Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee
The Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee (SOCHUM) is the third General Assembly of the United Nations, tasked with a broad mandate surrounding social, humanitarian and human rights issues from around the world. To delineate a general idea of the committee, some issues discussed within SOCHUM include but are not limited to: human rights, global literacy, women’s rights, children’s rights, the treatment of refugees and displaced persons, international drug control, crime prevention, and the elimination of racism and discrimination. SOCHUM also works closely with many other UN bodies in order to effectually address its mandated issues.
SOCHUM is a beginner-friendly committee: while experienced delegates will do very well on this committee, first-time or less experienced MUN attendees will also be able to excel. Position papers are not mandatory for this committee, but are highly encouraged nonetheless, to aid in your preparation.
In addition to the member states of the United Nations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will be represented in SOCHUM. Up to four delegates will represent two NGOs each, one for each topic. NGOs will not be allowed to sponsor any working papers/draft resolution or vote on substantive matters, but will otherwise be able to participate fully in committee and will be eligible for awards. The specific organizations that will be represented in SOCHUM are listed in the country matrix below. The option to represent an NGO can be selected on the Delegate Registration form.
Since the first international treaty was passed on Drug Control a century ago in The Hague, the topic has become ubiquitous in policy discussions; and increasingly, it has become a regular subject of discussion from the standpoint of the general public. Drug use is rampant – and many drug users all around the world seek legal freedom for their use. Governments have persisted on prohibition-based policies, but as of more recently, the discussion has become broader and alternatives have come into question.
On one hand, the use of currently illicit drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine is indisputably harmful to health; but on the other hand, many believe that prohibition is not the answer, as illegal drug markets and traffickers bring violence and potentially more harm than the benefits of criminalization. Drug policy is a complex issue, and it’s a very controversial one too. Many lives are at stake from the violence associated with drug trafficking and drug use itself, and at a point in time where drug policy is becoming prevalent in political discussion, it is time for SOCHUM to take an attentive look at the issue.
Originating in India, the Romani people have faced multifaceted discrimination since they arrived in Europe in the 10th and 11th Centuries. Unfortunately, this discrimination has continued and persisted at the expense of the livelihoods of the Romani people. The racism on its own is dreadful, making it difficult for Romani people – especially children – to properly enjoy their lives. Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t end there. Many Romani people live in the poorest of conditions around Europe, are given substandard education, and live in abominable housing conditions with meagre utilities and services. Organizations abroad have condemned governments for doing little to solve the issues, but there has been very little progress.
The Romani people’s voices are attenuated, as one rarely hears of their sufferings. Even when they are seeking asylum from persecution exerted against them in their home nations, their hope is futile and they are rarely accepted anywhere. Because the atrocities they flee from usually take place in developed EU nations, they are not taken seriously, and are easily neglected by the international community. It is time for SOCHUM to step in and decide how the rights of the Romani people can be protected.
The SOCHUM staff have written, in addition to the general backgrounder, a supplementary guide that takes a closer look at some of the underlying issues of drug trafficking. While the information in the supplement is not, strictly speaking, necessarily to understand international drug trafficking (Topic A), delegates are nonetheless encouraged to read it to gain a more complete perspective.
This committee will have about 100 delegates.
Click here for more information on representing NGOs.
