Social, Cultural & Humanitarian (SOCHUM)

Social, Cultural, and Humanitarian Committee (SOCHUM)

Co-Chairs: Jillianne Tapel, Rosario Perez

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What is the Social, Cultural, & Humanitarian Committee (SOCHUM)?

SOCHUM, also known as the Third Committee, covers a range of social, humanitarian affairs and human rights issues that affect people all over the world. The Committee also discusses the advancement of women, the protection of children, indigenous issues, the treatment of refugees, the promotion of fundamental freedoms through the elimination of racism and racial discrimination, and the right to self- determination.  The Committee also addresses important social development questions such as issues related to youth, family, ageing, persons with disabilities, crime prevention, criminal justice, and international drug control.

Topic A: Human Trafficking 

Human trafficking is a serious crime and is a grave violation of human rights. Article 3, paragraph (a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines Trafficking in Persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

The adoption in 2000 by the United Nations General Assembly of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking In Persons, Especially Women and Children marked a significant milestone in international efforts to stop the trade in people. To date, more than 147 States have signed and ratified the Protocol. But translating it into reality remains problematic. Very few criminals are convicted and most victims are probably never identified or assisted.

In this committee, delegates are requested to identify and debate issues relating to human trafficking and propose resolutions to combat and prosecute human trafficking offenders, and raise awareness at the global level. 

Topic B: Indigenous Peoples and Maintaining Their Cultural Identity

The UN has not officially adopted a definition for indigenous people but has rather developed a modern understanding of this term based on the following: 

Self-identification as an indigenous people at the individual level and accepted by the community as their member.
Historical continuity with pre-colonial and or pre-settler societies
Strong link to territories and surrounding natural resources
Distinct social, political or economic systems
Distinct language, culture and beliefs 
Form non-dominant groups of society
Resolve to maintain and reproduce their ancestral environments and systems as distinctive peoples and communities.

Recently, there has been a rapid decline in cultural diversity, specifically indigenous peoples and their way of life. This decline is due to historical relationships--mainly imperialism, colonialism, global economic development, and militarism--as well as cultural beliefs that rationalize or justify actions that have served certain cultures at the cost of others. In many instances, this cost has been disproportionately borne by indigenous peoples. Despite the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on September 13, 2007, many continue to face problems such as, for instance, water diversion due to hydroelectric energy projects, militarization, global and national events, consolidation of natural resource access, and the like are all having an unprecedented impact on the world's indigenous peoples. 

The Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee, or the Third Committee, requests delegate assigned to this committee to identify issues relating to indigenous peoples, to propose resolutions to resolving these issues and to acquire enough background knowledge to be able to critique resolutions presented to the committee.