Previous U.N. Resolutions
Reading and familiarizing yourself with previous U.N. resolutions regarding the death penalty is an important way to have a successful conference. Reading these resolutions are great to give you an understanding of what has been proposed. Also, these resolutions can be the basis for your own resolutions.
There have been six resolutions, which all build off the original U.N. General Assembly Resolution 62/149 (December 18, 2007). These resolutions call for a worldwide moratorium (different from abolition!) on the death penalty. It also aimed to reduce the type of crimes punishable by death penalty worldwide. These resolutions have been sponsored by the EU countries, New Zealand and Mexico.
Below is a screenshot of the original text from Resolution 62/149, pay close attention to the phrasing and perambulatory clauses:
As I said before I’ll be talking about code and conduct at the conference and this blog will be about dress code!
Dress Code: Semi-formal/Business professional Attire
We’re looking for clothes you would wear to a business meeting, which is sort of what this conference is.
If you are unsure of what is deemed semi-formal or business attire refer to the image below, e-mail us or take a look on the Internet for ideas.
Dress pants and Dress shirts, Blouses, Dresses, skirts, suits, ties, flats, dress shoes, bowties, heals, vests, Sweater, Cardigans
Jeans, T-shirts, sandals, sweats, tracksuits and tank tops
It should go without saying that school dress code rules also apply in the sense that we don’t want to see underwear of any sorts, bums or chests of anybody.
As there are multiple lecture theatres we may be in, keep in mind each building has different heating. We might be in the frozen tundra or in the blistering desert depending on which theatre we’re using throughout the conference. Make sure you come prepared. I highly recommend sweaters, scarves or those popular wrap things that are everywhere recently. I also recommend wearing layers that you could potentially take off if it’s blazing hot in our room.
Also it is winter out there delegates- if you are planning on wearing skirts, heals or thin shirts and pants please make sure you will be warm enough or have things to cover or change into if you need to.
Check the weather each day of the conference and dress according to sensible Canadian attire for February please. We don’t want anyone getting frostbite and neither do you- it’s not fun.
Hello there delegates!
Well breaks over and I’m hoping the first few days haven’t been too terrible. I know some students are going in for diploma exams in a couple weeks so good luck and study hard!!
As Andrew posted last week we’re hoping to be getting some Position Papers in soon but if you’re struggling with them or have any questions feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be more diligent in checking it now that our finals here at the university are over.
On another note, my next few posts are going to speak to the code and conduct of our conference. There is a time and place for all jokes and for messing around but keep in mind that this is a formal conference that is aiming to create real potential resolutions to the issues at hand. If you’re going to be playful and silly be professional and be tasteful.
NO Swearing, NO Crude language, NO discrimination, NO cruel and hurtful language.
That being said you’ll have a lot more fun if you loosen up and try to get out of your shell! Obviously we aren’t going to squash your potential, we’re excited to see what every delegate has to contribute and want to ensure that everyone is having a good time. There won’t be much debate if we’re all sitting quietly too shy or nervous to talk. We’ll keep it in the healthy balance between entertaining and achieving goals!
If you have a hard time relaxing in situations like this try these tips:
- Write down what you want to say before you say it- It’ll help keep you on track and have something to revert your eyes to if you start getting nervous looking at the other delegates.
- Wiggle your fingers and toes before it’s your turn- it’s the same sort of idea as ‘Shaking off the nervousness’
- Choose places in the room or people to look at when you’re talking- it’ll help you focus and eliminates the feeling of being in a big room.
- Have fun with it- joke if you want to, keep it light if you want to, keeping in mind that we’re still in a formal conference.
- Take it easy and don’t get worked up over it- it’s totally ok to make mistakes or forget what you were going to say, just don’t get upset with yourself about it later. Might be frustrating to be nervous but it’s all good, it’s a three day conference you’ve got lost of time to get your point across.
Hello Delegates! I am hoping that you are all enjoying your winter break, and have spent time this holiday season with your friends and family.
While it may seem that HSMUN 2017 is still a long ways away, it is imperative that you finish your position papers as soon as possible so you can send them in to your educators for revisions. As a friendly reminder, we do request that you submit your FINAL COPY to us (email them to email@example.com) by February 12. Feel free to email us in advance if you have any specific questions!
At this stage, many of you should have already tracked down the sources you will use, and consolidated information you’ve collected into ideas you will use in your writing. As you begin to draft your papers, I would like to take some time to acknowledge two important things you should keep in mind!
According to Oxford’s English Dictionary, plagiarism is defined as “the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own”. I hope that this is not a new concept to any of you! It is imperative that your position papers are 100% original and authentic to your own ideas. Please do not feel the need to “copy and paste” from an article, or to use another person’s argument and evidence talis qualis, as a “Hail Mary” for your position papers.
That is not to say you are not allowed to use facts, information, or quotations from other sources! You are permitted (and even encouraged) to do so, PROVIDED THAT YOU CITE THE SOURCE. While there are many styles of citation that are accepted, keep in mind that the standard format for a political paper (like this position paper) is MLA. I personally really like to use Purdue’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) and automated bibliography makers in order to speed up the citation process. I have included some of these recommended websites below!
