “establishing the electoral
lists of Saharans who sought refuge in Morocco when the Territory was under Spanish domination” (Jensen
40). The manner of determining the electoral roll of Sahrawis eligible to vote in the referendum emerged as
the primary disagreement between the parties, with experts speculating that “compromise could prove
elusive, if not impossible” (Jensen 41). Despite this, the Secretary-General proceeded with his plan. While
there exist a number of theories as to why Pérez de Cuéllar chose to overlook this significant disagreement,
most historians assert that between the renewal of diplomatic ties between Algeria and Morocco and the
frequent meetings between leaders of opposing groups, the Western Saharan region was generating many
signs of optimism. Despite caution from many advisors, the Secretary-General gave the order for the
implementation of the first step of the agreement, the cease-fire. This cease-fire, to the present-day, has been
instrumental in avoiding major outbreaks of violence.

Efforts were than turned to implementing the referendum on self-determination. While it was originally
scheduled for January 1992, the vote, like many other MINURSO events, was postponed (Seddon 338).
Morocco, for example, refused to withdraw its armed forces until disagreements in voting procedures were
resolved. The Polisario, in response, threatened to halt its cooperation with MINURSO if Morocco did not
cease to move thousands of citizens into Western Sahara for potential inclusion in the referendum.
MINURSO itself was experiencing problems. For instance, the peacekeepers serving on the organization
were subjected to poor working conditions, a lack of cooperation from both sides, and a variety of logistical
challenges. In an attempt to encourage cooperation with the referendum, Pérez de Cuéllar proposed a change
in the original plan: that all Sahrawis in residence in Western Sahara for six years or longer, or for 12 years
intermittently prior to 1974, be permitted to vote (Pazzanita 430). The Polisario adamantly opposed this
suggestion, however, on the grounds that it favored Morocco tremendously, asserting that the voting results
would be skewed and inaccurate.

The period from early 1992 to mid-1996 was spent trying to resolve issues with the identification of voters
for the referendum; there was little to no effort made to implement other elements of the plan because it was
recognized that unless the differences of the parties regarding the identification process were resolved, none
of the remaining tasks would be tangible deliverables (Theofilopoulou 4). In August 1994, the identification
of referendum voters began, although throughout the process, both parties’ mutual lack of trust and
skepticism regarding MINURSO slowed the procedures significantly. When Morocco submitted 181,000
voter applications and the Polisario had only submitted 39,000, tensions escalated such that both parties
questioned the integrity of the identification process (Theofilopoulou 4). At the same time, 320 former
Sahrawi political prisoners who were released in June 1992 by King Hassan were demanding information
about the mysterious deaths of 57 Sahrawi prisoners, which escalated the existing tensions (Demas 38).
During this time, it is reported that the Polisario interrupted the actual process more often than did Morocco,
as the latter felt that its greater number of voter applicants secure victory in the referendum. By the late
1990s, the deadlock over MINURSO had exceeded issues of voter identification and the lack of progress on
troop withdrawal. The very conduct and credibility of the mission raised the question of whether MINURSO
(and by extension, the Security Council and the UN Secretariat) had the political will or resources to work in
Western Sahara independent of outside pressure and in accordance with its mandate (Pazzanita 432).

A new strategy needed to be employed for progress to be made. Understanding this, UN Secretary-General,
Kofi Annan, appointed former United States Secretary of State, James Baker, as his personal envoy to
Western Sahara in 1997. Annan requested that Baker “assess the implementability of the plan, examine ways
of improving the chances of resuming its implementation in the near future, and if there were none, advise
[him] on other possible ways of moving the peace process forward” (S/1997/358). At the time, the prospect
- 10 -
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

of involving the United States in the matter seemed helpful, due to the state’s political weight and expression
of interest in peace for the region.

Initially, Baker was successful at revamping the MINURSO plan and resuming voter identification peacefully.
After months of tedious interviews, screenings, and examination of voters, however, the same obstacles from
1997 surfaced in 2000. As per Annan’s instructions, Baker devised a new plan for Western Sahara because of
these insurmountable challenges. In the new plan for 2001 (referred to as the Framework Agreement
Proposal), he suggested that Western Sahara be provided with a five-year period of autonomy with complete
control over local governmental administration. At the same time, he proposed that the government of
Morocco have exclusive control over foreign relations. The most ardent critic of the proposal was Algeria,
which cautioned that the Framework Agreement went against the principle of self-determination, was
preparation for the eventual integration of Western Sahara with Morocco, and demonstrated that Baker was
operating outside of his mandate (Theofilopoulou 10). The Polisario Front had similar critiques and
proposed a series of changes that conflicted with Moroccan interests. In 2003, years after the original goal for
successful peace, the Polisario Front and Algeria remained dissatisfied with Baker’s proposal, claiming that
the situation was hardly better than in the decade prior (Seddon 496). Although both parties agreed to
conditionally accept the terms, by the middle of 2004, Morocco expressed its rejection of several parts of the
proposed agreement. Experts explain this sudden change of opinion by noting that Morocco may have felt
its sovereignty was being threatened (Mundy).

By 2005, after 13 years and more than US$1 billion spent on unsuccessful peace efforts and negotiation
attempts, MINURSO had been all but rendered entirely irrelevant (Pazzanita 440). While it did succeed in
accomplishing certain tasks, like the improvement of communication between Sahrawis on the Polisario and
Morocco sides respectively, it has largely failed to achieve the other objectives it originally set out to
accomplish. Baker’s resignation in July 2004 was met with mixed emotions—even though they often
criticized his proposals, Polisario representatives were discouraged that an official who could potentially bring
about a favorable outcome for them was leaving, and Moroccan leaders were outwardly content, as they had
subtly hoped for his departure for many months (Theofilopoulou 13). While MINURSO has not entirely
ended its campaign since Baker’s departure and was just renewed until 30 April 2009, the momentum in the
region has been lost (S/RES/1813). Despite the cease-fire agreement, Sahrawi demonstrations, protests, and
imprisonments by Moroccan forces frequently occur, as well as similar Polisario aggression towards Morocco
(Damis 38). Additionally, the prospect of successful negotiations is becoming more distant. At the most
recent Polisario-Moroccan set of peace talks, for example, neither side accepted any of the other’s ideas

By assuming responsibility for resolving the Western Sahara conflict, the UN injected itself into an extremely
complex situation. Both parties were determined to win the referendum under the UN Settlement Plan and
had a strategy for doing so: Morocco by expanding and inflating the electorate to include as many Moroccans
of Saharan descent as possible, and the Polisario by trying to keep it within the parameters of the 1974
Spanish census (Theofilopoulou 14). Upon analyzing the decades of interactions, historians have expressed
that rather than strictly obeying a previously developed strategy, the United Nations has permitted each side
of the Western Saharan conflict to influence the process for its own good. For example, instead of strictly
adhering to the policies established by the mission, historians opine that MINURSO representatives allowed
both the Polisario Front and Morocco far too much power in the search for a peace plan. The United
Nations’ attempts to successfully bring peace to the region failed largely due to this wavering strategy.


The Western Saharan continued throughout MINURSO’s presence in the region and remains today.
Morocco states that it will not accept any proposal for the independence of Western Sahara. In addition, the
Polisario Front has remained loyal to its objective of securing self-determination for the territory. While both
sides have recently been attempting to conduct peace talks, no notable progress has been made. Mauritania’s
policy on this issue, however, has evolved. At one point in hostile opposition to the Polisario Front and
pressured to sign an agreement to remove its troops from Western Sahara, the country recently announced its
- 11 -
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

vow of neutrality in the conflict and expressed an interest in assisting by “bringing the two sides involved to
the negotiating table” (“Mauritania”). It is very possible, however, that Mauritania’s coup of 6 August 2008—
where President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi was ousted by a group of rebel militants—will alter
the country’s view of the Polisario Front.

