Topic: 2023-De-escalation of Sectarian Conflict
Delegate Name: Samantha Kantor
Special Political Committee
De-escalation of Sectarian Conflict
Samantha Kantor, Forest Hills Northern High School
Sectarianism is a form of political, cultural, or religious conflict between two groups. It can lead to prejudice, discrimination, exclusion, or hatred depending on the political status quo and if one group holds more power within the government. The term sectarianism is defined as excessive attachment to a particular sect or party, especially in religion. It can arise from divisions based on denominations of a religion, ethnic identity, class, or region for citizens of a state and factions of a political movement. It can lead to violence, hatred, and intolerance between different groups of people. Sectarianism has been responsible for many tragedies throughout history, and it’s also responsible for so many tragedies occurring right now around the world.
The tragedy and violence of sectarianism can be seen through the devastating Rwanda Genocide. The Rwandan genocide occurred between 7 April and 15 July 1994 during the Rwandan Civil War. During this period, members of the Tutsi minority ethnic group, as well as some moderate Hutu and Twa, were killed by armed Hutu militias. The most widely accepted scholarly estimates are around 500,000 to 800,000 Tutsi deaths. The scale and brutality of the genocide caused shock worldwide, but no country intervened to forcefully stop the killings. Sexual violence was rife, with an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 women raped during the genocide. In the aftermath of the genocide, the Rwandan government enacted laws to encourage unity and restrict speech that could promote hatred, including laws on “genocide ideology” and “sectarianism”. These laws have been criticized for being vague and sweeping, and have been used to silence legitimate dissent.
Sectarianism is a complex issue that requires a multifaceted approach to address. Here are some steps that Gabon would like to take to combat sectarianism:
1. Education: Education is key to promoting tolerance and understanding. Schools and universities can play a vital role in teaching students about different cultures, religions, and beliefs. This can help to break down stereotypes and promote empathy and understanding.
2. Dialogue: Encouraging dialogue between different groups is essential to promoting understanding and reducing tensions. This can be achieved through community events, interfaith dialogues, and other initiatives that bring people together.
3. Legislation: Laws can be enacted to prevent hate speech and incitement to violence. However, it is important to ensure that these laws are not overly broad and do not infringe on freedom of speech.
4.Media: The media can play a powerful role in shaping public opinion. It is important to promote responsible journalism that avoids sensationalism and stereotypes.
5.Leadership: Political and religious leaders have a responsibility to promote tolerance and understanding. They can use their platforms to denounce sectarianism and promote unity.
Gabon acknowledges that there is no simple solution to the issue at hand, but there are some steps that we believe other nations should be taking. We believe that by educating people about tolerance and acceptance we can catch the problem at the source, so all nations should make a point to make sure their citizens are taught everything they need to know to be tolerable and accepting.