Committee Overview

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is an “intergovernmental body within the United Nations (UN) system made up of 47 states responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe.” While the UN has adopted the broad goal of addressing human rights in the UN Charter, UNHRC serves as the main forum for dialogue and intergovernmental cooperation on a variety of human rights issues. The Council was established through the UN’s adoption of Resolution A/RES/60/251 and is tasked with the responsibility of addressing and making recommendations concerning particular human rights violations.

Topic A: Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Nicaragua

The human rights crisis in Nicaragua can be traced back to April 2018. It began with widespread protests against the government of President Daniel Ortega. The initial trigger for the protests was the government’s proposed social security reforms, which aimed to increase contributions and reduce benefits. However, the protests quickly evolved into a broader movement against the government’s authoritarianism, corruption, and erosion of democratic institutions. Over 30 government critics remain imprisoned, and more than 200 were sent to the United States in February 2023, stripping them of their Nicaraguan citizenship. Furthermore, thousands of Nicaraguans have fled the country due to fear of prosecution and lack of opportunities. The UNHRC has already taken a deep interest in controlling the situation in Nicaragua. In a 2022 resolution, it established a group of three human rights experts for Nicaragua to monitor the situation and conduct thorough investigations on the alleged human rights violations. As that work continues, though, reports continue to stream out of the country detailing the use of violence against protesters, the suppression of the freedom of expression, and the imprisonment of political opponents. The situation before the UNHRC is quite dire, and it must take steps not to prevent the situation from deteriorating further.

Topic B: The Impact of the Death Penalty on Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed the right to life on December 10, 1948. Likewise, the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights established that no one should be arbitrarily deprived of said right. Many human rights advocates have interpreted these declarations to mean that the death penalty is a violation of people’s human rights. Many have compared it to torture or unusual punishments that are outlawed in a vast majority of countries. However, the death penalty continues to be implemented in many countries, cutting across traditional geographic and economic blocs. Currently, 106 countries have completely abolished the death penalty, while about 55 countries still retain it. However, the number of countries practicing capital punishment has been declining over the years. In this debate, delegates will be asked to deeply investigate the various documents outlining our human rights and make a decision about whether or not the death penalty should continue to be tolerated in the modern world.