With recent support from France and the United States, Morocco has expressed the desire to enter peace
discussions accompanied by Algeria. Yet, the Algerian government has repeatedly refused to make decisions
on behalf of the Polisario Front for the purpose of negotiating with Morocco. Most recently, Morocco
brought up the possibility of autonomy in Western Sahara. Ever since Baker’s resignation, Morocco has been
promising to present an autonomy plan for Western Sahara and has continually stated that in presenting such
a proposal “for its southern provinces,” it expects that the Secretary General and his personal envoy will
“exert efforts to convince the other parties to seize the chance for peace brought by [the] initiative”
(“Western Sahara”). The Security Council reviewed Morocco’s intentions, and on 30 April 2007 it passed
Resolution 1754, stating that the parties must negotiate with the supervision of the Secretary-General. As
such, the Security Council has demonstrated that it is not yet ready to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over
Western Sahara (“Western Sahara”). The Polisario Front also presented a plan to the United Nations in 2007,
and since than, both the Polisario and Morocco have met to discuss negotiations, as per Resolution 1754.
These negotiations have so far been unsuccessful.

A crucial problem facing both Morocco and the Polisario are their alleged human rights violations. For
example, on 19 June 2008, the World Organization Against Torture released a report criticizing Moroccan
abuse and repressive measures against Western Saharan rights defenders (“World Organization”). According
to the report, “the use of force against human rights activists and defenders in the Western Sahara was noted,
as was the arbitrary detention of several of their members” and that “[Moroccan] security forces used
violence to break up peaceful gatherings of human rights defenders and trade union members on several
occasions” (“World Organization”). The report, called “The Observatory for the Protection of Human
Rights Defenders,” exposes human rights violations that Moroccans conduct. Polisario forces are accused of
the same violations, however, such as the absence of hesitation to “eliminate, in the most cruel methods, any
voices that challenge their view” (“Morocco: Polisario victims”).

For instance, between 24 and 26 May 2005, “hundreds of Sahrawi protesters took to the streets in Laayoune
to call for the independence of Western Sahara. Some brandished flags of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic
Republic, the state proclaimed by the Polisario Front” (“Justice”). Additional protests occurred soon after
within several towns in Western Sahara, including Smara and Dakhla; demonstrations led by Sahrawi students
living in Moroccan cities such as Casablanca, Fes, and Rabat also took place. As a result of these
demonstrations, the Moroccan government detained 203. Of those initially detained, 152 were released
without charge after being held for several days but 51 were charged with criminal conspiracy. Many of the
released detainees claim that “they were tortured or ill-treated, either to force them to sign confessions, to
intimidate them from further protests, or to punish them for advocating Western Sahara’s independence from
Morocco” (“Justice”). The apparent torture methods include “being beaten with batons, kicked and
denounced as ‘traitors’ to Morocco, suspended in contorted positions, having dirty rags placed over the
mouth and nose to induce partial suffocation, and being urinated upon” (“Justice”).

On the other hand, Morocco claims that 30,000 Sahrawi refugees are being forced to remain in Algerian
refugee camps against their will by the Polisario. The Polisario adamantly denies this allegation, however.
According to reports of the Red Cross regarding the conditions of the camps, the refugee camps host more
than 167,000 refugees and the claim that refugees desire to leave remain unsubstantiated. Morocco further
reports that the Polisario has 1,481 Moroccan prisoners of war and the question of whether or not these
prisoners have been tortured remains unanswered (Pothoven 13).

Despite the more than three decades of Western Saharan conflict, the region remains unstable. Sahrawis,
angry at the lack of progress in the peace process, recently threatened that there would be an “explosion” if
notable results were not observed in the near future (“Sahrawis impatient”). While MINURSO technically
remains active and Western Sahara still appears in several documents and agendas of the Fourth Committee,
- 12 -
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

after more than 30 years since the identification of the conflict, the time could not be more appropriate for a
new and innovative resolution. Despite continued violence and mutual hostilities, both Morocco and the
Polisario Front, along with much of the international community, have recently demonstrated the ability and
desire to resolve the conflict amicably. Specifically, since June 2007, both sides have meet with each other
and have held four rounds of negotiation talks “under the auspices of Peter van Walsum, a special envoy of
[the] UN Secretary-General” (“Security Council”). Morocco has recently put forth a plan for Saharan
autonomy as an attempt at compromise. If no progress is made now, the situation in Western Sahara will
undoubtedly descend into the familiar chaos of the past.


Countries with unspecified positions and the “Group of Friends of W estern Sahara”

Many countries have not formally specified their positions in the Western Saharan conflict. The Group of
Friends of Western Sahara, for example, is a group that consists of France, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom,
and the United States and strives to encourage peaceful, bilateral negotiations between Western Sahara and
Morocco. Even though these nations may have aligned themselves with a specific side at different points
(such as France’s historical support of Morocco, Spain’s disapproval of Morocco’s aggression, or the United
States’ desire for Morocco to aid in combating terrorism), all five of these nations have formally declared that
they are interested in a peaceful solution to the conflict and do not support one side over the other.

Countries opposed to W estern Saharan independence (M orocco, many M iddle Eastern countries,
Bulgaria, etc.)

The state that is most strongly opposed to Western Sahara’s independence is Morocco. Morocco’s view on
the issue, for example, remains the same as it was three decades ago—it is entirely against the independence
of Western Sahara. Current Moroccan monarch King Mohamed VI, for example, has stated that his kingdom
will not accept any form of Western Sahara’s independence under any conditions. Other countries with less
specific involvement in the conflict are opposed to Saharan independence because of traditional alliances.
For example, the states of Bulgaria, Cameroon, and Guinea have historically supported Morocco and
generally favor its desire to retain control over the Saharan territory.

Countries in favor of W estern Saharan independence (Algeria, South Africa, Norway)

Countries are in favor of Western Sahara’s independence for a variety of reasons. Algeria, for example,
vocally opposes Morocco’s presence in Western Sahara and has since the beginning of the conflict. Fueled
largely by similarities between the Western Saharan conflict and its own history, Algeria pledges its strong
support for Western Sahara’s self-determination. The Polisario Front also receives much support from South
Africa and Norway, two nations that embrace the Polisario theology due to their own histories (Mundy).
While it is a member of the Group of Friends of Western Sahara, the grassroots support for the Polisario in Spain
is significant. Furthermore, a variety of left-leaning governments also support the Polisario Front. For
instance, many small African nations or nations like Venezuela see in Western Sahara a western imperial force
in play and strongly oppose it.

Countries concerned that W estern Sahara’s outcome will set a precedent

Many countries either support or oppose independence in Western Sahara because they feel it will influence
their futures. Some states believe that Saharan autonomy or independence may establish a dangerous
precedent for other countries with ethnically divided populations, such as Mali and Niger. Other countries,
including Norway and Switzerland, are concerned about the affect the resolution of the dispute will have on
the strength of International Law when considering the ICJ’s 1975 Advisory Opinion.

More obvious examples include the situation between the Russian Federation and Chechnya. The First
Chechen War, which lasted from 1994 to 1996 between Russia and Chechnya resulted in Chechnya gaining de
- 13 -
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

facto independence as the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. Russian control was restored during the Second
Chechen War (from 1999 to 2000), however. Today, Chechnya is a federal subject of the Russian Federation
and a separatist movement is still present. Despite Chechnya’s continued desire for independence, Russia
refuses to compromise on this issue because the country fears that if Chechnya becomes independent,
additional territories will break away from Russia, leading to its disintegration. Clearly, the dispute over
Western Sahara would have a huge impact on the situation in Chechnya.


The Western Saharan region has been the source of conflict for over three decades. Disputing states
continue to conduct negotiations (namely Morocco and the Polisario Front). Despite the enormous amounts
of money already spent on the problem, little progress has been made in the region. Regional violence is
increasing, as illustrated by a number of recent reports of human rights violations and aggression coming
from both the Polisario Front and Morocco.

Delegates must first analyze the details of past peacekeeping attempts in Western Sahara, noting carefully
those attempts that were successful and those that failed. The framework provided by MINURSO will be
instrumental in determining both the successes and shortcomings of actions taken in the region. Due to the
extensive number of unsuccessful peace negotiations, delegates will have to search for a resolution that
encompasses ideas not previously explored. For example, a unified and unwavering international response to
the Western Saharan conflict has yet to be tested; instead, both sides of the dispute have easily manipulated
past negotiations in their self interest.

