Topic A: Child Witches in Sub-Saharan Africa
Witchcraft will be defined in this committee in terms from the UNHCR’s Research Paper 169 as “harmful actions carried out by persons presumed to have access to supernatural powers.” Accusations of witchcraft target the vulnerable: those who appear physically different, those who act differently, and others who are viewed as undesirable burdens on their caregivers financially, physically, or emotionally. Under enough scrutiny, nearly any child could be found guilty, since any slight detail could be recognized as a symptom of possessing an evil spirit. Children may be identified as witches after being orphaned and homeless, the logic being that a child who has lost loved ones is the person who caused those deaths. These unfortunate children take to the streets, where they are exploited and further targeted as they fend for themselves. Others face extreme bodily harm or death as punishment for their perceived connection to supernatural forces. Though most prevalent contemporarily in Sub-Saharan Africa, beliefs in sorcery are global; immigrants in other countries carry with them their cultural beliefs, including witchcraft superstitions. The delegates to the United Nations Children’s Fund are charged with ensuring the protection and care of these children through spreading international awareness and identifying solutions to address the problem.
Topic B: Access to Safe Drinking Water for Rural Children
In 2012, 11% of the world’s population was living without access to sanitary water. UNICEF works to protect and maintain access to freshwater, rebuild infrastructure supplying water to communities after natural disasters or other disruptions, and improve the overall water quality. Children, especially those in the poorest countries, are disproportionately affected in water shortages and by unclean water. Water scarcity impacts the quality of life for affected children, who often spend much of their time searching for water instead of attending school and furthering their education. As almost every year since 1992 has been included on the list of the hottest years on record, increasing water stress is positively correlated with the upward trend in temperature and a decline in access to drinkable water. Further, conflict disrupts people’s access to clean, safe drinking water and some conflicts are prolonged or even initiated due to water scarcity. This topic aims to address the problems caused by the impacts of global warming on drinking water through collective action for protecting the children.