SPECPOL

Committee Blogs
Topic 1

The Rights and Relocation of Indigenous Peoples of Southeast Asia

Often called tribal or native peoples, indigenous populations make up nearly 5% of the world, belonging to more than 5,000 different groups across 90 countries. With a population of more than 260 million on the Asian continent alone, these indigenous peoples face discrimination, loss of land and natural resources, and violent repression. They tend to have small populations relative to the dominant culture of their residing country and usually have their own language. They practice distinctive cultural traditions unique to the tribe, contributing to their self-identity as indigenous, and therefore distinguishing themselves from the dominant populations and cultures.

To this day, indigenous peoples continue to face serious threats to their basic existence due to systematic government policies. In many regions of the world, they rank highest on numerous underdevelopment indicators such as the proportion of people in jail, illiteracy rates, and unemployment rates. They face a great amount of discrimination, especially in schools and the workplace; often they are not even allowed to study or use their own language in these environments. Repeatedly, national and local governments around the globe have a displayed a clear and utter lack of respect for indigenous values, traditions, and human rights. It is therefore the job of SPECPOL to come up with a comprehensive solution to this serious issue around the world, but also to focus on how this applies to Southeast Asia specifically.

Topic 2

The Lost Children of India: Addressing Child Trafficking

As the third largest profitable industry in the world, human trafficking exposes children to violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation. According to the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), a child victim of trafficking is “any person under eighteen who is recruited, transported, transferred, harbored, or received for the purpose of exploitation, either within or outside a country.” India specifically is a source, destination, and transit country for trafficking for many purposes, especially sexual exploitation, with 40% of prostitutes in India being under the age of eighteen. The majority of the trafficked children come from Nepal and Bangladesh, with an estimated 12,000-50,000 coming specifically for the sex trade. Furthermore, there is a rising demand for live-in maids in Indian urban areas, resulting in the trafficking of girls from rural villages to live in poor conditions within employers’ homes. Child trafficking is not entirely a socio-legal issue, but is rather more of a symptom of a multitude of issues with India’s society and lifestyle. As human transportation often takes place with the victims’ and their families’ knowledge because of the economic benefits, detecting a victim and the agents involved can be challenging for the international community.

Millions are involved and affected by the great extent of human trafficking in India, but importantly, the national government is not being held accountable for its obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and other frameworks. In fact, most regions in India continue to fail in providing comprehensive child protection systems like birth registration, access to education, combating early marriage, and more. The country has suffered greatly from its lack of compliance and it is not the job of SPECPOL to address the issue. 

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