The Western Saharan problem is fragile at best, and at the current rate of renewed aggression and violence,
the longer the problem goes unsolved, the less stable the region will become. One of the many factors that
must be taken into consideration when debating this issue is the impact that the outcome of this dispute
could potentially have on International Law, “because the Sahrawi’s claims are based partly on [the] 1975
International Court of Justice ruling” (Pothoven 2). It is therefore of crucial importance that the Fourth
Committee addresses the Western Saharan conflict and ensures both regional and international security.

- 14 -
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee



“The government of Colombia…has historically been one of the most vocal advocates of combating illegal drug trafficking, yet
Colombia remains one of the largest cocaine producers and exporters in the world. Something is not working here.”
–Maria Navarro, director of Global Humanitarian Protection, 3 July 2008.


Both the trafficking of humans and the trafficking of drugs have become multi-billion dollar industries in
Latin America’s underground economy. A recent report by the International Organization for Migration
estimates that the trafficking of women in Latin America generates US$16 billion annually—almost half of
the worldwide industry’s profit—and that drug trafficking in the region generates hundreds of billions more
(“Sex Trafficking Now”). The fact that Colombia’s illicit cocaine trade alone supplies over 80% of the global
supply is just one example of the size and power of the current Latin American market (“Colombia’s Civil”).
While certain countries like Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Mexico contribute more to the illicit drug trade than
others, all countries, due to their geography, are affected by the industry. Many trafficking routes, for
example, involve both land and sea access to bordering states. Likewise, while certain countries also have
larger stakes in human trafficking, the industry affects all States in the region.

Latin American trafficking industries are negative influences for several reasons. Historically, the greatest
threat to stability is the power of these underground industries and their ability to corrupt the social, political,
and economic integrity of a country. Additionally, a recent spike in violence associated with the trafficking
industry constitutes a cause for global concern. Trafficking has caused increased regional hostility, and for
this reason is attracting more media attention at an international level. The massive amount of money
generated from these industries translates into political power in the region and also enables trafficking
leaders to bypass measures against them and secure the growth of their underground businesses. The
governments of affected countries have expressed their interest in protecting themselves and their citizens,
but to date, no program has been very successful at achieving this. It seems that if no effective action is
taken, these industries will only continue to grow and gain power over the region in which they are based,
causing severe detriments to those involved and the countries themselves.


Trafficking in Latin America has grown increasingly complex: it affects nearly every nation worldwide. While
the countries of Latin America are best known to be the producers of industry, they do play a certain role,
along with the market abroad, in the consumption. The current strength of the industry as a whole is a
testament to the ease with which producers can find consumers, both domestically and abroad. It is for this
reason that the global trafficking industry with roots in Latin America is currently worth hundreds of billions
of dollars and continues to grow.

The illicit trafficking conflict is not unknown to the countries of the region, and many have already instituted
fairly similar programs to address the problem. Since the industry continues to grow internationally, such
legislation has not had the desired effect. Between the financial means of traffickers and their resulting
power, the policies implemented to combat the present crises are not sufficient to combat the increasing
strength of these cartels. To more effectively combat trafficking, it is necessary to study the regional practices
of the parties with the most influence on the industry and the effects that are produced worldwide.

Drug Trafficking

Colombia is one of the most significant nations in the current drug trafficking industry. Most notable is the
country’s coca crop. During the 1990s, Colombia’s coca harvest dramatically increased, despite a national
- 15 -
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

program that attempted to reduce the crop’s production. In 1999, the country even surpassed Peru, formerly
the largest coca producer in the world. Recent data indicates that Colombia possesses hundreds of thousands
of acres of land solely dedicated to this purpose and that it leads the world in quantities of refined cocaine
(Bagley). Furthermore, it is the only country in the world that manufactures all three plant-based illegal drugs
in significant amounts—cocaine, heroin, and marijuana (Thoumi 103).

Eastern Colombian coca plantations are most representative of the drug trade in the country. In these areas,
guerrilla and paramilitary groups impose authoritarian regimes that supplant Colombian democracy. They
interpret and enforce their own laws and regulations, provide education, maintain police forces, and
administer civil justice to solve conflicts among the population. In exchange for these services, these guerrilla
groups charge taxes on coca production and cocaine exports. Additionally, frequenting the region are
longtime settlers who separate a small part of their land for coca, recent settlers who produce both coca and
coca paste, and others whose coca crops function as their sole source of economic livelihood (Thoumi 106).
On the international front, many groups similar to these Eastern Colombian groups have become well-known
in the drug trafficking market. Examples include the Medellín and Cali cartels of the 1980s, infamous for
their enormous power and wealth.

The impact of the drug industry on Colombia has been very significant in political, social, and economic
terms. Past estimates, for example, have indicated that any criminal organization exporting more than 50,000
kilograms of cocaine per year would have profits that compete with those of the private-sector capital
formation of the country, which averaged an annual net of US$2.8 billion (Thoumi 110). Since criminal
organizations do meet these criteria, it is clear that the illegal drug industry possesses the ability to change the
economic power structure, and hence political power structure, of the country. For example, when the
Medellin drug cartel wanted to protest an extradition policy that the Colombian government had established
with the United States, it managed to subtly orchestrate the hostage taking, severe injury, and/or death of
multiple Supreme Court Justices in a tragedy whose evidence is still incomplete. While this illicit market does
stimulate certain elements of the Colombian economy, its consequences have been largely negative. In the
1970s and 1980s, for example, the drug trade caused a spike in real estate and in the national currency. The
subsequent undermining of the government’s political and economic power, however, combined with an
increase in violence and criminal activity were significantly detrimental consequences of said trafficking.

The Colombian political system is more vulnerable than the country’s economy to the power of the illicit
industry. This is because every economic network developed by drug traffickers also has to involve even
more elaborate social and political support networks to protect their investments and themselves. For
example, in the 1980s, the Medellin cartel manipulated the political system to get a trafficker elected to the
Colombian Congress, established a small nationalist party (albeit unsuccessful), and used much of their
funding to contribute to political parties of their liking. In response to complex trafficking networks like
these, the government has attempted to enact policies to prevent the growth of the industry. For example,
high-profile cartel leaders like those of the Medellin and Cali cartels have been jailed and extradited, and many
of their crops have been eradicated. Anti-money laundering measures have been set up in the financial
system, and the seizure and confiscation of contraband have been legalized by the Dirección Nacional de
Estupefacientes—the Colombian office of drug control (Thoumi 112-3).

These measures have not been wholly successful for a number of reasons, however, partly because the
Colombian government has a weak presence in drug-cultivation areas, such as the eastern lands in question.
Colombia, for example, undergoes aerial spraying—a defensive method to reduce drug crops, since it is lacks
the political strength in some regions to combat drug traffickers directly (González-Arias). For one, the
Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), a guerilla organization currently recognized as a
terrorist group by the Colombian government, holds great influence in all aspects of Colombian drug trade.
The FARC gains a significant amount of its finances from its extensive drug production and trafficking;
subsequently, any anti-trafficking measures are met with heavy resistence from the FARC. Additionally,
prisons holding drug traffickers are overcrowded and ineffectively staffed, allowing for prisoners to make
frequent escapes and to continue the administration of trafficking businesses, even while imprisoned. For
example, in 1992, Pablo Escobar—leader of the Medellin cartel—managed to escape from prison and regain
- 16 -
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

control of the cartel, despite hundreds of surrounding soldiers and prison guards (French). Both government
and military corruption played a role in the escape in forms ranging from the special construction of the
mountaintop prison to the selection of prison guards from Escobar’s hometown of Antioquia. Finally,
extensive foreign aid has not, to date, successfully combated the industry. For example, the US$5.4 billion
contribution by the United States to Plan Colombia, a seven-year program aimed at reducing the Colombian
drug trade that began in 1999, did not have a significant impact on drug trafficking. Essentially a failure, Plan
Colombia illustrates that increased monetary aid will not solve the problem without additional efforts.
Instead, the implementation of international policies that close drug markets abroad have shown more
success because it is generally overseas markets that make the crops so lucrative. Ultimately, the introduction
of seemingly innovative ideas directed towards the regulation of the drug trafficking industry have achieved
limited triumphs because they are not being established on a widespread basis (Kraul). As such, delegates on
SPECPOL must consider this in the development of a comprehensive resolution on trafficking.

