Legal Committee

Dear Esteemed Delegates,

It is my pleasure to serve as your Director of the Legal Committee for Harvard National Model United Nations 2018.

My name is Boris Davidov, and I am a junior at Harvard College. I concentrate in Social Studies, with a focus on Economics, and a secondary in Computer Science. I speak Russian, Farsi, and Spanish. I am from Queens, New York, which is arguably the best city in the world! Outside of class, I am a staffer on the Harvard International Review, and I work as a “Hahvahd” tour guide. Whenever I have free time, I play the darbuka, or Turkish goblet drum.

I founded the MUN team at my high school in 2013. The next year, we failed so miserably that we struggled to recover. But, I did not let that destroy my spirit. You may have seen me last year at HNMUN 2017, where I served as Assistant Director of the Special Summit on Terrorism. Now I am directing Legal Committee for the largest, oldest, and most prestigious MUN conference in the world! And I am super excited about this year’s topics: “The Protection of Threatened Religious Minority Groups” and “Sexual Rights.” These salient issues serve to test who we are, what values we will fight to protect, and how we will be remembered. We may be aware of the severity of the issues, but we have yet to address them. I expect you, delegates, to come well-prepared and understanding of the legal battles charging these topics.

In the first topic, delegates will work to identify which religious groups are being targeted around the world, in accordance with established international law, and then propose new guidelines for the legal protection of these groups. In the second topic, delegates will tread new waters by founding a new set of principles that details the sexual rights of the global citizen, regardless of their location. Both topics require passionate delegates to stand firmly by their nation’s values but also possess and express the willingness to affect positive change through compromise and innovation.

No person nor state is immune from the effects of these issues. Through hard work, determination, a whole lot of diplomacy and just a little bit of good humor, a just and effective solution will be within reach. I look forward to what lies ahead and hope you are as excited as I am to start the debate. If you have any questions or concerns about committee, please reach out to me via email. I look forward to meeting you on the floor of HNMUN 2018!

Boris Davidov
Director, Legal Committee
Harvard National Model United Nations 2018

Topic Area A: The Protection of Threatened Religious Minority Groups

Across the world, religious minority groups are being persecuted at an increasingly alarming rate. From conflict-ridden developing nations to the rise of xenophobic sentiments around the developed world, there has never been a more crucial moment in history to protect the unprotected. The foreign policies of most states are largely determined by their respective religious majorities. As such, trouble arises when disagreements between religious groups transform into political and military conflicts. Once at the stage of war, religious minorities become easy targets in the effort against warring nations. Such is the case with, for example, the brutal killing and enslavement of Christians throughout the war-torn regions of the Arab World or the rise of Islamophobia across Europe and the United States. The international community must seek to protect these religious minority groups from becoming bargaining chips in the war machine. In addressing this issue, delegates must first determine which religious groups have been targeted in recent history, citing preexisting international law. Debate should then continue into exploring ways to establish new guidelines, including methods of enforcement and the legality of intervention, for the protection of these religious minorities.

Topic Area B: Sexual Rights

Sexuality pertains to all human beings who inhabit this planet; yet, as it currently stands, the international community has not addressed but has willfully ignored the many sex-related issues which affect nearly every sovereign state in our world. From the anti-homosexual pogroms in Chechnya to female genital mutilation in much of northern and western Africa to the distinctive rape cultures which plague both the first and third worlds, the need to protect the sexual rights of the global citizenry is direr than ever before. To do this, there must be a codified international agreement which provides the basis for subsequent legislation and jurisdiction. Delegates will debate topics such as freedom of contraception, accessibility to feminine hygiene products, freedom of sexual orientation, gender reassignment surgery, wartime and organized sexual violence, and much more, all with the goal of establishing a new set of guidelines protecting the most basic sexual rights of the global citizen. Delegates will not only need to search for middle ground on an oft-neglected and highly sensitive topic, but they will also be compelled by the international community to address sex-related wrongdoings in their own respective nations and work to seek justice for these crimes.