The Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Affairs Committee, commonly known as SOCHUM, is the third committee within the General Assembly of the United Nations. SOCHUM deals with some of the most pressing social, humanitarian, and human rights issues facing the global community, including the advancement of women, protecting children, refugee issues, fighting racial discrimination, the right to self-determination and social development questions that relate to youth, family, persons with disabilities, and crime prevention, among others.
At the 2014 Hofstra University High School Model United Nations Conference, SOCHUM will address two critical issues: workers’ rights and the rights of journalists around the world. Workers’ rights continue to be abridged around the world. For example, the right of labor to organize into unions continues to be suppressed. Even worse, children are often forced to work in dangerous conditions against not only the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also multiple international treaties that prohibit child labor. Delegates will have to come up with creative and thoughtful solutions to address the important problems facing workers of all ages around the world.
The second issue -- the rights of journalists -- is critical not only for the journalists themselves but also for the communities they serve. Journalists, both traditional and those enabled by new technologies, are vital to a functioning society where individual rights are protected and governments are accountable to their citizens. Alarmingly, many governments around the world repress journalists for the information they share, sometimes jailing individuals for their work or even worse. This not only denies these journalists of their rights, it denies citizens their right to access information. Delegates must address this important issue with care and thoughtfulness to ensure that citizens around the globe can rely on a free and open press.