Peru—Colombia’s neighbor—is also a key player in the drug trafficking industry. The nation’s coca crop is
roughly the same size as Colombia’s, yet due to both successful and unsuccessful anti-trafficking programs,
has fluctuated more than Colombia’s market. Plan Colombia, for example, caused an increase in Peruvian
coca growing. Hundreds of thousands of farmers in Peru’s Upper Huallaga Valley—a tropical region with a
mild climate and ideal soil for growing coca—rely solely on coca production for their income (Palmer 68).
Much like in Colombia, the production of coca has a substantial impact on Peru’s political and economic
situation, from guerilla groups to government corruption.

Peru has attempted many anti-drug campaigns, often with aid from the United States. For example, the
United States spends approximately US$60 million annually to aid in alternative development; that is, the
swapping of coca crops to other products (Egan). Many of these efforts were interrupted by inconsistencies
and corruption in Peru’s army and its police force, however, in addition to the presence of two guerrilla
forces: the Shining Path (also referred to as the Communist Party of Peru), and the Tupac Amaru
Revolutionary Movement. Both of these groups, during the mid-1980s, rivaled each other for control of the
Upper Huallaga Valley. While the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement is no longer in formal existence,
the Shining Path still has members that combat anti-drug trade movements—often violently—and has been
in the mainstream media several times in the past few years. In December 2005, for example, remaining
members of the Shining Path attacked and killed eight police officers in northeast Peru. It is suspected that
these rebels were working in collaboration with drug traffickers (Forero).

After a tremendous surge in drug trafficking during the 1980s, Peru’s trafficking activities declined during the
1990s, largely thanks to American efforts in the Andean region (Miller). In 2003, Peru’s coca trade was
reported as revitalized by a high demand for the product, however, and new crops have slowly begun to
overtake eradications previously conducted in the northeast (Wilson). While the Peruvian drug trade is not
quite as strong as its Colombian counterpart, if not attended to appropriately, its trafficking industry has the
potential to expand.

Bolivia’s coca crops are somewhat smaller than Colombia’s and Peru’s, and its history in the drug trafficking
industry is also slightly different. The efforts to reduce coca production were best received in Bolivia and had
better results than those in neighboring Peru. The central government’s anti-drug trade campaigns in Bolivia,
especially those of approximately a decade ago, were reasonably respected and more importantly, were
conducted primarily according to plan (Arganaras 64). They did not fully eradicate coca by any means;
however, a 25% reduction in coca plantations in 1999 was certainly a step in the right direction (Krauss).

The success of Bolivia’s policies was short-lived, however, as a progression of political changes essentially
halted all progress that the nation made with the assistance of the United States in years prior. Former right-
wing, conservative leaders of Bolivia strongly supported the anti-drug trade efforts. The August 2008
democratic reaffirmation of indigenous left-wing president Evo Morales’s mandate to rule the country
illustrates a recent change in Bolivian trafficking patterns, though. Morales is a strong supporter of coca
- 17 -
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

production since, as he notes, the coca plant is not the same as cocaine, and that the plant’s cultivation is
essential to the success of his country.

The policies of Morales reflect a widespread cultural acceptance of coca, further complicating the eradication
campaigns. In Bolivia, many consider the coca plant to have national character (Leons 102). For example, as
a pro-coca resident, George Potter, noted:

“For our people, the coca leaf has been part of our culture for millennia. It has been
used throughout the Andes by our ancestors since before recorded time. Our defense
of the coca leaf is part of the defense of our very culture here in Bolivia. Coca is our
natural medicine. Millions chew it to sustain themselves against the harsh conditions of
the altiplano. It is used to make coca tea, chewing gums, coca wines, shampoos, and
even toothpaste. There are even coca cookies and cakes. Coca is also used in our
rituals. Coca to us Bolivians is like the grape for you. One can make wine from grapes,
but eating grapes does not make one an alcoholic… .”

Because coca is a long-standing tradition in Bolivia among approximately two-thirds of the indigenous
population, there are a wealth of reasons that seem to favor coca production. There are also, however, an
equal number of negative reasons, such as the Commission of Enquiry on the Coca Leaf’s 1950 ruling that
chewing coca has negative effects or the possibility that coca and subsequent cocaine production could
increase dramatically if formally approved (“Report of the Commission”). Undoubtedly, it is not the cultural
acceptance of coca that harms the fight against the illicit drug industry; it is the underground production and
exporting of cocaine that does.

The drug trafficking industry in Mexico receives significant support from the underground market in the
United States, and it is this support that has helped Mexico replace some of Colombia’s trafficking presence
in the region. Though an exact figure is unknown, many sources estimate the annual revenue of Mexico’s
drug-trafficking industry at several billion US dollars. The Mexican government has drafted several pieces of
formal legislation against illicit drug trading. Beginning in 2000, for example, former Mexican president,
Vicente Fox, put plans into effect whereby police would strengthen their implementation of anti-trafficking
regulations. Examples of these plans included the strategic arrests of leading drug traffickers and the seizure
of large quantities of drugs. While some of these plans did achieve their desired result of reducing levels of
drug trafficking, the extensive network of underground traffickers proved too difficult to eradicate
completely. While working with the Mexican government on similar projects, the United States has also
encountered similar results.

The drug trafficking industry in Mexico is notable for its many layers of corruption, from police forces to the
government itself. The country’s action in combating the industry has often achieved noteworthy results.
For example, the government’s decision in late 2007 to launch a US$7 billion campaign specifically targeted at
the violent drug cartels was especially lauded by the United States. With the extensive network that some
drug cartels have (including the recent discovery of spy Nahúm Acosta Lugo having transmitted private
trafficking campaign information to cartel leaders from inside the former President’s office), it seems that the
legislation will not be as successful as the government desires (McKinley). Furthermore, inter-cartel violence
restricts the areas that anti-trafficking officials can access to resolve the conflict because of the danger it

Latin American Conflicts and M arkets for Drug Trafficking

It is important to note that the market for drug trafficking is nothing short of global. The consumption of
illicit drugs with origins in Latin America can be likened to a flowchart. The first step in the process, as
highlighted by the aforementioned countries, is the growing of the raw materials and the actual production of
the drugs. Next, there exists a significant domestic market for the drugs within the Latin American
countries—a fact often overlooked. Nearly 5% of Mexico’s urban population, for example, regularly
- 18 -
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

purchases and consumes illicit drugs that are produced internally, and this number is on the rise (Chabat 137).
The next stage is where the true trafficking begins—that is, the international consumption of the drugs.
Despite anti-trafficking policies, the United States, due to its wealth, consumption habits, and geographical
proximity to the major players in the industry (above all, Mexico), remains the largest market in the world for
illicit drugs produced in Latin America. At the same time, the underground European market has also been
gaining an increasing dependence on Latin America’s illicit trafficking industry.

Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Mexico are considered to be the four largest players in the Latin American
underground drug trafficking industry; however, that does not mean that other states in the region are
removed from the illicit trade. Recent trafficking incidents with respect to other Latin American countries
that have not been previously mentioned include:

Argentina: The internal market for drugs produced within Latin America has recently increased, specifically
within Argentina. Currently, the Argentine government is urging Congress to pass decriminalization
legislation by the end of 2008, which would protect drug users from prosecution and instead, target drug
traffickers and sellers. Several countries, including Brazil and Colombia, have already passed
decriminalization acts (“Argentina President Calls…”).

Brazil: Gangs associated with the drug trafficking industry continue to plague Brazil’s big cities, such as Rio
de Janeiro and São Paulo, with frequent reports of violence. The Brazilian Anti-Drug Task Force, set up in
1999, has had little success in combating drug trafficking due to its strong links to organized crimes. The task
force, however, has been able to share information with other Latin American governments about drug gangs
with the hope that cooperation will enable the governments to better combat the issue in the future (“Brazil
Creates Task Force…”).

