United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

Topic 1: Right to Privacy in the Digital Age

Often without our awareness or consent, detection devices track our movements, our preferences, and any information they are capable of mining from our digital existence. This data is used to manipulate us, rob from us, and engage in prejudice against us- at times legally. We are stalked by algorithms that profile all of us. This is not a dystopian outlook on the future or paranoia. This is present day reality, whereby we live in a data-driven society with ubiquitous corruption that enables a small number of individuals to transgress a destitute mass of phone and internet media users.

There is a dangerous potential for big data mining to be used to repress minorities. Online profiling enables police to invade the digital property of strategic subjects. These policing practices broaden disproportionate incarceration of marginalised groups. China has started a "Police Cloud", which appears capable of tracking social and ethnic groups. The issue comes in when legal and illegal organisations do so as well. 

Another major issue is the use of personal data for business surveillance. This data is then used to control the ads we see, and is sometimes used to politically instigate people. There are currently very little laws to protect people of their privacy in today’s digital age, something which can be considered a form of human rights violation.

Topic 2: Impact of civilian acquisition, possession and use of firearms on civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights

According to a 2019 report by the UNHRC, Civilians own more than 850 million firearms worldwide, vastly outweighing the number of firearms estimated to be owned by the military and law-enforcement sectors combined. In many instances, civilians acquire these firearms illegally, only 12 percent of civilian firearms held globally were reported as registered in 2017.

Anyone can be affected by firearm violence but in certain situations gun violence disproportionately impacts communities of colour, women and other marginalized groups in society. This confirms that high levels of firearms in circulation among civilians can lead to a broad range of acts that can affect a wide variety of human rights.

While most state laws say that firearms can be used for self-defence, these laws are either inadequate or ambiguous. Jurisdictions with overly permissive self-defence laws that fall short of these requirements, USA for example, encourage the use of lethal force in situations where there is not a sufficient threat, and where this is combined with civilian access to firearms, it leads to an increase in homicides. 

The world must come together to act on such violations, and must also formulate laws to control the civilian possession of fire-arms so as to protect the rights of potential victims of human rights abuse.

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