United Nations General Assembly Third Committee (SOCHUM)
The Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee (SOCHUM) is the Third Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Its mandate consists of social and humanitarian affairs as well as human rights issues affecting the world population. Other than examining human rights questions, SOCHUM discusses questions related to the protection of children, the treatment of refugees, elimination of racism and discrimination and the advancement of women.
As one of the main committees of the General Assembly, all the Unites Nations Member States can participate in the debates of SOCHUM.
Topic A: Combatting Child, Early and Forced Marriages
Child, early and forced marriages are a persistent problem in many parts of the world. While this also affects boys, girls are disproportionately at risk. The practice is most common in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, with the highest rate in Niger and the largest number of child brides – meaning under the age of 15 – in Bangladesh. The prevalence of child marriage in poorer countries reflects a tendency that also exists in those countries themselves: girls from poorer families are at a larger risk than those from wealthier families. Similarly, rural areas tend to have higher rates of child, early and forced marriages than urban ones do.
Women who are married off as children are not only denied their childhood, they are often isolated from family and friends for the rest of their lives. They further have only limited opportunities when it comes to education and employment, forcing them into economic dependency. Another serious problem is the frequent lack of proper medical care for child brides, who are also more likely to have early pregnancies and are vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases.
While the practices of child, early and forced marriages are slowly declining, they remain a persistent problem, as laws against child marriage are often not enforced. This is a problem especially for regions and communities that are often overlooked, so it is vital for SOCHUM to address the underlying stigmas faced by those who are affected.
Topic B: Language es nosso droit: the protection of indigenous languages
Nations and people are defined as much by their identifying characteristics as by the language they speak, which allows them to communicate, interact with others, express themselves and transmit cultural values from generation to generation. Languages, and in particular, indigenous languages, are an eloquent reflection of the relationship between societies and human beings across the world. A common language can in fact unify people, determine a person’s identity and shape how the society evolves.
Indigenous languages across countries, spoken by the first inhabitants of those same countries since immemorial times, constitute a collective treasure shared by the entire global population. Nevertheless, indigenous languages are under constant threat from climate change, armed conflict, lack of educational opportunities and discrimination. It is therefore an obligation of the international community to take every possible measure to preserve this linguistic heritage and avoid losing a collective memory that will remain fragile until it is properly inventoried, recorded and disseminated.
The mission of the United Nations Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee should therefore be that of focusing on the safeguarding of indigenous languages to ensure the protection of the cultural identity and dignity of indigenous people. The survival and development of indigenous languages will require the will and efforts of indigenous people as well as the implementation of supportive policy, especially in the field of education, on the part of member states and the international community as a whole. Language is our right!
|Bangladesh||Central African Republic||France||Mali||New Zealand||Russia*|
Note: * indicates that the country is advised for experienced delegates.