Chile: Several drug trafficking routes to Europe were discovered with the seizure of 503,500 kilograms of
cocaine in 2005. While this may seem as if the government’s efforts are becoming increasingly victorious, the
police estimate that only 10% of drugs being trafficked are seized. New hope lies in the recent approval of an
anti-money-laundering law to better control the drug trade; however, domestic cocaine consumption is rising.

Costa Rica: Eleven police officials were recently imprisoned for having collaborated with domestic drug
traffickers. Costa Rica is considered a “transfer state” for cocaine and heroin for the rest of Latin America,
where drugs are quickly imported and exported across its borders (Arguedas).

Ecuador: Recent estimates show that hundreds of kilograms of cocaine pass through Ecuador unstopped in
routine trafficking routes (via the Pacific Ocean), which easily reach Colombia, Peru, and the United States
(Kraul “The World…”).

El Salvador and Guatemala: Several citizens of El Salvador were recently found murdered in Guatemala,
and allegations have emerged regarding the possible infiltration of public officials in both countries by drug
traffickers (Tobar).

Honduras: Honduran and United States Coast Guards worked together to seize nearly 5,100 kilograms of
cocaine being trafficked through Honduran waterways. Despite this, corruption of various authorities within
Honduras is a major concern (“4.6 tons…”).

Nicaragua: Nicaraguan authorities, with the assistance of the U. Coast Guard, intercepted waterway
traffickers and seized over 2,300 kilograms of illegal drugs and small conventional arms. Nicaragua’s drug
trade is closely linked to the trafficking of weapons (“Fleeing Traffickers…”).

Panama: Recent reports indicate an increased presence of Mexican cartels in Panama, with Colombian cartels
serving as their suppliers. The same report noted that Panamanian authorities have seized 25,400 kilograms
of drugs bound for the United States during the first half of 2008.

- 19 -
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

Paraguay: Recent evidence shows that corruption in the Paraguayan police forces frequently protects drug
traffickers from prosecution. Additionally, there is very weak legislation in place to prosecute drug traffickers
and money launderers (Green).

Uruguay: In August 2007, officials conducted the largest cocaine raid in the country’s history, seizing over
450 kilograms of cocaine and simultaneously arresting five Colombians and two Brazilians involved in drug
trades (“Uruguayan police”).

Venezuela: A Venezuelan fishing vessel was recently found transporting over 900 kilograms of cocaine
through the Caribbean Sea. Venezuela, like many other Latin American countries, has recently seen an
increase in illegal drug trade (Green).

Human Trafficking: An Overview

Trafficking of humans for sexual exploitation or forced labor, both within a country and across international
borders, is a lucrative criminal activity that is of crucial concern to the international community (Ribando).
While the conflict in Latin America is not as large as in other regions, the issue presents a continually growing
problem. Before the year 2000, the trafficking of humans had been largely overlooked and understudied in
Latin America (Langberg). The majority of the international community accepts the definition of trafficking,
which has been set forth by the United States Department of State and is outlined in the 2004 Trafficking in
Persons Report, as:

“a commercial sex act [that] is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in

which the person induced to perform such acts has not attained 18 years of
age; or …the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining
of a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or
coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage,
debt bondage, or slavery.”

Experts speculate that a number of reasons contribute to the increasing human trafficking industry in Latin
America. For example, from 1995 to 2000, the regional economic difficulties, poverty, unemployment, and
ongoing conflict in Colombia made Latin America the region with the highest migration rate in the world.

Latin America is reported to be primarily an origin region and, to a lesser extent, a destination region for
human trafficking (“Trafficking in Persons”). These reports indicate that a majority of trafficked persons are
women sought for sexual exploitation, with a smaller number of people sought for forced labor. Frequently
cited origin countries for human trafficking include Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala,
and Mexico. Destinations from these countries are primarily situated in North America and Western Europe,
and include the countries of Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom,
and the United States. Internal origin countries, or countries that traffic citizens domestically, include
Colombia, Honduras, and Nicaragua, while the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico are
considered both origin and destination countries (“Trafficking in Persons”).

Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation and Forced Labor

Both trafficking for forced labor and sexual exploitation are serious problems that are punishable
internationally, but the latter is often considered a more urgent regional concern due to the severity of sexual
abuse (A/RES/55/25). This is perhaps attributable to an aversion to sexual abuse. Most victims are
trafficked for prostitution, but others are used for pornography. While children tend to be trafficked within
their own countries, women between the ages of 18 and 30 are often trafficked internationally, sometimes
with the consent of their husbands or other family members. Major source and recruitment countries include
the following States: Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Spain,
Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, and the United States, on the other hand, are common destination
countries for trafficked persons for sexual exploitation (Ribando). Additionally, it is estimated that nearly
- 20 -
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

2,000 women from Latin America—above all, Brazilians, Colombians, and Peruvians—are trafficked every
year to Japan (“Annual Report on Fighting”).

Recent reports indicate that of the roughly 1.3 million people engaged in forced labor in Latin America,
approximately 20% are trafficking victims. This percentage does not include those who intentionally
immigrate to a country and subsequently become involved in forced labor. In the United States, for example,
nearly two million seasonal farm workers from Latin America and the Caribbean plant and harvest produce.
A lack of legal protection and a high demand for cheap labor, combined with low wages and harsh working
conditions, have resulted in growing numbers of forced labor abuses (Ribando).

Reasons for Regional Trafficking and Anti-Trafficking Programs

Poverty and homelessness rank among the top individual reasons for human trafficking. External factors
such as economic demand for servants and laborers, complex trafficking networks, and government
corruption or disinterest are also responsible for the industry’s prevalence. Yet such factors are largely
speculative, since, despite the significant advantages it would present in combating the human trafficking
industry, conclusive research regarding human trafficking does not yet exist.

Over the past several years, the United States has led a large number of anti-trafficking programs and
campaigns alongside many Latin American countries. In 2000, for example, the State Department began
issuing an annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP), in which countries are ranked in tiers according to the
severity of human trafficking issues. If ranked poorly, a country receives a ninety-day period to improve the
current situation or the state is subject to US sanctions. Bolivia, for example, moved from Tier 3 (sanction-
worthy tier) to Tier 2 after ensuring compliance with TIP rating criteria. The principle problem with
combating human trafficking in Latin American countries, however, is that these countries do not have the
necessary resources or the political will to fund and implement their anti-trafficking programs adequately

Links Between the Trafficking of Drugs and Humans

Drug trafficking and human trafficking, two enormous underground industries in Latin America, are more
related than one might think. According to the Southern Cone Director of the International Organization for
Migration, Eugenio Ambrosi, there is a definite connection between drug trafficking and human trafficking.
When discussing the correlation between the two trades, he has declared that, “Sometimes the victims are
recruited to traffic drugs. There’s a very well organized network, with the capacity to recruit and use [people]
everywhere to satisfy the requirements of the market” (“Sex Trafficking Now”). Drug mules that are part of
the drug and human trafficking industries are exposed to inhumane conditions because they often see no
other choice. Award-winning film Maria Full of Grace, for example, portrays the life of a 17-year old
Colombian girl who, in desperation to earn money for her family, agrees to be trafficked in order to traffic
cocaine. Countless individuals, like the character portrayed in the film, not only suffer tremendously, but they
are indirectly helping to strengthen the link between the drug and human trafficking industries.


Both the underground drug trafficking and human trafficking industries of Latin America continue to grow
despite the ever-changing political policies enacted to combat them. These policies, including aggressive anti-
drug measures like those conducted in one of the four main countries in the industry, are met by powerful
illicit systems fueled by an international market and are rendered largely ineffective.

Latin American human trafficking has recently been classified as comprising nearly half of the human
trafficking profits worldwide, and both the internal and external markets (the origin and destination countries)
continue to expand. Drug trafficking is experiencing similar trends. For example, a recent United Nations
report stated that the total coca cultivation in Colombia has dramatically increased, in spite of aggressive
counter-drug programs in place. As explained by Antonio Maria Costa, director of the United Nations Office
- 21 -
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

on Drugs and Crime, “The increase in coca cultivation in Colombia is a surprise and shock…a surprise
because it comes at a time when the Colombian government is trying so hard to eradicate coca; a shock
because of the magnitude of cultivation” (Forero). Coca production in Peru and Bolivia is reported to be
approaching peak levels, reminiscent of the 1990s.

