September 16, 2019
 In 2021-Right to Peaceful Protest

Country: Colombia
Delegate Name: Ishaan Muchumarri

Social Humanitarian & Cultural Committee
Right to Peaceful Protest
Republic of Colombia
Ishaan Muchumarri
Forest Hills Eastern

The issue of peaceful protest has risen to prominence in recent years. While many countries have the right to peaceful protest established in their constitutions, the world is lacking an internationally established right. The question of what qualifies as protest is still debated today. Iraq had protests rise up in response to accusations of sectarianism of the at the time Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, with protesters demanding his resignation. The response to this was violent, and the protests only ended after the resignation of several politicians. 2020 saw the United States experience a mass of protests over the death of George Floyd, with as much as 7% of them being violent raids. These, along with many more events in the past few years, have put into debate the proper response to protest, and where the line between the right to peaceful protest and violent riots lies. The Republic of Colombia seeks a weak policy on right to protest.

In late 2019, the Republic of Colombia saw thousands of people take to protest, unhappy with their standard of living. While some were peaceful, other occasions saw protesters escalate the situation to violence. These resulted in the death of many people, with one day experiencing 17 reported deaths. These riots continued into early 2020 and ended with a final protest on February 21st. In early 2021, the Republic of Colombia experienced another wave of protests across the country as a response to a tax initiative put into place by President Iván Duque Márquez in an attempt to heal the damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Protesters gathered in the thousands on April 28th across the country. In some instances, protesters turned violent, resulting in several hundred cases of police brutality, 200 missing people, 27 reported cases of sexual assault, and at least 26 deaths. Despite changes to the policy and eventual withdrawal of it completely, riots continued, shifting their cause to social reform. President Duque has called for the end of this loss of life, but the people have no intention of ending their protests until their demands are met. With this, the Republic of Colombia seeks an end to these nation-harming protests.

The Republic of Colombia proposes a controlled international right to peaceful protest. The government which faces protest should have the power to nullify this right in order to protect the nation in emergency situations, with the government determining if an emergency situation has arrived. Should an instance arrive where said protest would risk injuring the nation or its people, there should be a measure in place to prevent said protest. It is the responsibility and task of the government to improve the state of the country, not the people. The government is capable of determining what the nation needs, and the interference of the people only leads to further harm and an unneeded loss of life.