Human Rights



Protecting Minorities’ Rights and Integrity in Modern Society

Minorities are groups of citizens that differ from the majority in terms of ethnicity, religion, race, wealth or sexual orientation.

In our modern society, issues related to minority rights are present in many countries of various stages of development. The United Nations and other intergovernmental organisations admit the fact that minority rights are essential to preserving values and tradition within a certain group of people. The groups in question need to be protected against possible political tyranny, segregation or misrepresentation in political forums.

Even though the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights states that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, many times during our history, minorities have been the target of discrimination,which ranges from political misrepresentation to genocide. Examples of this are the Holocaust (genocide of the Jewish community in certain parts of Europe) or the Apartheid (discrimination of the black community in South Africa). It is imperative that executive, legislative and judiciary powers take all necessary measures to prevent this.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee deals with these problems through resolutions and intergovernmental cooperation.Nevertheless, many times this is not effective.

Keep in mind these questions:

  • Should the UN overstep national sovereignty in cases of a minority being discriminated in order to alleviate the situation?
  • What can be considered as discrimination of minority rights?

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Drug Addiction: Crime or Disease?

            In today’s society, uninformed people do not understand how or why certain individuals become addicted to drugs. Many think that drug users do not have moral principles, education or will and also that they could simply stop using forbidden substances just by abstaining. In reality, being addicted to drugs is a serious disease, and quitting takes more than good intentions or a strong will. Drugs affect the brain by making it dependent on them, which then leads to an incapability of quitting, even for those with a strong will.

While some UN state members consider that drug addicted people are criminals and the punishment should be death, others treat them like patients suffering from a complex disease.

Thinking from the perspective of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in countries like the Philippines, the right to life, freedom and security is violated, but legally, even in western countries where they are cared for, like Portugal, drug addicts are law abusers and they have to be punished. Although all Member States acknowledge the importance of respecting the human rights, many state officials believe that there are other ways to stop drug consumption, other than treatment.

Thus, what the Human Rights committee will be trying to do during the debate is to decide on what kind of action should be taken in order to stop the problem and respect addicts’ rights as human beings.

Keep in mind these questions:

  • How would underdeveloped countries afford taking care of drug addicts?
  • How are drug addicts viewed by the United Nations and what rights do they have?
  • In a scenario where drug addicts get treatment, how would they be integrated to society?

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