CIMUN Chronicle / Article / 2016

OPINION: Reintegration over Assimilation

IPD Article Image - OPINION: Reintegration over Assimilation

Quinn Riordan, Der Spiegel

The United Nations Third Committee, also known as the Social, Humanitarian, Cultural Committee (SOCHUM) discussed the refugee crisis and presented working papers outlining the different solutions to protect the rights of refugees and provide housing for them.

The three working papers outline varying solutions to the crisis, from humanitarian aid, education, and health/welfare which can provide for all the necessities of survival. Yet, two of these papers integrate vastly different viewpoints on what to do with the refugees one utilizing assimilation the other integration.

“Assimilation is the best way of combating xenophobia to decrease tensions [between the groups],” the delegate of Turkey in SOCHUM said in a speech.

Those two words seem similar but are vastly different. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, assimilation is defined as “adopting” the ways of another culture and fully becoming part of a different society. Whereas integration is defined as “incorporation as equals into society or an organization of individuals of different groups.” The difference seems subtle, but it is very significant.

Assimilation is an adoption of another culture where the original identity or culture is erased while integration is equal incorporation and benefits both the refugees and previous citizens. The working paper 1.3 includes the discussion of assimilation, while working paper 1.2 focuses on reintegration to aid the refugee crisis.

Other nations such as Belize and Tunisia have spoken out against the use of assimilation believing it is wrong and will “increase the divide between refugees and the previous citizens” a representative from Tunisia stated.

Assimilation will lead to a greater conflict rather than solving the refugee crisis, leading to one race and more violence which as a world we have learned from genocide after genocide hoping to achieve one ‘superior’ race. Reintegration will allow refugees to prosper in society giving them space to succeed while maintaining their culture and learning of others.