United Nations - Human Rights Council (HRC)
About the Committee
Since its creation on 15 March 2006 by the resolution 60/251, the UN Human Rights Council constitutes an inter-governmental body which counts 47 member-states elected by the UN General Assembly. Within its mandate, the HRC withholds the responsibility to ensure and strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights on a global scale, as well as to address cases of human rights infringements and make recommendations upon them.Furthermore, the Council cooperates closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and with all relevant UN Special Procedures established by its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights, such as the special rapporteurs, the special representatives, independent experts and working groups which examine and publicly report on human rights violations.It is important to note that the UNHRC deals mostly with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as with the situation in Myanmar, Guinea, North Korea, Côte d’ Ivoire, Kyrgyzstan, Syria, Libya, Iran and Sri Lanka.
Topic Area A: Tackling discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The principles of equality and non-discrimination are safeguarded by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, during the last decades we have witnessed countless of discriminatory incidents against people belonging to LGBTQ+ community. According to a survey conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), one in five trans and intersex people were physically or sexually attacked during 2019, while one in five LGBTQ+ people felt discriminated in their workplace. On top of that, many states have adopted profoundly discriminatory policies against the LGBTQ+ community such as the creation of “LGBT-ideology free zones” in Poland or the prohibition of “divergence from self-identity corresponding to sex at birth, sex change or homosexuality” in Hungary. The international community has started taking actions against incidents of discrimination, such as the establishment by the Human Rights Council of an “Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity” and the adoption of the resolution on “Protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation, and gender identity” in 2016. However, the UN has not yet achieved its Member States compliance to the principles of equality and non-discrimination. Therefore, through examining this topic during the conference we aim to dive deeper into how inclusive and non-discriminatory societal structures can be formed.
Topic Area B: Addressing the Right to Bodily Autonomy and Integrity.
The United Nations Human Rights Council, the main protector of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, must promote a discussion over a topic that affects all regions and societies around the world. The right to bodily autonomy and integrity must not be considered as an issue that exists only in the developing countries. It also divides the populations of progressive societies. During the last decade we have seen the formation of policies that violate the aforementioned principles and are highly frowned upon by public opinion. This issue is multifaceted, and it affects different communities.
First and foremost, one of the most recent aspects of the topic, the decision of the US Supreme Court to overturn Wade v Roe, brought back to the surface the discussion over the matter of abortion. However this topic entails other aspects too, such as the implementation of forced genital surgery for the gender reassignment of intersex and transgender people or the practice of female genital mutilation from certain religious communities. Lastly, the issue of the decriminalization of prostitution and the promotion of sex workers’ rights globally, can also be included in the debate.
It seems like the aforementioned topic challenges a lot of governments and the international community is far from a common international policy. The UNHRC shall address the topic in its sessions.