Updated: Jul 7
The Human Rights Council was founded as a subsidiary body of the United Nations in 2006. As one of the main UN bodies tasked with human rights protection, the HRC discusses a large variety of issues, from preventing discrimination to political rights and the rights of refugees. In addition to being a discussion forum for these issues, the HRC issues recommendations to the General Assembly and promotes human rights education.
47 member states elected by the General Assembly make up the council and the HRC meets for at least three sessions a year in Geneva. In 2006 an innovative mechanism has been introduced to improve respect for human rights: in the Universal Periodic Review, the human rights situation in every member state is reviewed every four years and recommendations are issued by the other members. Thus, the HRC hopes to resolve human rights issues through dialogue and practical recommendations. The council can also examine specific problems (thematic mandate) or situations in specific states (country mandate).
The HRC at the OLMUN conference 2021 talked about “Counteracting the Violation of Human Rights by Law Enforcement Agencies”. Per Pagnia and Tom Siebels were chairing the debate.
The council’s debate about police brutality and structural racism was sparked by the murder of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin and the following BLM (Black Lives Matter) protests in the USA and worldwide in 2020. By further discussing this topic at the UN Human Rights Council it was stated that police brutality, especially against minorities, would be an international issue. It shows that the HRC at the OLMUN deals with the same topic as currently being discussed at the actual UN HRC.
Over the course of the committee sessions two resolutions, main-submitted by the delegation of France and Eritrea, passed the floor. The debates as such seemed to have been very fruitful, because the delegates were aware that the human rights violations undermine public trust in the state, social cohesion, and effective law enforcement, but at the same time also intense and diverse due to different approaches and ideas on how to solve the issues.
There were many delegates, who participated at the OLMUN for the first time and faced the task of delivering speeches, raising points of information and writing their first resolution. And all delegates did a great job with the delegations of France, Bulgaria and the Philippines receiving special recognition from the HRC's chairs. Honorable mentions were also delegates representing Cuba and Eritrea. A few things were different at the OLMUN 2021 meaning for the HRC that it took place entirely online. While that was probably challenging for some, it also opened up new ways to communicate, debate or make memes.
The atmosphere within the committee was also lively and fun for the delegates as it can be seen by the Council's Gossip Box, which contained numerous confessions of love, deviating debates about whether the Philippinean or Venezuelan police forces had killed more innocent civilians or what zodiac sign the delegates are.
In addition to that, the delegates were also given two TED-Talks on how to eat healthy and on a new Start-Up involving 2437 liters of Rum…
In the end the participating delegates had a great time, while also learning something about politics, specifically on the council’s very current topic, the Model United Nation and many other things!