UNHSC: United Nations Historical Security Council


Topic A: The Situation in Western Sahara (1979)

Western Sahara is a former Spanish colony bordered by Morocco, Algeria, and Mauritania. After World War II, there was a large rise of nationalist sentiment within many of the European colonies. Yet Spain’s slow response to possible independence for Western Sahara caused the creation of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro, also known as the Polisario Front. This group fought heavily with Spain, leading to political instability in the region, which allowed Morocco to make a claim on the Western Sahara region. After an ICJ ruling that found no basis for Morocco’s claim, the Moroccan King interpreted the opinion as an affirmation of Morocco’s claim to the region. Political and social strategies eventually led Morocco to annex two thirds of Western Sahara. This, combined with the added pressures of Algeria (in its financial, military, diplomatic, and humanitarian support of the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic, or SADR) and Mauritania (which began fighting against the Polisario Front after years of fighting alongside the Front), has caused continuous fighting between a multitude of powerful and complex groups. In this committee, delegates will learn the nuances of this clash to draft thoughtful and clear solutions which tackle each aspect of the conflict.

Topic B: The Situation in Cambodia (1979)

Cambodia, like many of its southeast Asian neighbors, was boxed in by internal political unrest and violence, all of which was intertwined into the Third Indochina war and Cold War politics. The former King and then-Prince of Cambodia, Norodom Sihanouk, worked to repress all of those in opposition to his self-created political party. This included those who associated with the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK), also called the Khmer Rouge, which was then forced into hiding in 1964. Moreover, the government had begun to increase its taxes despite the extremely poor economic situation, creating grounds for resentment. With an increase in landless peasantry, the underground leader of the CPK, Pol Pot, was able to effectively recruit those who were dissatisfied with the current ruling party and who no longer had ties to land or a traditional village community. Cambodia then became a staging base for guerrilla attacks on the South Vietnamese and U.S. forces during the Vietnam War. Over the next few years, the CPK regime worked to expunge itself entirely from external influences. To accomplish this feat, the regime distanced itself from most aid and trade, which ensured shortages of food, pesticides, and modern medicine. Delegates will need to understand their roles and make concessions in order to tackle issues such as holding parties accountable for their actions during the genocide, the protection of land and housing rights for those most affected by the genocide, and any other efforts towards political reform, both legal and judicial.

Background Guide: