A Summary of the 2021 General Assembly Debate - “The Question of Ethnic Cleansing”

Beatriz S.

The first issue of the General Assembly Committee involved the question of ethnic cleansing and measures taken to eradicate it. Delegates debated this topic by using the People’s Republic of China’s resolution. During lobbying, prior to the official debate, China showed immense concern about this issue and worked closely with countries like Finland, Israel, Argentina, Denmark, Arab League, Spain, and UN Women to consider possible solutions that would be further discussed during the actual debate.

On the first official day of the IMUN conference, following the opening ceremony and speeches from IMUN heads, the General Assembly sessions began with China reading a brief speech about the operative clause. In his speech, he urged delegates to vote for the passing of the resolution for the common welfare of every country. The resolution was briefly debated between delegates, with some countries like Israel and UN Women defending the resolution while other countries, such as Turkey, claimed that ethnic cleansing was beneficial for societies from time to time. Following the disagreements, it didn’t take long for amendments to start flooding in.


Out of the 7 debated amendments, 5 were successfully passed. Most of the amendments were proposed to add additional operative clauses to the resolution to provide it with a more complete structure. Other amendments, like the one proposed by Portugal, tried to further explain the crime of ethnic cleansing by giving specific examples. Another passed amendment, proposed by Indonesia, focused on the prospect of educating people, specifically the younger generation, about the dangers and impacts of ethnic cleansing. 


To close the debate, the attention was drawn back to the resolution as a whole. Even with the changes debated throughout the General Assembly, some countries were still not open to the idea of passing the whole resolution, but the majority of the delegates were content with the final outcome. After the voting process, the resolution was passed-- much to the satisfaction of most participants in the General Assembly. 


In full, the General Assembly provided an intriguing and lively debate. Member States were all able to voice their view on the matter of ethnic cleansing, and ultimately, a conclusion was smoothly drawn.