Human Rights Committee

Committee Description:

The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them (ohchr.org)

Topic A: Abortion Policies 

Statement of Problem:

An ethical issue concerning aborting pregnancies has gained worldwide recognition in recent

years. Abortion is described as “the termination of a pregnancy”, usually in the earlier stages before the fetus develops. Many believe that abortion is on par with murder, while others see the process as a woman’s right to choose. It has become a serious debate on the topic of gender equality. `

There are many reasons why a woman would choose to have an abortion: they were raped, they are very young or don’t feel they are ready, they aren’t economically stable enough to raise a child. These are only some of the reasons, and the decisions are usually very complex in nature.

History/ Past UN Action:

  • Promoting access to legal abortion services.

  • Providing and suggesting family planning to prevent the risk of women who have unhealthy

      pregnancy periods.

  • Providing and promoting education for women to prevent unintended pregnancy.

  • Insist that legislative are forcing and eliminating women’s right to choose either

      to abort or to give birth

Latest Developments:

  • Insisting that laws that are against women’s right to abort destroy those women’s right to make a decision regarding their bodies.

Problems a Resolution Should Suggest / Possible Actions:

  • Provide access to education to young women to prevent unwanted pregnancy 

  • Provide sex education

  • Provide access to abortion services to prevent massive number of deaths caused by unsafe abortion

  • Weaken the laws that are against abortion, but establish some incentives if they don't 

  • Penalize women who decide to abort such as "women that abort cannot get pregnant for x years".

Questions to Consider

  • What if the mother knows the baby will not have a good life/good parents?

  • How late in the pregnancy should a woman be able to receive an abortion

  • Should abortions be covered under health insurance?

  • What if the developing child has a serious health condition

  • Does legal abortion lead to lower crime rates?

Topic B: Equal Pay

Statement of Problem:

Even in countries close to full gender equality, there is still the lasting legacy of the gender pay gap. Women on average earned 23 percent less than men in 2017, and it hasn’t gotten much better since. This may not sound like much, but over time, women can be more likely to fall into poverty because of this gap in income. This is partially because women are expected to be child-bearers and spend time away from work caring for their children. This problem doesn’t stop at just gender, though, African American and Hispanic women earn even less than white women, and a lot less than white men.

History/Past UN Actions

​UN Women launched a #StopTheRobbery campaign to empower women to fight back against the gender pay gap along with the Equal Pay Platform of Champions. This platform involves women of all high-ranking professions that call on people to recognize and all for equal pay.

Latest Developments:

The gender pay gap continues to fluctuate but the amount a women earns to a man’s dollar has risen by

21 cents since 1980. Developments in the gender pay gap are made alongside other developments

in women's’ rights such as education.

Problems a Resolution Should/Possible Actions:

  • Employing women in high ranking positions

  • Encouraging women to join more areas of the labor force such as STEM jobs

  • Giving women more access to education in poorer countries

  • Giving women access to family planning in order to have time for education and working and to change gender roles.

Questions to Consider

  • Why is there still a gender pay gap in countries such as the U.S, Sweden, the UK and Germany where gender equality is at its highest?

  • Is it reasonable to pay women less if they take maternity leave?

Questions to Consider

  • Why is there still a gender pay gap in countries such as the U.S, Sweden, the UK and Germany where gender equality is at its highest?

  • Is it reasonable to pay women less if they take maternity leave?

Topic C: Freedom of Press an Journalist Safety

Statement of Problem:

In some parts of the world, the freedom of speech and expression, which are considered basic human rights, are still illegal and hold harsh consequences for the practitioner in many parts of the world.

History/Past UN Action:

  • In the year 2018, UNESCO took it upon themselves to report the journalists that were killed and more that were attacked

  • The UN Chief has asked Governments of various countries to pay more attention and give better protection to people in the journalism business.

Latest Developments:

  • At the 70th reunion of the Geneva Associations of UN Correspondents (ACANU), secretary-general Antonia Gueterres called for press freedom and better protection of journalists 

  • The United Nations General Assembly, the Security Council, and the Human Rights Council have expressed their support for media freedom through many different frameworks and processes, including the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

Problems a Resolution Should Suggest/Possible Actions:

  • Cooperation of other governments with these countries’ governments

  • World Association of Journalists: Does each country’s constitution have something to say in the favor of the journalists?

  • World Association of Journalists helping each other?

Questions to Consider:

  • Why are media and journalists so strictly monitored in these countries?

  • Is it an internal problem or an external one which allows for the involvement of other countries?

  • Is there something else that needs to be fixed in order to allow better and true freedom of speech?