The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is a committee that was created to protect and support refugees, while preserving their peace and assisting them in repatriation.

Topic 1 - Civil War in South Sudan

In 2011, the original Sudanese nation broke out in civil chaos, causing the southern portion of the country to gain it’s independence, and since has been known as South Sudan. In 2013, more violence broke out within the world’s newest nation, when President Salva Kiir claims there was a coup to overthrow him in loyalty to Vice President Riek Machar. During that time, an estimated 413,000 people were displaced solely in the first month of fighting, making South Sudan the third most fled nation in the world. In 2017, a famine was declared in parts of South Sudan and about 100,000 people were declared to be on the verge of starvation. Since then, about 3.6 million people have been forced to flee their homes with 1.5 million fleeing to neighboring countries. The UNHCR aims to solve this refugee crisis and provide the immensely needed humanitarian aid to the people who need it most.

Topic 2 - Crisis in Venezuela

Venezuela is split into Chavistas, the name given to the followers of the socialist policies of the late President Hugo Chavez, and those who cannot wait to see an end to the 18 years in power of his United Socialist Party (PSUV). After the socialist leader died, Nicolas Maduro was elected president. The Chavistas praise Chavez for his successful use of Venezuela's oil riches to markedly reduce inequality and for lifting many Venezuelans out of poverty, while their opposition says that since the PSUV came to power in 1999, the socialist party has eroded Venezuela's democratic institutions and mismanaged the economy. The Chavistas accuse PSUV of being elitist and exploiting the poor for profit, while also claiming that they are in pay of the United States, a country with which Venezuela has had fraught relations in recent years. On March 29, 2017 there was a surprise announcement by the Supreme Court that it was taking over the powers of the opposition-controlled National Assembly. The opposition said that the ruling undermined the country's separation of powers and took Venezuela a step closer to one-man rule under President Nicolas Maduro. The Supreme Court reversed this decision three days later, but severely damaged the trust of their people. President Maduro chose to create a constituent assembly, which is seen by the opposition as a move to maximize his power. Since then, there have been many violent outbursts by protesters in Venezuela that have turned deadly, forcing Venezuelans to flee to nearby countries to escape the imminent danger. Colombia has been a popular destination for Venezuelans, and by January 2017, 47,095 Venezuelan citizens crossed the border. In the past two years, President Maduro has intermittently closed the border with Colombia to prevent people from exchanging currency, importing groceries, or smuggling gasoline and other contraband. The border remains closed to vehicle traffic but has been open to foot traffic since August. Yet the most acute symptom at the border is the rising number of Venezuelans making the journey for medical care. According to the Venezuelan Health Observatory, 76 percent of the country’s hospitals are experiencing shortages of medicine, and less than 10 percent of its operating theaters, emergency rooms, and intensive care units are fully operational. The UNHCR is tasked with solving this humanitarian crisis while providing the care, aid, and protection that the Venezuelan people so desperately need.

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