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Social, Humanitarian

and Cultural Committee

The United Nations Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee (SOCHUM) is the Third Committee of the General Assembly that focuses on the examination of human rights questions, including the advancement of women and protection of children, and issues relating to social development.

Difficulty: 

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Topic 1: Protecting the rights of indigenous people

Throughout centuries, states have denied indigenous people the rights and opportunities to participate, live and self-govern under the jurisdiction of the governments of the countries in which they reside. Despite the passing of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) in 2007, indigenous people continue to experience human rights challenges. Questions still arise as to whether indigenous peoples should be treated as members of a group with distinct rights or as individuals governed by rights common to all, and how states should act in regards to violations of indigenous rights. Delegates will focus on the importance of the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous people, including eliminating discrimination against indigenous people and the status of uncontacted tribes.

Topic 2: Treatment of sexual and gender minorities

In accordance with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN has committed to ensuring that “no one will be left behind” -- including sexual and gender minorities, in particular those belonging to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual and Intersex (LGBTI) community. Presently, some states still persecute or legally discriminate against members of the LGBTI community, potentially leading to violations of international human rights laws and a greatly adverse impact to society. Delegates will need to consider the social dynamics in different countries and generate solutions that will best promote fair and equal treatment of sexual and gender minorities in different cultural contexts.