In Mexico, violence with weapons is at an all-time high. Between January to May of 2008, the Mexican drug
war claimed over 1,100 lives. Current Mexican president Felipe Calderón has outlined his goal of dismantling
the current drug cartels. His progress, however, was overshadowed by the May 2008 murder of twenty police
officers and nine federal agents (“Police Killings”). According to reports of local schools, many worry about
the commutes of children whose school buses have to pass through notably violent neighborhoods. Their
school attendance has significantly declined since the latest spike in violence (Potter).

The recent escape of Ingrid Betancourt from the FARC indicates that there is hope in the trafficking industry.
Betancourt, a former senator and presidential candidate of Colombia, was kidnapped by FARC in 2002 and
freed by Colombian government in 2008. This indicates that Colombia’s legitimate government, which is
anti-drug trafficking, is reestablishing itself in regions of the country from which is was previously barred
access—a positive sign. Yet this is a positive story amongst several negative indicators. At the current rate of
growth and increase in power, the human and drug trafficking industries will continue to dominate Latin
America if they are not met with effective reform. Affected countries continue to display interest in resolving
the conflict, but to date, they have been relatively unsuccessful in limiting drug production, exploitation, and


Latin American and Caribbean Countries

Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have similar views on the trafficking issue, since they are the
most affected by the happenings in the region. All of these countries will believe in the need to collapse the
underground human and drug trafficking industries because such industries have contributed negatively to
the entire region. All of these countries claim to have a low tolerance for illicit drug use and production—
despite the widespread production of them—as well as sexual exploitation or forced labor. In terms of drug
trafficking, the countries of Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Mexico will agree with the need to reduce the
underground trade of illicit drugs but may not agree that all plantations should be destroyed. It is important
to note that for many citizens of these countries, coca is both a plainly and widely accepted element of their
culture. Peru, for example, has formally expressed the desire to mix financial incentives with eradication to
shut down the coca market. Bolivia’s present government will agree with some of these points but will not
see a need for the collapse of the entire market, provided that it does not contribute directly to illegal drug
production. In terms of human trafficking, the entire region favors reforms and legislation that eliminate the
power of the industry.

M ajor involved powers such as the United Kingdom and the United States

The United Kingtom and the United States, in terms of the drug trafficking industry, will favor the forced
eradication of plantations, to be carried out immediately by authorities in the countries that lead the
industries. These powers will not sympathize with the desire to allow coca production to remain as is and will
consider such a desire to be a threat to global security, regardless of the motives. These powers also favor
strong reform to combat the trafficking of humans worldwide.

Other powers with less involvement in the regional industry

States in Africa or the Middle East generally support the Latin American desire to resolve the conflicts of the
drug and human trafficking industries. Due to their minimal involvement, these nations request evidence that
the situation is a global threat and question how their countries will be affected if no preventative steps are
taken. Considering that these countries face similar conflicts in their own regions, they will undoubtedly
- 22 -
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

sympathize with the need for reform and may express an interest in expanding Latin American reform to a
global level.

Destination Countries (Canada, W estern European, and the United States, amongst others)

Countries that receive either trafficked drugs or humans recognize the danger that these products pose to
their societies and will undoubtedly favor the termination of these industries. For example, the extremely
high drug mortality rate in Spain is frequently associated with its large underground market for Colombian
cocaine (Ossa). Statistics of this type inspire Spanish anti-drug trafficking sentiment. Recipient countries of
trafficked goods with origins in Latin America generally share this view.


The trafficking industries in Latin America are both expansive and volatile. Both the illicit trade of drugs and
the illicit trade of humans have resulted in waves of violence that threaten the overall stability of the region.
Extensive plans to combat the industries have proven mostly unsuccessful. Any subtle benefits presented by
the trafficking, like small economic spikes, are undoubtedly outweighed by its negative consequences.

In order to propose effective solutions to Latin American illicit trafficking, delegates will have to first analyze
the causes for the industries’ success and the markets upon which they depend. Delegates must realize that a
small bloc of countries is not sufficient to resolve this problem; this has already been attempted with limited
success. Even the wealth and political power of the United States, paired with many countries in the region,
has not been enough to end the industries. Delegates must also understand that policies that simply forbid
the drug and human trafficking industries are ineffective; these policies are weak alongside the strength of the
trafficking infrastructure. If the nations of Latin America are able to come together to combat the patterns in
trafficking and garner international support, effective solutions will be tangible. Since the market for the
industries is global, no feasible resolution will be achieved without global support. With collaboration and
cooperation, repairing the damage done by Latin American trafficking is, indeed, very possible. SPECPOL is
charged with the responsibility of following its political peacekeeping mandate and ensuring that a timely
solution is found to trafficking in Latin America.

- 23 -
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee


As mentioned in the Note on Research and Preparation, it is imperative that delegates answer each of these questions in their
position papers.


1. Does your country’s history involve colonization or decolonization? If so, explain the territories or
colonies involved. If not, are there any neighboring countries that have experienced colonization or

2. What is the best way for a multi-national dispute to be resolved? Can your country offer any
examples from its own history of related successes and failures?

3. How does your state view decolonization? Apply these views to the situation in Western Sahara.

4. Was your country involved at all in the MINURSO Mission? What is your country’s opinion on the
Mission as a whole? What kind of improvements does your country recommend?

5. What is the most feasible way to solve the Western Saharan Conflict? How can your country
contribute to this plan?


1. Has your country ever been involved with or affected by illicit trafficking, such as that of drugs or
humans? If so, explain. If not, are there any neighboring countries or countries in the region that are
involved with or affected by trafficking industries?

2. How do the underground drug and human trafficking industries of Latin America affect your state,
both directly and/or indirectly?

3. How can countries impede the actions of an organization as complex as a well-established drug cartel
and work to eliminate its threat?

4. What does your state consider to be the most significant element of the Latin American illicit trade
industries? In other words, what does your country feel is the most important issue to be resolved?

5. What is the best way, in your country’s view, to resolve the issue of trafficking in Latin America?
How can your country contribute to this plan?

- 24 -
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

The following documents have been hand-selected by Directors to further aid in delegate preparation. Please make a concerted
effort to read and analyze these documents prior to the conference.


S/RES/690. “United Nations Security Council.” 29 April 1991.

This resolution, on 29 April 1991, established the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara
(MINURSO). Even though it is technically still active, many consider the mission to have failed to achieve its goals several years
ago. This resolution reflects the beginning of what seemed to be a promising program with a mandate to bring peace to Western
Sahara and the region surrounding it.

S/RES/1813. “United Nations Security Council.” 30 April 2008.

This resolution includes some of the Security Council’s most recent deliberations with regard to the situation in Western Sahara.
It details recent efforts for peace agreements as well as the official extension of the MINURSO mandate until 30 April 2009.

S/2008/251. “Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara.” 14 April 2008.
This recent report of the Secretary-General contains elaborate information on several aspects of the conflict in Western Sahara.
Examples of topics addressed include recent regional developments, prisoners of war, human rights, and contributions of the
African Union.


“2008 World Drug Report.” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. 2008.
This publication is a 2008 report generated by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). As Executive
Director Antonio Maria Costa notes in the document’s introduction, the report illustrates that global drug containment is “under
threat.” While all sections contain tremendously useful information, those sections that focus on the coca/cocaine market and on
countries within Latin America are of the utmost relevance.

“Trafficking in Persons Report.” United States Department of State. June 2008.

<http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/105501.pdf >.
Developed by the United States Department of State, this June 2008 publication details nearly 200 countries and their roles in
global human trafficking. The report showcases each country and its respective policies and documented trafficking incidents.
Latin American countries, in addition to their origin or destination counterparts, will be of the greatest significance.

“Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns.” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Apr. 2006.
This document was also published by the UNODC and provides an extensive overview of international human trafficking as of
April 2006. While the information on global patterns of trafficking should prove useful in the determination of a worldwide
solution to the problem, sections like 3.5 (Reported Human Trafficking in the Americas) will provide the data most specific to
the region in focus.

- 25 -
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee


A/RES/62/108. “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the
occupied Syrian Golan.” 10 Jan. 2008.
A comprehensive resolution that explains the Fourth Committee’s deliberations on the situation involving Israel and Palestine.

A/RES/62/121. “Question of Tokelau.” 10 Jan. 2008.

Provides insight on the Fourth Committee’s consideration regarding the situations between Tokelau and New Zealand.

GA/SPD/341. “Decolonization United Nations Success Story.” 2 Oct. 2006.

A product of the 61st General Assembly Session, this document discusses the important role the Fourth Committee has played in
dealing with issues of decoliniation.


UN Sources

2072(XX). “Question of Ifni and Spain Sahara.” 16 Dec. 1965.

Explains the United Nations’ previous stance on Spain’s relations with Western Sahara.

3458A(XXX). “Western Sahara.” 10 Dec. 1975.

Highlights early United Nations attempts to pacify the situation in Western Sahara.

3458B(XXX). “Western Sahara.” 10 Dec. 1975.

Shows early United Nations involvement at the beginning of the conflict.

A/RES/39/40. “Question of Western Sahara.” 5 December 1984.

Showcases early requests for direct negotiations between the opposing parties and parallels current requests.

S/1997/358. “Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara.” 5 May 1997.
This report sheds light on the nature of the conflict in Western Sahara during 1997.

S/RES/1813. “United Nations Security Council: Western Sahara.” 2008.

Provides a recent glance at United Nations policy in Western Sahara and makes reference to polices from the past several

“Western Sahara: Advisory Opinion.” ICJ. 16 Oct. 1975.

The ICJ’s Advisory Opinion provides crucial insight on the Morocco’s motivation to begin the “Green March” and demonstrates
the role Internation Law plays in the resolution of this dispute.

Non-UN Sources

“Justice Must Begin With Torture Inquiries.” World Proust Assembly. 22 June 2005. Amnesty International.
14 Sept. 2008
Provides important insight to the Human Rights Violations of the issue and discusses the alleged instances of torture regarding
Western Sahara.

Baranikas, Ilia. “Little Progress on Western Sahara.” Moscow News Weekly. 18 Oct. 2007. 14 Sept. 2008.

- 26 -
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

This article offers an important perspective to the situation in Western Sahara and is useful in gaining a basic understanding of
the conflict.

Pothoven, Christopher. Helping & Hindering: The Role of the United States and United Nations in the
Western Sahara Conflict. Washington, D.C.: George Washington Univesity Press, 2000.
A wonderful resource when learning about the History of the Conflict and the roles that the United States and the UN played in
the beginnings of this long dispute.

“Security Council calls for realism and compromise on Western Sahara.” International Herald Tribune. 1 May
2008. 16 Sept. 2008. <http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/05/01/news/UN-GEN-UN-Western-
Discusses the most recent efforts of the United Nations Security Council and provides information about various states’ views on
the matter.

“Polisario Front.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 2008. 20 July 2008.

Provides useful background information on one of the most important forces in Western Sahara’s political history.

“First Polisario Attack on a Spanish Post.” International Institute of Social History. 19 July 2008.
Highlights the origins of the Polisario Front.

“A Brief History of The Territory and Its People.” ARSO. 22 July 2008. <http://www.arso.org/05-1.htm>.
An informative analysis of Western Sahara, including its relations with other countries.

Bhatia, Michael. “The Western Sahara under Polisario Control.” Review of African Political Economy. 28
(2001): 291-298.
A journal article with valuable information on the intermediate stage of the Polisario-Morocco conflict.

Damis, John. “Sahrawi Demonstrations.” Middle East Report. 218 (2001): 38-41.
Provides insight regarding the Sahrawi refugees and their fate over the past several decades. Traces conflict from its origins.

Doxsee, Gifford B. “The Roots of a Desert War.” The International Journal of African Historical Studies.
17.4 (1984): 770-772.
An analysis of early stages of the Western Saharan conflict with speculations about the future.

Hodges, Tony. "The Western Sahara File." Third World Quarterly 6.1 (1984): 74-116.
A detailed analysis of the early stages of the Western Saharan conflict with speculations about the future.

Jensen, Erik. Western Sahara: Anatomy of a Stalemate. Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc.,
An invaluable book written by a top official in MINURSO. Provides first-hand accounts of numerous stages of the mission
without hesitating to point out its failures.

Lippert, Anne. “Sahrawi Women in the Liberation Struggle of the Sahrawi People.” Signs. 17.3 (1992): 636-
A critical look at the problems faced by the Sahrawi people and the ways that they have attempted to face these problems.

“Mauritania reaffirms neutrality in Western Sahara conflict.” China View News. 3 June 2008.
A recent news article explaining Mauritania’s determination to bring both sides to peaceful agreements.

- 27 -
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

"Morocco: Polisario victims urge international community to end plight of Tindouf detainess." Isiria. 20 July
2008. <http://www.isria.info/RESTRICTED/D/2008/JULY_11/diplo_12july2008_18.htm>.
A discussion regarding the status of detainees in the Western Saharan conflict.

Mundy, Jacob. Personal Interview. 20 August 2008.

Extremely valuable personal interview with an academic scholar who has dedicated much of his life to the study of the conflict in
Western Sahara.

Pazzanita, Anthony G. Historical Dictionary of Western Sahara. Lanham, Maryland: The Rowman &
Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc., 2006.
A book in an encyclopedic format. Contains detailed information about nearly all aspects of the Western Saharan conflict, from
the conflict’s start to the present.

“Sahrawis impatient with UN, warn of ‘explosion’.” AFROL News. 25 June 2008.
News article highlighting the urgency of the decades-old problems in Western Sahara.

Seddon, David. “Western Sahara – Point of no Return?” Review of African Political Economy. 27.84
(2000): 338-340.
An analytical overview of MINURSO compared with other United Nations ambitions.

Seddon, David. “Western Sahara at the Turn of the Millennium.” Review of African Political Economy.
26.82 (1999): 495-503.
Provides a critical look at the James Baker’s two plans and speculates on reasons behind his theories and decisions.

Shelley, Toby. Endgame in the Western Sahara. London, England: Zed Books Ltd, 2004.
An important book that traces the Western Sahara conflict via thorough analysis. Detailed evaluations of many aspects of the
problem, both early and recent.

“Statement of Congressman Joe Pitts.” United Nations Fourth Committee of the United Nations General
Assembly. 6 October 2004. <http://www.house.gov/pitts/press/speeches/041006s-UN-
A speech to the United Nations emphasizing the lack of progress in the Saharan region.

Theofilopoulou, Anna. “Western Sahara – How to Create a Stalemate.” United States Institute of Peace.
May 2007.
A analytical piece that focuses primarily on the politics of MINURSO in the Western Saharan region.

“World Organization Against Torture report criticizes Moroccan abuse against Western Saharan rights
defenders.” ASVDH. 24 June 2008. <http://asvdh.net/english/?p=458>.
Evidence of recent increases in violence in between the Polisario Front and Morocco.

Zartman, William. “Time for a Solution in the Western Sahara Conflict.” Middle East Policy. 14.4 (2007):
A comprehensive look at Western Sahara’s successes and failures. Examines potential solutions for regional peace.


UN Sources

“2008 World Drug Report.” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. 2008.
Similar to the Bolivian, Colombian, and Peruvian report, this drug report provides statistics on countries of the entire world.

A/RES/55/25. United Nations General Assembly.

- 28 -
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

Provides useful insight on the United Nations’ policies and views toward trafficking.

“Report of the Commission of Enquiry on the Coca Leaf.” United Nations. May 1950.
Provides an interesting look at various medical aspects of the coca plant, including the effects of chewing coca.

“Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns.” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. April 2006.
A United Nations report that provides detailed statistics on the trafficking of humans across the globe. Contains an extensive
section on different Latin American countries.

Non-UN Sources

"4.6 tons of cocaine seized in Caribbean." MSNBC. 28 June 2008. 20 Oct. 2008.

