SOCHUM: Social, Humanitarian & Cultural Committee

Topic A: The Protection and Safety of Journalists

Often, journalists’ work puts them at risk of violence, harassment, and intimidation, all of which frequently discourages journalists to report on information that could be critical to a society. Common examples of state-sanctioned violence against journalists include restriction of movement, torture or other cruel punishment, sexual violence against female and male journalists, as well as arbitrary arrests. UNESCO estimates that there were 221 cases of arbitrary arrests in 2014 alone, in addition to at least 259 imprisoned journalists worldwide. Aside from threats from governments, journalists may be threatened by non-state actors including organized crime groups, terrorists groups, or militias. Although journalists are protected under provisions of international human rights law, often these protections are not respected or implemented. Because of these blatant violations of human rights and free press, SOCHUM must address the protection and safety of journalists worldwide.

Topic B: Rights of LGBT+ Individuals in Africa

While rights of LGBT+ individuals are improving in some parts of the world, in other parts, particularly Africa, discriminatory ways of thinking still exist at the highest levels of society and government. Although Africa is a diverse continent with many cultures, religions, and political philosophies, more than half of countries in Africa have laws punishing same sex couples. In Mauritania, Sudan, and Nigeria, the punishment for same sex couples can have consequences that include death. While the goal of this committee cannot be to legislate social behavior, the fundamental human rights of all peoples must be respected regardless of the country in which they reside.

Background Guide: