Social, Cultural, and Humanitarian(SOCHUM): Combating Racism and Xenophobia
Human society has long struggled with the biases, prejudices and hatred that people hold towards members of other races, ethnicities and nationalities. From the racist justification of colonization, to the genocides committed in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the continued policies that systematically brutalize people of color, the Western world has been at the forefront of creating a racist global system. In recent years, racial conflict has risen in its intensity and frequency, culminating in many white supremacist terrorist attacks around the globe like the Halle synagogue shooting, the Bærum mosque shooting, the Macerata shooting, and the infamous Christchurch mosque shootings. These, and numerous other issues, are the forefront of the problems that this committee is faced with today.
New Zealand is a country with a mixed history with respect to race relations. It was founded via the colonization of Aotearoa and expropriation of indigenous land, which marks a particularly sordid origin of the country. Following the appropriation of the land throughout the 1800s by various settlers to create a number of settlements and following the signing of the contested Treaty of Waitangi, the newly formed New Zealand government established the Native Land Court to take more land. Conflict between the indigenous Māori population and settler Pākehā population continued in the New Zealand Wars and Māori protest movements over land rights in the 1960s. It wasn’t until the Waitangi Tribunal in the 1990s that Māori iki (tribes) were given settlements, payments and repayments. Despite progress towards reconciliation, race relations have seen setbacks. New Zealand is a country with the 5th highest proportion of foreign-born citizens, meaning it is a home for people of nearly every ethnicity and culture. But as a result of growing white nationalist movements, the Christchurch mosque shooting has shocked New Zealand culture and discourse about race. By uncovering a latent sentiment of anti-immigrant xenophobia, New Zealanders have been forced to face the historical and current presence of racial discrimination (Houkamau et al. 2017)
In committee, New Zealand hopes to be able to focus on measures that ensure the safety of migrant populations that have recently come under attack in Western populations, particularly in Western Europe. It is also vital to implement measures that prohibit the mobilization of white nationalist and neo-Nazi organizations planning terror attacks, as well as fighting against the hate speech and hate crime that enables the spread of xenophobia and racism.
- Eli Logan