“2004 Trafficking in Persons Report.” United States Department of State. 2004.

A United States government publication highlighting the most urgent of human trafficking conflicts.

“Annual Report on Fighting the Crime of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women, Adolescents, and
Children in the Americas.” Inter-American Commission of Women. 5 May 2005.
Organization of the American States. 15 Aug. 2008.

A report that focuses on women trafficked for sexual exploitation and how this can be prevented.

Arganaras, Fernando Garcia. “The Drug War at the Supply End: The Case of Bolivia.” Latin American
Perspectives. 24.5 (1997): 59-80.
A publication that examines Bolivia’s role in the drug-trafficking industry.

Arguedas, Carlos. "11 policías detenidos por aliarse con narcotraficantes." El Pais. 27 June 2008. 20 Oct. 2008.

"Brazil creates anti-drug task force." Latin American Studies. 23 Mar. 1999. CNN. 20 Oct. 2008.

“Colombia’s Civil Warriors: Drug Traffickers.” Wideangle. 12 August 2008.

Discusses Colombian drug lords and drug trafficking from a modern historical perspective.

Chabat, Jorge. “Mexico’s War on Drugs: No Margin for Maneuver.” Annals of the American Academy of
Political and Social Science. 582 (2002): 134-148.
Provides a detailed description of Mexico’s recent history in the illicit drug trafficking industry.

“Coca Cultivation in the Andean Region: A Survey of Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru.” United Nations Office
on Drugs and Crime. June 2008.

A United Nations report that emphasizes the Andean region’s most up-to-date coca statistics.

Egan, Timothy. “War on Peruvian Drugs Takes a Victim: U.S. Asparagus.” New York Times. <
An article that showcases the unique Bolivian dependence and acceptance of the coca plant.

"Fleeing traffickers dump 3,000 pounds of cocaine into ocean off Nicaragua." International Herald Tribune.
20 Mar. 2008. 20 Oct. 2008. <http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/03/20/news/Nicaragua-
- 29 -
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

Forero, Juan. “Coca Cultivation Rises in Colombia, U.N. Says.” Washington Post. 19 June 2008.
An article that highlights the failure of United States sponsored solutions to Colombia’s mass production of the coca plant.

Forero, Juan. “Rebels Kill 8 Policemen.” New York Times. 22 Dec. 2005. 15 Sept. 2008. <
Another look at coca in Bolivian society and the underground cocaine industry associated with it.

French, Howard. “Bogota is Criticized over Drug Baron’s Prison Escape.” New York Times. 2 August
News article that highlights the scandal involving the escape of Colombian Pablo Escobar.

González-Arias, José. “Cultivos ilícitos, colonización y revuelta de raspachines.” Revista Foro. 35.
September 1998.
A Spanish-language article that examines some elements of the Latin American drug trafficking network.

Green, Eric. “Illicit Drug Trade Seen as Destabilizing Global Community; United States laments growing
narcotics problem in Venezuela.” US State Department. 8 July 2008.
Illustrates Venezuela’s increase in drug trafficking activities and general involvement in the industry.

Kraul, Chris. “A new anti-drug strategy in Colombia.” Los Angeles Times.

Discusses ideas for new strategies in combating the illicit drug industry, specifically in Colombia.

Kraul, Chris. "The World - Cocaine culture creeps into Ecuador - Crop seizures and drug trafficking are on
the rise, raising fears that the narcotics curse in neighboring Peru and Colombia is spreading." Los
Angeles Times. 5 Oct. 2007. 20 Oct. 2008. <http://articles.latimes.com/2007/oct/05/world/fg-

Krauss, Clifford. “Drug Battle in Bolivia ‘Making History’: Coca Is Cut Back and Could Be Eradicated.” The
New York Times. 5 July 2008. <http://www.nytimes.com/library/world /americas/050999bolivia-
An article from 1999 that displays the tremendous progress Bolivia had made under a president who allied the country with other
counter-drug movements in other nations.

Langberg, Laura. “A Review of Recent OAS Research on Human Trafficking in the Latin American and
Caribbean Region.” International Organization for Migration. 2005.
A comprehensive analysis of human trafficking patterns across Latin America and the Caribbean. Provides useful statistics as

"Latin America: Argentina President Calls for Decriminalization of Drug Possession, Inclusion of Harm
Reduction in National Drug Strategy." Drug War Chronicle. 8 Aug. 2008. 20 Oct. 2008.

Leons, Madeline Barbara. Coca, Cocaine, and the Bolivian Reality. New York: State University of New York
Press, 1999.
Examines the Bolivian coca and cocaine industry, culminating with an analysis of recent trends.

McKinley, James C. “Mexico Says Drug Cartel Had Spy in President’s Office.” The New York Times. 1 July
2008. <http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/drugs/spy.htm>.
- 30 -
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

Demonstrates the power of well-established drug cartels.

Michael Bagley, Bruce. “Drug Trafficking, Political Violence, and U.S. Policy in Colombia in the 1990s.”
Coral Gables, FL: University of Miami. 5 January 2001.
Showcase of Colombia’s history as a major player in Latin American drug trafficking.

Miller, Edward M. “The Andean Cocaine Industry.” The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies.
24.2 (1999): 195.
A look at the South American drug-producing region as a whole; contains both geographical and political analyses.

Navarro, Maria. Personal Interview. 3 July 2008.

Very useful interview from a South American perspective on the implications of regional drug trafficking.

Ossa, Juliana. Personal Interview. 28 August 2008.

Very informative interview with a native Colombian who has both studied and witnessed firsthand several facets of the
Colombian drug trade.

Palmer, David Scott. “Peru, the Drug Business, and Shining Path: Between Scylla and Charybdis?” Journal
of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs. 34.3 (1992): 65-88.
An analysis of Peru’s high and low points as a major drug-producing nation.

“Police Killings Mark Increase in Mexican Drug Violence.” The Real Truth; Americas. 11 July 2008.
Evidence of the increase in violence associated with drug trafficking in Mexico.

Potter, George Ann. “The Bolivian Coca-Growers Movement.” Cultural Survival Quarterly. 26.4 (2003): 50.
This article llustrates the significance of coca in Bolivian culture and defends the country’s continued policy on allowing farmers to
have coca crops.

Potter, Mark. “Border Officials Fear Growing Mexican Drug War.” MSNBC. 9 July 2008. <
Further evidence of recent violence in Mexico caused by drug wars.

"Revelan que narcos mexicanos y colombianos se reúnen en Panamá." El Universal. 5 Oct. 2008. 20 Oct.
2008. <http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/notas/544174.html>.

Ribando, Clare. “Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean.” Congressional Research
Service. 15 December 2005.
Examines reasons and different types of trafficking of people. Speculates on different solutions and their feasibility.

“Sex Trafficking Now a $16 Billion Business in Latin America.” WUNRN. 4 July 2008.
Recent news article that provides up-to-date statistics on trafficking of humans.

Thoumi, Francisco E. “Illegal Drugs in Colombia: From Illegal Economic Boom to Social Crisis.” American
Academy of Political and Social Science. 582 (2002): 102-116.
An analysis of Colombia’s drug trade and illicit productions, including a description of government policies.

Tobar, Héctor. "Underworld grip seen in Guatemala killings." Los Angeles Times. 27 Feb. 2007. 20 Oct.
2008. <http://articles.latimes.com/2007/feb/27/world/fg-guatemala27>.

“Uruguayan police seize record 485 kg of cocaine.” China Daily. 12 August 2008. <http://www.ch
Report that highlights the illicit drug trafficking industry’s effects on Uruguay.
- 31 -
The 2009 National High School Model United Nations
Special Political and Decolonization Committee

Wilson, Scott. “Coca Trade Booming Again in Peru.” The Washington Post. 1 July 2008.
An indication that Peru’s former progress to dismantle the illicit drug trading industry has come to a halt.

Hodges, Tony. "The Western Sahara File." Third World Quarterly 6.1 (1984): 74-116.
A detailed analysis of the early stages of the Western Saharan conflict with speculations about the future.

- 32 -