UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC)
Head Chair | Amanda Lee
Vice-Chairs | Jessica Swar, Jessica Zhao
UNHRC is accountable and responsible in strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights globally. It is an inter-governmental branch of the UN that works on human rights violations and providing solutions to solve them. UNHRC is allowed to discuss human rights issues throughout the year, meeting at the UN Office in Geneva.
Topic 1 | Palestinian Women's Rights
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Feminist movements supporting Palestinian women’s rights have continuously failed to acquire great progress throughout the years. To acquire a deeper understanding of their rights, there needs to be a larger understanding of social change and boundaries that exist in their communities. Without political freedom, due to dictatorial regimes, acquiring political progress in a limited society has been difficult to accomplish. Palestinian women’s rights are not simply just regarding gender equality- it is much more complex than that. There is a “hegemonic undercurrent of power and control” that runs deep in their daily lives. Adding this long-lived, traditional system to the political oppression and religious conflicts, their personal lives are negatively affected and they become the most vulnerable to violations of all sorts.
The question of how to solve this issue is complicated, including key actors that need to play a larger role such as Palestine, Israel, and the international world highly involved in the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Agencies such as the police and military must provide protection to women, but this is highly difficult with the patriarchal system in these groups as well. In addition, even domestic abuse and violence is not properly addressed by Israeli police due to the attitude of staying out of “private family affairs.” In order to solve this issue, it will take time, action, plans, strategies, and a deep understanding of the root of the problem. Addressing the wrongs of both the Palestinian and Israeli states, and of the international world for leaving this issue low on the agenda, must be done. With more focus going towards the Israeli-Palestine issue and less on women’s rights, it is the job of our committee as the Human Rights Council to provide the attention and focus these women need and deserve.
Topic 2 | Capital Punishment and the Rights of Prisoners
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The attitude of capital punishment, commonly known as the death penalty, has been a highly controversial issue for decades. However, the world has slowly been transitioning into viewing the act as a denial to a basic human right- the right to life. With the UN General Assembly calling for the end of the death penalty, there is larger support for a worldwide moratorium and abolition of this punishment. Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, many organizations and countries are pushing for the death penalty to be banned in order to prevent governments having the power to rid of lives and the ability to deny other rights in the declaration.
However, although more countries have started to support banning this act, executions are still taking place. There are other arguments, believing the death penalty is a righteous form of punishment for very extreme crimes, including murder, rape, or treason. Some countries violate prisoner rights by inadequate investigation into their cases or imposing a more cruel and inhuman form of execution. However, numbers abolishing the death penalty has unequivocally increased, going from 16 countries about 35 years ago to about 104 countries today. Most executions also take place in the same few countries, including the United States, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, North Korea, Iran, and China. Whether the death penalty violates prisoners’ rights or the question of where to draw the line in this act is a pressing issue that needs to be discussed and compromised. Through our committee of the Human Rights Council, we will discuss the different arguments and perspectives to this issue and reach a consensus on how to proceed when discussing the death penalty and its role in human rights.