But again, this doesn’t mean you can “rip off” an entire paragraph or half a page from someone else. It is still up to you to develop your own introduction, discussion and summary regarding your assigned country and the selected topics of debate.
As a general benchmark, your paper should be roughly 1000 words and, at most, two typewritten pages in length. This is not as much as you think! Considering that you must write about your country’s history, the two issues at hand, an analysis of your country’s stance on said issues, on top of incorporating a few quotations, statistics, or facts for support, you must be able to judiciously plan out exactly how you want to lay out your paper.
It would be wise to avoid unnecessary or redundant adjectives or adverbs, and to instead be straightforward in your discussion. In other words, do not think that elaborate language will give you bonus points! While strong vocabulary is definitely a plus, strong content is much more important J
We look forward to reading your papers and working with you at the conference in February. Have a Happy New Year!
Best of luck,
Purdue OWL: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/
BibMe: http://www.bibme.org/ (I like this one the best, but they only give you one citation ad-free)
Choosing Beneficial Debate Direction:
When looking at the governing question(s) for debate on the question of the use of the death penalty you may notice that the governing question is really three questions:
- Should governments still be allowed to sentence their citizens to death for their crimes?
- Should humans have a right to life? How do we ensure that human rights are being upheld?
- How do we ensure trials are conducted fairly and thoroughly? How do we work towards abolishing the death penalty, when previous legislations have failed to hold governments accountable?
Due to time constraints, and the scope of this conference, it is unlikely that all three sub-questions will be able to discussed at length. Therefore determining which question(s) will benefit your country’s goals is essential.
If you are a country that is in favour of keeping your right to the death penalty, then you would most likely want to keep debate focused on sub-question one: “should governments still be allowed to sentence their citizens to death for their crimes?” Why? This question focuses debate on a sovereign nation’s right to determine appropriate methods of law and order within their borders. Focusing debate on whether or not an international body (i.e. the UN) should have a say on how a country punishes their criminals will keep focus of debate on legality/sovereignty rather than morality. If you are within his cohort of countries your goal should be convincing others of your freedom to govern.
If you are a country that seeks a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty, then you may want to focus debate on sub-questions two: “should humans have a right to life? How do we ensure that human rights are being upheld?” Focusing on this question creates a moral distinction between those for abolition and those opposed. Debating whether or not humans have a right to life and debating human rights will make it very hard to take a counter position. Those who dare to argue against will look very cruel taking such an unsavory position. However, claiming a “moral high-ground” can backfire.
However, countries desiring a resolution (that passes!) as the outcome and who are willing to compromise, may look to sub-question three: “how do we ensure trials are conducted fairly and thoroughly? How do we work towards abolishing the death penalty, when previous legislations have failed to hold governments accountable?” The wording of this question is key – it says work towards abolishment. The biggest concern, for these countries, should be attempting to limit unnecessary uses of the death penalty while trying to take steps towards abolishment. For some countries (ex. China) limit on their use of the death penalty is a non-starter. For others (ex. Norway) anything other than a worldwide moratorium is unacceptable. However, many countries are in the middle and due to their history with the death penalty or relationship with countries still implementing it may be able to create a middle ground.
Every country has goals and every country desires a specific outcome. Determining how to achieve those goals, through direction of debate, will set you up for success. Finding other countries with similar goals will only make your job easier. Work (debate) smarter, not harder.
“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.”
I’ll say it once and I’ll say it twice! We’ve got lots of resources on the website for position papers and for learning about your topics and your delegation.
Be please aware of the rights and privileges as well as their political policies of your delegation.
If you haven’t already, check out the Preparation Guide under the Student tab and you’ll be able to see explanations on what you should prepare for and a few links to get you started. For a bit more information check out the links below!
The words are all hyperlinked but in case that doesn’t work I just put their links below.
Also you can e-mail us!
As this post was a wee bit short here is a little information on the topic of ‘Ending the Discrimination of Albinism’
In pop-culture PWA (people with Albinism) are almost always depicted as the trickster, who originally was working with the protagonists then deceives and/or betrays them, or the PWA is just the villain.
The ‘Evil Albino’ subplot has been shown in famous films such as The Matrix Reloaded and The Da Vinci Code.
One of the most famous ‘Albino’ Characters is the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. He is an ambiguous character because he is neither good nor evil but lead Alice into Wonderland mistakenly.
There is also a large population of PWA in music and film that seek to crush the stereotypes put against PWA.
- Does your nation have any pop-culture that may misrepresent PWA?
- How could these portrayals in pop-culture affect/ influence how people see PWA?
In regards to the last blog post:
- Are there any rituals or practices using PWA in your nation?
- What steps have been taken to stop these atrocities?
- What is your nations stance in regards to Human Rights?
- What treaties/ declarations have they signed?
