Human Rights Council

Dear Delegates,

Welcome the United Nations Human Rights Council! My name is Noah Cominsky and I will be serving as your Director for HNMUN 2018.

I am a sophomore at Harvard College, concentrating (majoring) in Government with a secondary (minor) in Ethnicity, Migration and Rights. I come from a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio called North Olmsted. In high school, I minimally participated in Model UN and did not have an interest in international relations. For some reason though, I dipped my toes into the world of Model UN and have since fallen in. I have met my best friends through MUN, and I am so grateful that freshman Noah decided to join this organization. Besides directing at HNMUN, I also staff HMUN, our sister conference, administratively, and compete on the collegiate circuit for ICMUN, our competitive travelling team. Besides MUN, I work in the Admissions Office as a recruiter for the Undergraduate Minority Recruitment Program. I also serve on the board of the student group Native Americans at Harvard College. My culture is very important to me, and I proudly identify as Ojibwe from the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in northern Minnesota. Outside of class and extracurricular activities, I do have a life! My free time consists of meeting friends, watching Netflix, eating fast food, or some combination of the three.

I am so excited to be your Director for the Human Rights Council! The topics that you will be discussing are very near and dear to me. While these topics are controversial, I have full faith that you will maintain the pillars of Model UN: diplomacy and respect. For this committee to be representative of the world, personal feelings on the subject need to be set aside, as you are representing a nation that may have different views. I expect you all to find ways to work with one another, as the spirit of MUN correlates to building bridges. I hope to see you work together to create realistic but respectful international dialogue.

In the meantime, please reach out to me at hrc@hnmun.org with any questions or concerns! I can’t wait to meet you all.

Truly,
Noah Cominsky
Director, Human Rights Council
Harvard National Model United Nations 2018
hrc@hnmun.org


Topic Area A: Violence Against LGBTQ People

Is protection of sexuality or gender identity a human right? The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights had no provisions on sexuality or gender identity within the text. However, as we prepare to the celebrate the 70th anniversary of that document, it is necessary to discuss a pertinent problem plaguing the world: violence against LGBTQ people.

People worldwide are attacked, harassed, and even killed due to their sexuality or gender identity, and every country has a different stance on the issue. In some countries, it is illegal to be homosexual, and in others, it is considered a hate crime to attack those who are. Reports worldwide are exposing the vastness of this important issue. How can the UN help to prevent and respond to these crimes?

Topic Area B: Representation of Indigenous People in State Governments

Indigenous people are defined as those who distinguish themselves as being descended from the original people of a given region. Indigenous people only exist in regions that have been colonized or settled by people who are not from that particular land. Although they may not exist universally, their plights are universally shared within the indigenous community.

Indigenous people worldwide are treated as lower-class citizens, and consequently, they are not often respected by the governments that have disputing land claims. This disrespect correlates to a lack of representation or recognition. While indigenous people may not be represented in government bodies, many indigenous groups tend to have their own governing structures that are sometimes unrecognized by state governments. Do state governments have an obligation to respect the right of indigenous representation? Or should they only recognize the governments the indigenous create? Perhaps state governments have no obligation at all. These questions and many more will be answered by the Human Rights Council at HNMUN 2018.