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United Nations Human Rights Council

The United Nations Human Rights Council consists of 47 Member States elected by the General Assembly, to promote human rights around the world and attend to cases of violations according to the Charter of the United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international laws and treaties. Meeting at the UN Office in Geneva, the council is able to confer about urgent issues that require its attention year-round. The UNHRC works with the Universal Periodic Review mechanism, Advisory Committee, Complaint Procedure, and UN Special Procedures, to assess thematic issues and recommend solutions with expertise.

Topic 1: Humanitarianism in the Age of Global Terrorism Addressing Cyber-censorship of Online Activism

This agenda seeks to identify and make efforts towards resolving issues in operations and policy of humanitarian organisations in nations under effect of terrorist regime. Delegates are required to consider new and growing challenges. Additionally, delegates are to propose solutions to balance counter-terrorism policies with methods to simultaneously protect human rights defenders, safely meet humanitarian needs, and alleviate the suffering of conflict-affected communities. As such regions typically face major abuse and violation of human rights, sensitive and effective action is of critical concern, while staying within the jurisdiction of the Human Rights Council.

Topic 2: Addressing Cyber-censorship of Online Activism

The current era has seen the surge of ‘online activism’, that utilises internet technologies as platforms for spreading awareness and mobilising action towards social justice campaigns. It is especially important to acknowledge that events such as internet blackouts and cyber-censorship prevent reporting of human rights violations, attacks on protesters by security forces, and activist social media communication, especially in authoritarian contexts. Potential points of contention for delegates include the question of the extent of mass surveillance and freedom of speech that should be tolerated, and how protection of rights, such as civil liberties and the right to free speech, can be upheld in an online space.

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