African Union (AU)
The African Union includes 55 member states on the continent of Africa, with goals to unify African countries, protect each state’s sovereignty and peace, and promote development. It was formed in 2002 to continue the work of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
CHAIR: Diana tang
Hi! I’m Diana, a junior majoring in Linguistics, with certificates in cognitive science, statistics and machine learning, and Spanish. I’m especially interested in language policy and the modern dynamics of colonialism. I have served as Chargé D'Affaires of PMUNC and am also involved in Six14 Christian Dance Company, Manna Christian Fellowship, and Science Olympiad on campus. I look forward to meeting you all!
Send Position Papers To: TBA
Topic a: Morocco as a Transit Country in the Refugee Crisis
Morocco epitomizes the hazy boundaries between labels used in the ongoing refugee crisis, labeled as an origin country, transit country, and destination country. The UNHCR reports that Morocco is home to about 8,000 refugees fleeing from conflict and poverty in countries such as Syria, Yemen, and Cameroon. These refugees, however, must go through an arduous approval process, only to face religious, linguistic, and racial discrimination in the job market, educational sphere, and social scene. Bordering the Spanish territories of Ceuta and Melila and located across the Mediterranean Sea from Spain, Morocco is also an avenue through which thousands attempt to cross the border, heavily guarded by Moroccan police and Spanish Guardia Civil, or flee on overcrowded rafts with hopes of landing on the Spanish shore. In cracking down on illegal migration, the Moroccan police, with the support of about $159 million from the European Union, have raided camps, burned belongings, and arrested and detained individuals, affecting not only those with intentions of fleeing to Europe, but also legal migrants living in the country. How Morocco handles the influx of migrants and refugees has implications for the whole of Africa, and the AU must approach this crisis with sensitivity, understanding the roles of not only African countries, but also those of Spain and the EU.
Topic b: Self-Determination of the Oromo in Ethiopia
The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights was adopted in 1981 under the OAU and continues to be in effect following the organization’s transition to the African Union. Article 20 states: “All peoples shall have the right to existence. They shall have the unquestionable and inalienable right to self-determination.” However, the recognition of unquestionable self-determination gives rise to complex questions. Ethiopia has over 75 ethnic groups, each with its own language and identity. The Oromo is the largest of these groups and has attempted to assert their independence from Ethiopia against the ruling ethnic minority, the Amhara. Most notably, in 2016, Oromo protests were triggered by government plans to expand the capital, Addis Ababa, into Oromo land, and these demonstrations were met with violent reactions from the government. Though the protests have subsided, the sentiment has been neither addressed, nor completely quelled. The AU must carefully consider how to address the question of Oromo independence, taking into account the nuances of self-determination and state stability moving forward for the committee.