General Assembly

Committee Description:

The General Assembly is part of the six principal organs in the United Nations discussing subjects regarding international peace and security, development, disarmament, human rights, international law, and the world’s most vexing issues.

Topic A: Ethnic Cleansing

Statement of Problem:

Ethnic cleansing has been a prevalent problem going back through history, as well as in the present. Ethnic minority groups are subject to violence, rape, mass murder and

dislocated from their home with nowhere to go. This goes against the human rights law: every human being has a set of rights and freedoms.

(Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar, Uyghurs in China, The Nuer and other ethnic groups in South Sudan, Christians and Yazidis in Iraq and Syria, Christians and Muslims in the Central African Republic, Darfuris in Sudan)

History/Past UN Action:

2005 World Summit Outcome created a resolution under the General

Assembly with all the member states uniting to declare the prevention all acts of genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity, otherwise known as the R2P (Responsibility to protect)

Latest Developments:

No, International Law does not clearly recognize and define ethnic cleansing as an independent

crime, so it is difficult for the United Nation to interfere with countries that are ethnically cleansing campaign that are taking place in some countries.

Problems a Resolution Should Suggest/Possible Actions:

Propose concrete policies that all members must follow Ethnic cleansing is not illegal under international law, so countries that do ethnic cleansing can find excuses out of it, so revision must be made to the policies in the International Law to stop ethnic cleansing from happening.

Questions to Consider

  • How ethnic cleansing is legal under international law and cannot be persecuted

  • How can the UN provide safety/care to groups that are subject to ethnic cleansing?

  • How can the UN hold these governments/nations accountable?

  • How can the UN step in and intervene with the ethnic cleansing occurring?

  • How can the UN prevent the act of Ethnic cleansing in the future?

Topic B: Indigenous Rights

Statement of Problem:

Indigenous people were oppressed by colonists: their culture, land, and language were taken away and attempts at preservation have been unsuccessful. Many still suffer from the consequences from assimilation that the colonists forced upon them.

History/Past UN Action:

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was adopted by the General Assembly on Thursday, 13 September 2007. The declaration states that Indigenous culture should be protected by "respecting the direct input of indigenous peoples in decision-making, and allowing for resources, such as those for education in indigenous languages and other areas” (un.org)

Latest Developments:

Governments have been neglecting the voices of the Indigenous people and forcibly taking away their sacred land for their own benefits such as creating pipelines in the United States, Canada etc.

Problems a Resolution Should Suggest/Possible Actions:

Some governments from the member states are still forcibly and violently preventing for the

Indigenous people’s voices to be heard. The United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People is a non-legal binding declaration it cannot be enforced amongst the member states.

Questions to Consider:

  • How will the UN provide care for the individuals that suffer from the effects of assimilation?

  • How can the UN make sure that policies are enforced?

  • In what ways can the UN help the Indigenous voices to be recognized by the government of the member states?

Topic C: Rights of Children in Workplaces

Statement of Problem:

Unaware of their rights, many children are exploited in workplaces by adult bosses, leading to minor or major casualties.

History/Past UN Action:

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) was adopted in 1989, making it a “legally-

binding international agreement which set out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of every child, regardless of their race, religion or abilities.” (savethechildren.org.uk)

Latest Developments:

With the outbreak of COVID-19 and unemployment skyrockets for laborers, more children are

entering the workforce to make ends meet. Many of the children that go to work “do work that is arduous, dirty and often dangerous: hauling bricks or gravel, scavenging for recyclables, begging or chopping weeds on plantations. Much of their employment is illegal” (NYTimes), making children vulnerable to exploitation that violate the UNCRC.

Problems a Resolution Should Suggest/Possible Actions:

The rights of Children in workplaces are not guaranteed to be implemented in the micro-level by employers.

Illegal workplaces disregarding children’s rights making children more vulnerable to exploitation.

Questions to Consider:

  • How will resolutions be enforced to member states, especially those that rely economically on child labor for economic prosperity?

  • How will Children’s rights be enforced within the people?

  • How will the UN make sure the children are aware of the rights they have?

  • How can the government of the member states create a safe space for children to report issues they had with their employers?