United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR


  • Topic A: Citizenship for Stateless Peoples
  • Topic B: The Role of Technology in Assisting Refugees

TOPIC A Citizenship for Stateless Peoples

TOPIC B The Role of Technology in Assisting Refugees



  • Isaac Yoo (he/him)
  • Alexander Puch (he/him)
Email Committee Chair

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is an intergovernmental agency of the United Nations that is responsible for the protection and assistance of refugees and displaced persons internationally. This body’s main objective is to evaluate and address migrant crises around the globe, which will not only mean managing the influx and emigration of people but also focusing on the root causes of these phenomena. Understanding this principle, this committee will be focused on resolving the issues concerning stateless peoples, both in terms of their displacement internationally and permanent solutions for their lack of statehood. Additionally, this committee will be discussing the role of technology, which can be used to do both great good and great harm, in assisting refugees.

Topic A: Citizenship for Stateless Peoples

The issue of stateless peoples, individuals who do not enjoy citizenship under any national laws, has proven to be a pervasive and pertinent issue for numerous regions of the world, in addition to domestic strife and international concern. From the Kurds in the Levant to the Hmong and Rohingya in Southeast Asia, stateless peoples have been stripped of their sovereignty at the hands of historical phenomena such as colonialism, ethnic cleansing, and religious persecution. One of this committee’s primary concerns will be dealing with how to assist stateless peoples economically, socially, and politically by providing them with substantial short-term resources and support, all while adhering to the wishes and demands of the already established nation states in which these stateless peoples inhabit. Additionally, this committee must also grapple with a possible permanent solution for these stateless peoples or groups: statehood. Should these people be granted sovereignty? If so, where would their new states exist? What existing states would be affected, and how would they react? How would this decision impact the international community? While pursuing this avenue could solve the lack of sovereignty that these stateless groups struggle with, delegates must proceed with caution, since it also has the ability to create other, larger geopolitical conflicts and problems.

Topic B: The Role of Technology in Assisting Refugees

As technology has advanced over the past several decades, it has inevitably been used to assist refugees. Some of these applications have been in the planning and monitoring of refugee camps through conducting background checks and ensuring communication between refugees and their families. Advancements in sanitation and medicine have also allowed refugee camps to become much cleaner and safer. Now, with continued technological advancement, artificial intelligence may be used to place refugees in jobs and help them adapt to their new communities, and blockchain technology may be used to give refugees aid payments without needing them to live in camps, in turn allowing them to function more independently. However, as with almost all scientific developments, technology also has the potential to create problems for refugees. For example, while big data has allowed background checks and job placements to become much easier, it can lead to discrimination and persecution if the information falls into the wrong hands, which has already been happening, for example, to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. In discussing this topic, the UNHCR will need to decide which technologies to research, how they should be implemented, and how to prevent them from being used for harm.