UNHRC: UN Human Rights Council

Topic A: Indigenous People and the Justice System

From higher suicide and alcoholism rates to cultural genocide, the impacts of colonization continue to be felt especially by indigenous people. Systemic racism and “Western” perceptions of justice have consistently had adverse effects on indigenous populations globally. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples also recognizes the racist pretenses which have led to injustices that plague indigenous populations, and it therefore promotes the autonomy of indigenous people and their communities, as well as a “harmonious relationship” between these groups and the state. Seeing this, the UNHRC seeks to address the injustices against indigenous peoples in their respective justice systems, both to quell the stigma and discrimination which has led to tyranny against indigenous peoples and to set a standard for justice in institutions across the world.

Topic B: The Rights of Individuals with Disabilities in Developing States

Disability is a term that encompasses various permanent and transitory functional limitations that can be physical, sensory, or intellectual impairments, among other medical conditions including mental illness. According to the United Nations Division for Inclusive Social Development (DISD), around one billion people (15% of the world’s population) live with a disability. Despite this fact, people with disabilities face many forms of discrimination which limit the way they can actively participate in society. The General Assembly’s adoption of the Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 13 December 2006 marked a shift in how matters pertaining to disabled individuals are perceived. This treaty helped the international community understand disability as a human rights issue—one that is deeply connected to inclusive social and sustainable development. Furthermore, it is estimated that 80% of the people with disabilities live in developing countries and are frequently in extreme poverty, often as a result of their condition. Although the international approach to disability has changed and 161 states have ratified the CRPD as of May 2018, the harsh reality for disabled people in countries with developing economies must not be overlooked as they persistently experience negative stigmas and are often excluded from legal protection, employment, and access to proper healthcare and education. This is especially relevant when considering how the UNHRC could help utilize the relatively recent CRPD and its protocol as guidelines to guarantee equal recognition and enjoyment of rights for individuals with disabilities in the regions where these are most needed.

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