SPECPOL, or the Special Political and Decolonisation Committee, is the fourth committee of the United Nations and has quite a wide remit, dealing with refugees, decolonisation, human rights, peacekeeping, and public information, alongside many other issues.

The chief aims of SPECPOL are, firstly, to make all nations independent and self-sufficient outside the control of other nations. Secondly, to heal countries from historical wounds. Yet SPECPOL also deals with other issues including the colonisation and treatment of outer space. This makes SPECPOL a very dynamic and exciting committee with countries of many different backgrounds and histories collaborating to solve issues from post-colonialism to the management of space colonies.

At SPSMUN20, SPECPOL is our historical committee, taking place in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks. With the world growing more and more tense, it’s up to the delegates to navigate through very contentious international diplomacy. After the relative peace of the post cold-war era, old alliances will be tested and new friends made. It’s up to the delegates to ensure peace in the new world order.

Topic 1 – The Question of Islamic Extremism and Terrorism: how should the UN react, following the September 11 attacks?

On the morning of September 11th 2001, the United States of America was struck by one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in history. Two planes hit the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in New York, and there were also attacks on the Pentagon – although in one of the hijacked planes, passengers were able to take control and crash it into a field, saving countless of lives in the process. The death toll stands at over 3,000 with over 6,000 injured.

Now the world is faced with the biggest geopolitical realignment since the fall of the USSR. This committee will consider the UN’s response to terrorism in this new age, arguing just how far states can go to stop terrorism and how much nations’ rights can be infringed in order to bring terrorists to justice. Also under consideration will be the definition of terrorism and where we draw the line between freedom fighter and terrorist.

A more detailed briefing pack on this issue can be found here.

Topic 2 – The Question of the Rights of Suspected Terrorists: how should the UN ensure that the rights of those suspected of terrorism are maintained?

With the world having been changed forever following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre a new age of conflict has dawned. So far since November 2001, 1,200 people have been detained by the United States alone, sometimes without the means to communicate or even know what their crime is. Yet it is also important to remember that sometimes it is of vital importance to act quickly and decisively lest innocent lives be lost to the ponderous march of bureaucracy. Into this controversial debate the UN must plunge, defining what the new right and wrong is to be and whether we value safety over human rights.

An introduction to some of the issues involved in this topic can be found here.

Topic 3 – The Question of Afghanistan: in the light of the US invasion of Afghanistan, how should the UN support the country’s reconstruction?

The invasion of Afghanistan on the 7th October 2001 was the beginning of the War in Afghanistan. It was officially justified on the 20th December 2001 by the UN security council, noting that Afghanistan was highly unstable, a hub for terrorist groups and a threat to international stability. Yet the UN also requested that Afghanistan should be rebuilt following the war. Now that the dust has settled on the country, the time has come to rebuild. What should the UN’s response be? Should it be purely focused on infrastructure and ensuring that people’s homes are rebuilt or should the UN also focus on political concerns and perhaps writing a new constitution for the country? Afghanistan’s fate is being closely monitored by the entire world with many competing interests and goals. How will the UN respond to this?

You can find a more detailed briefing pack on this topic here.