- What legislations do they have (Ex. Constitution Act: Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms)
Attacks on People with Albinism
Albinism is a rare condition leading to a shortage of melanin in a person, leading to light-colored skin, hair, and eyes. While albinism is accepted as nothing more than a noninfectious genetic disorder in the Western world, some cultures in East Africa (particularly around the African Great Lakes) believe that people with albinism (PWA) have certain “magical” body parts.
As a result of this belief, albinos are often subject to violence and kidnapping; often, their perpetrators intend to bring them into a “human market”. Here, PWA are often sold off as sex slaves, forced into domestic servitude, or their limbs may be amputated to be auctioned off to “witch doctors”. In fact, according to a 2009 report by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, a complete albino “body set” (four limbs, genitals, ears, tongue and nose) can fetch up to USD 75,000 on the African black market. You can read the report in full here:
Here are a few myths and misconceptions that some African cultures may hold against albinos, which lead to this macabre market:
- Sex with an albino can cure HIV/AIDS
- The bones of albino people contain gold
- Potions made by “witch doctors” with albino body parts can bring wealth and good luck
It should be noted that while some African countries have imposed strict legislation forbidding the practice, as well as implement harsh penalties against those who attack or kill PWA, violence against albinos is still largely undeterred. Interestingly, when the country of Tanzania imposed laws against PWA violence in January 2015, the neighboring country of Malawi reported a “steep upsurge in killings” of albino people within their borders. This may be indicative that albino hunters are often not confined to a specific geographical area, and that they feel their practice is unaffected by countries’ legislation if they can easily cross their borders. The UN is hopeful that a long-term solution can be put into place to protect PWA and their loved ones in East Africa.
An article that you may find useful to seek out specific instances is Reported Attacks of Persons with Albinism, released by the Canadian charity Under the Same Sun (who advocate for the wellbeing of PWA). Inside, you will read about a number of documented, recent acts of violence towards PWA which could make for excellent case studies. For example, the report states that the most recent killing happened just this past May, when a six-year-old girl was lured away from her home in Mali.
Beware that there may be some disturbing content in the article.
One last side of the story to look at deals with those PWA who ARE able to survive the traumatic experience, or escape from their captors. In many cases, these people are physically incapacitated (have missing limbs, are blind, etc.) and almost all of them are psychologically scarred from their traumatic experiences. As the albino “human market” grows larger and more widespread, more and more of these survivors are begging for help from other countries.
In closing, try thinking about these additional ideas, in addition to the concepts that we’ve already provided you on the topic page.
- What can be done with respect to some African peoples’ beliefs and spiritual rituals that lead to attacks on PWA?
- How can the international community support albino survivors or escapees, and help them through the aftermath of the physical and psychological trauma of the “human market”?
- Despite the police and government’s acknowledgement of this crisis, what steps could be taken to provide further security to families with albino people at risk of violence?
Have a great week!
The Gang of Four:
When looking at the question of the use of the death penalty there are only a handful of countries that activity use the death penalty … In 2015, 25 countries performed a combined total of more than 1,630 executions – the highest number of executions since 1989. However, excluding China, almost 90% of all executions [in 2015] took place in just three countries – Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
The Chinese government considers information on their usage of the death penalty a “state secret.” However, many international human rights groups attempt to gather information on use of the death penalty in China and estimate that in 2013 (most recent reliable data available) the Chinese government executed ~2,400. Although this figure is higher than the rest of the world combined it is a significant decrease from 2012 and executions have been on a downward trending in China since 2002.
Iran has seen a dramatic increase in the number death penalty executions, from 94 in 2005 to 969 executions in 2015. Iran releases some information regarding death penalty executions, but a large number are unreported or kept secret. Iran uses multiple forms of execution, corresponding to both crime and judge decision. Most common are hanging or stoning. In Iran, public hangings are common.
Pakistan had a moratorium on the death penalty from 2009-2014, with the death penalty only being used in “special cases.” However, in 2015 this moratorium was lifted. Pakistan’s government does not provide official figures, but it is estimated that there were approximately 320 executions in 2015.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia executes prisoners sentenced to death either by beheading or stoning. Sources dispute the official numbers of executions in 2015, but estimates range from 158-175 executions. This is the most executions in the kingdom since 1995 and is a significant increase from 90 executions in 2014.
Duncan McCrostie, Vice-Chair
Welcome to the Human Rights Council Blog! In this space each week one of our committee members, myself, Duncan and Andrew, will post a little blurb about the topics that will be debated in the HRC at the Conference in February.
In case you have not done so yet, please read over the information given under each topic, which can be found on the drop menu on the HSMUN website under the title ‘Committees and Topics’ then put your mouse over ‘Human Rights Council’ to see the two topics, Dias Bios, Contact Information and Blog (Which you’ve found already- you’re on it!).
The information found under each topic briefly explains the topic and clears up any confusion there might be about what the topic is.
For those who are new to HSMUN, during the conference you will be in a committee room with the three of us and a panel of your delegate peers. In case you’d like to know a bit more about us before you’re stuck with us for three days – check out the ‘Dias Bios’.
That’s all for this week! We’ll see ya next week!