|Topic A: International Drug Control||Topic B: Rights of the Romani People|
|Foundation for a Drug-Free World||European Roma Rights Centre|
|The Drug Policy Alliance||Hungarian Helsinki Committee|
|Transform Drug Policy Foundation||The European Roma and Travellers Forum|
|Marijuana Legalization Organization||Romani CRISS|
|Afghanistan||Albania||Algeria||Andorra||Angola||Antigua and Barbuda|
|Benin||Bhutan||Bolivia (Plurinational State of)||Bosnia and Herzegovina||Botswana||Brazil|
|Brunei Darussalam||Bulgaria||Burkina Faso||Burundi||Cambodia||Cameroon|
|Canada||Cape Verde||Central African Republic||Chad||Chile||China|
|Colombia||Comoros||Congo||Democratic Republic of the Congo||Costa Rica||Cote d’Ivoire|
|Dominica||Dominican Republic||Ecuador||Egypt||El Salvador||Equatorial Guinea|
|Honduras||Hungary||Iceland||India||Indonesia||Iran (Islamic Republic of)|
|Jordan||Kazakhstan||Kenya||Kiribati||Democratic People’s Republic of Korea||Republic of Korea|
|Kuwait||Kyrgyzstan||Lao People’s Democratic Republic||Latvia||Lebanon||Lesotho|
|Liberia||Libya||Liechtenstein||Lithuania||Luxembourg||Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia|
|Marshall Islands||Mauritania||Mauritius||Mexico||Micronesia (Federated States of)||Republic of Moldova|
|Panama||Papua New Guinea||Paraguay||Peru||Philippines||Poland|
|Portugal||Qatar||Romania||Russian Federation||Rwanda||Saint Kitts and Nevis|
|Saint Lucia||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Samoa||San Marino||Sao Tome and Principe||Saudi Arabia|
|Slovenia||Solomon Islands||Somalia||South Africa||South Sudan||Spain|
|Syrian Arab Republic||Tajikistan||United Republic of Tanzania||Thailand||Timor-Leste||Togo|
|Tonga||Trinidad and Tobago||Tunisia||Turkey||Turkmenistan||Tuvalu|
|Uganda||Ukraine||United Arab Emirates||United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland||United States of America||Uruguay|
|Uzbekistan||Vanuatu||Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)||Vietnam||Yemen||Zambia|
Tascha is a high school student currently attending Prince of Wales Secondary with an eager interest in Model United Nations. After managing to fit ten conferences into his schedule within a single school year, he continues to relish every Model UN experience, and hopes to successfully play his role at VMUN to make the same true for others. In addition to contemplating the many facets that define our existence, Tascha spends an ample portion of his spare time playing and composing music, debating, and helping out with environmental groups. Nothing, however, could surpass his devotion to MUN; and with that said, he looks forward to directing SOCHUM the same way that Karl Marx would have looked forward to a communist revolution.
Jura Yun is a senior student at Earl Haig Secondary School in Toronto. She was an active member of her school’s Senior Model United Nations class last year and is participating again this year at her new school. Her interest in global affairs has intensified since attending VMUN 2012, at which the energy and the professionalism of all the delegates respectively blew her away, and soon after, her interest in global affairs intensified. She enjoys reading and writing and was the assistant media editor at her previous school, York House. She has also spent much of her time volunteering at the Lyceum of Literature and Art, an establishment that organizes book clubs and writer’s workshops for all age groups. Though comparatively new to MUN, she is eager to immerse herself even further. As the Chair of SOCHUM, she hopes to help make this year’s conference a great success!
Simone Cheng is a twelfth grader at Crofton House School. She has been actively participating in Model United Nations for close to three years and has developed a deep interest in international relations. To relax, she enjoys sitting in her backyard with a book and a cup of Thomas Hass latte. She looks forward to meeting the delegates and encourages everyone, especially those new to MUN, to be active and vocal in committee sessions.
Lucy Fox is a grade 12, French immersion student at Argyle Secondary School. Her hobbies include writing and painting, and she has done extensive work on her school yearbook. She plays and coaches soccer for her district club, and also plays for the Seniors Girls team at her school. Her club involvement within her school includes Best Buddies, Student Council, and Grad Council. As a delegate at last year’s VMUN conference, Lucy thoroughly enjoyed the experience and is now looking forward to being an Assistant Director for SOCHUM at this year’s conference.
You can reach the dais at email@example.com. Any questions regarding the committee or its debate procedures will be answered by email. Your position papers should also be emailed to this address.