Montana Model United Nations 2000
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Human Rights Committee

Full-length backgrounds for each topic will be posted soon.

Topic 1: Police Brutality.*


What exactly is police brutality? Is it a result of individuals who cross a line and forever change what is acceptable and what is not or the symptom of a greater problem? History would argue the later of the two; police brutality is not an isolated incident that only takes place occasionally in large cities and in totalitarian governments. Police brutality is one of the most pressing Human Rights issues worldwide.
The excessive use of force by police officers, including unjustified shootings, severe beatings, fatal chokings, and rough treatment, persists because overwhelming barriers to accountability make it possible for officers who commit human rights violations to escape due punishment and often to repeat their offenses. Police or public officials greet each new report of brutality with denials or explain that the act was an aberration, while the administrative and criminal systems that should deter these abuses by holding officers accountable instead virtually guarantee them impunity. What can be done to curb this problem in an international sense?
The United Nations’ power is limited, in that; each nations’ sovereignty is extremely important and precious. However, in certain instances, when the Security Council finds it necessary, proactive means may be implemented. Please view this as a last resort rather than a normal function. This committee, rather, will try to create ways for the nations that have police brutality issues to correct themselves before other nations’ intervention is needed.
Perhaps one of the best ways to end this type of abuse is for the more developed nations to lead as examples to the developing nations. Also, the impact of global pressure on a nation with serious police brutality issues cannot be over emphasized. The collective peer pressure can often cause nations to alter their behavior to avoid international ridicule and possible loss of economic investors due to human rights controversies.
“The police are routinely violent, and when they are violent, unfortunately the appropriate authorities do not investigate adequately," said James Cavallaro, the Brazil office director of Human Rights Watch/Americas. "It's precisely the impunity that is guaranteed police officers, which guarantees that their crimes will continue.”
So what can be done to stop police brutality and hold the police and the governments that support them accountable for their abuses of Human Rights? This committee has in its hands the tools of change. Neither the use of armed intervention nor the creation of yet another investigative committee would be a constructive solution to this problem. No, we have a more difficult task. This committee is charged with dealing with this problem by having each nation police itself and act in an ethical and moral manner to end this terrible abuse. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is our touchstone on this issue and all possible courses of action must be measured up to it.

Web sites worth looking at:

Topic 2: Women in Bangladesh.


When rejecting or reneging on a marriage contract women in Bangladesh are subjected to
mutilation by acid. While this practice is, perhaps, a result of a religious vision of male dominance, it is
not in itself a religious ritual.

Topic 3: A Right to Food.


The right to food and food security are two topics that are being hotly debated in the UN. With millions of men women and especially children living in constant hunger or at the brink of starvation, this does seem to be one of the Human Rights Commission’s largest problems that has yet to be dealt with fully. The definition of food security/ the right to food is different depending on whom you may ask. But in the end this subject is of vital importance and must be dealt with in a through manner before progress can be seen. There are many ways to look at this issue and avenues by which to try and solve this problem at least in part. To narrow this to a reasonable agenda for our conference I will suggest a few areas for the Commission to focus.
First, try and reach a consensus on a definition of the right to food. Search the UN website and other UN sources to make sure overlap does not take place. Remember the wealthy nations are likely to recognize a right to food in a ceremonial fashion but not be particularly interested in protecting this right. The developing nations on the other hand are going to wish for strict interpretation of this right and wish the UN to send aid to protect it.
Then once a definition is found there are several problem areas of food disbursement and allocation that need to be addresses. For very intriguing data on amounts of food aid that is given to what nations and by who search the FAO’s site in their statistics section. There it can be seen how food aid seems to be allocated not based totally on need but also on the political relations on the nation with the world as a whole. (Hint: Look at the amounts of food aid sent to Iraq in comparison to other nations of similar size and need.) Statistically the agricultural producers of the world produce more than enough food to feed all six billion of us, but it is the distribution mechanism that needs to be established or strengthened that can possibly bring and end to this problem.
Finally, look at the affects of sanctions and embargoes. Do they affect Food security in the nations on which they are placed? If so determine if some adjustment should be made in their enforcement to better allow the right to food to be carried out. As ABDUSSALAM SERGIWA (Libya) said:
“The United Nations was now ruled by undemocratic principles, he said. It passed resolutions that deprived people of their right to food, for example, which occurred because of hegemony in its bodies. The sanctions imposed on his country had exposed the vulnerable to hardships. They were, therefore, a violation of basic rights. The international community, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, should assess the situation and make the necessary adjustments.”
Whether your nation is in favor of sanctions or opposed to them you must look at the effects of sanctions of the food security of a nation and take it into account when you are deliberating on this topic.
Food security is the most pressing issue that is being presented at this meeting of the Human Rights Commission and I urge you to open it quickly and spend an appropriate amount of time discussing this issue. Every nation on earth has hungry people in it so all nations need to see this as our top priority.

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*This will be the resolutionless topic for the Human Rights committee. Do not submit resolutions on this topic.

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