UNHRC: United Nations Human Rights Council

Topic A: Promoting the Human Rights of LGBTQ Individuals in Southeast Asia

While the LGBTQ community has experienced challenges to its human rights around the world, these challenges are particularly relevant in Southeast Asia, where there are few specific laws that explicitly prevent discrimination against people of different genders and sexual orientations. For too many Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) people living in Southeast Asia, the assertion of their identities has led to continual verbal abuse, systemic employment discrimination, stifled economic opportunity, political disenfranchisement, hate-based violence and many other human rights violations. The United Nations, under Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s leadership, has recently committed itself to asserting and protecting the rights of LGBTQ persons through the UN Free & Equal Campaign, and it is now essential that the UNHRC undertake the legal discussion of upholding the pillars of this campaign.

Topic B: Defending the Human Rights of Religious Minorities Targeted by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)

With the rise of the Islamic State (IS) and recent tumultuous political events in Iraq, IS militants have threatened to exterminate specific religious minorities including the Iraqi-Yazidis, Shabaks, and Iraqi and Assyrian Christians. IS has instituted violent action that included the kidnappings of children, systematic car bombings, forced displacement into surrounding Kurdish territories and other bordering countries outside of Iraq, and church massacres. The subjugation of religious minorities is felt especially intensely by the women of these faiths. For example, in the past six months, more than 5,000 Yazidi women have been systematically captured, raped, trafficked, and sold by IS militants. These sorts of crimes against women of religious minorities do not solely occur in IS-controlled territories; these women are also highly susceptible to sexual assault within refugee camps. With lack of action on this human rights issue, the suppression of religious minorities everywhere could slowly be legitimized on a massive scale. Therefore, it is imperative that the UNHCR address this issue effectively and urgently.

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