Human Rights Council Topic A, B and committee background

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Human Rights Council Topic A, B and committee background

  1. 1. Human Rights CouncilThe Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the UN system made up of 47 States responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe.  The Council was created by the UN General Assembly on 15 March 2006 with the main purpose of addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.<br />When creating the Human Rights Council in March 2006 (resolution 60/251), the United Nations General Assembly decided that the Council shall review its work and functioning five years after it has come into existence. It also provided that the status of the Council is to be reviewed at the level of the General Assembly.<br />The General Assembly established the UNHRC by adopting a resolution on 15 March 2006, in order to replace the previous CHR, which had been heavily criticised for allowing countries with poor human rights records to be members.<br />According to human rights groups, the council is controlled by a bloc of Islamic and African states, backed by China, Cuba and Russia, who protect each other from criticism. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and former High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson have criticized the council for acting according to political considerations as opposed to human rights<br />On 18 June 2007, one year after holding its first meeting, the UNHRC adopted its Institution-building package, which provides elements to guide it in its future work. Among the elements was the Universal Periodic Review. The Universal Periodic Review will assess the human rights situations in all 192 UN Member States. Another element is an Advisory Committee, which serves as the UNHRC’s think tank, and provides it with expertise and advice on thematic human rights issues, that is, issues which pertain to all parts of the world. Another element is a Complaints Procedure, which allows individuals and organizations to bring complaints about human rights violations to the attention of the Council.<br />The human rights movement emerged in the 1970s, especially from former socialists in eastern and western Europe, with major contributions also from the United States and Latin America. The movement quickly jelled as social activism and political rhetoric in many nations put it high on the world agenda.<br />Many of the basic ideas that animated the movement developed in the aftermath of the Second World War, culminating in its adoption by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. While the phrase "human rights" is relatively modern the intellectual foundations of the modern concept can be traced through the history of philosophy and the concepts of natural law rights and liberties as far back as the city states of Classical Greece and the development of Roman Law. The true forerunner of human rights discourse was the enlightenment concept of natural rights<br />Backgrounds<br />Topic A: End human rights violations against people with mental health disorders<br /> Alarmed that many of the 450 million people with mental disorders around the world are still stigmatized, abused and locked up under inhuman conditions, the World Health Organization (WHO) is dedicating International Human Rights Day, 10 December, to ending these practices. <br />"There are still far too many violations of the human rights of people with mental disorders. However, too often both the health and human rights agendas overlook these problems, and as a result, they slip between the cracks," said Dr. Lee Jong-wook, Director General of WHO. <br />“We have solutions to reverse the situation, in rich and poor countries alike,” Dr. Lee added, urging all concerned to take a “hard look” at the conditions endured by people with mental disorders. <br />To call attention to the issue on Human Rights Day, WHO is mounting an online photo essay entitled Forgotten People: Mental Health and Human Rights, which highlights some of these human rights violations, and gives examples of how they can and must be stopped. <br />More than 450 million people throughout the world have mental, neurological or behavioral problems, according to WHO. Yet 64 per cent of countries do not have any mental health legislation, or that which exists is out-of-date. <br />Misunderstanding and stigma surrounding mental ill health are widespread, the agency said. Despite the existence of effective treatments for mental disorders, there is a belief that they are untreatable or that people with mental disorders are difficult, not intelligent, or incapable of making decisions. This stigma can lead to abuse, rejection and isolation and can exclude people from health care or support. <br />As the WHO photo essay reveals, some people are isolated and locked in cage-like rooms or restrained to their beds for extended periods of time with little or no human contact. Others are subject to the misuse of psychotropic medications. In some institutions patients lack proper clothing, clean water, adequate food or functioning toilet facilities. <br />On the positive side, WHO said that more and more countries are modernizing their mental health policies, services and laws. The health authorities of some 30 countries have recently joined a new WHO project which provides guidelines to improve access to high quality care in the community, end cruel and abusive treatment, eliminate stigma and discrimination, promote and protect human rights, and ultimately improve the lives of people with mental disorders. <br />“There has been a growing commitment to human rights in some of these policy and legal reform efforts,” said Dr Michelle Funk, Coordinator, Mental Health Policy and Service Development at WHO. “However an enormous amount of work remains before us. We must continue to do everything in our power to end human rights violations, discrimination and stigma.”<br />Topic B: Rights Given To Crime VictimsThe Victims' Rights (VR) movement has achieved enormous levels of success and stability because of its ability to take advantage of the social and political forces in the late 1960s and 1970s that helped create the war on crime. As a result, there has been a symbolic and rhetorical shift in the debate on crime- one that inevitably contributes to and justifies the State's law and order approach.<br />The VR movement's emphasis on individuals affected by violent crime shifted the State's burden from attacking the social causes of crime to simply responding to individual acts of crime. In the 1980s, the Right backed a VR campaign that allowed their supporters to introduce conservative tough-on-crime policies without appearing to be racist or opposed to individual rights and liberties. Politicians eagerly lauded the VR movement's goals and accomplishments while creating permanent funding for them. In fact, VR is the velvet glove that opens the door to the iron fist of mandatory sentencing, increased use of the death penalty, and "three strikes" laws. By passing victims' legislation or funding neighborhood watches, politicians could avoid dealing with issues such as poverty, education and drug abuse by appearing to be actively concerned about the issue of crime.<br />The role that the VR movement played in justifying harsher punishment was particularly ironic. Many victims had indeed been mistreated by the criminal justice system, including rape victims, domestic violence victims, and children abused by their parents. There was a genuine need for a VR movement, and one grew from the grassroots in the 1970s. But once adopted by the Reagan Administration's Justice Department, the mantle of VR was never extended to victims of police brutality or to those whose clothes, demeanor, or skin color earned them harassment or arrest from a habitual police practice of racial profiling. The profile of a victim promoted by this campaign became a White woman or man, victimized by a person of color who was associated with drugs- a highly selective slice of the wide range of victims of crime.<br />It is important to remember that the VR movement is comprised of many types of organizations- some conservative, some progressive and some apolitical. There are many organizations that simply provide a range of services such as counseling, support groups and other forms of assistance, which might be receptive to progressive activists. However, this section is primarily concerned with VR organizations that use VR to pursue and justify a law-and-order agenda.Millions of Americans are victims to crime every year. The victims of the crimes should have rights which would entitle them to special benefits which would help them while they would be going through the tough time of a crime. Crime is defined a any behavior that is punishable by a fine or by going to prison or even both. There are two types of crime. There are two types of crime. The first type is a felony. If a person commits a felony he'll be in prison for longer than one year. Among the common felonies are murder, robbery, treason rape and kidnapping. The second type of crime is known as a misdemeanor. If a person commits a misdemeanor, he'll be in prison for a year or less. Most common misdemeanor are petty theft, driving drunk and minor in possession of alcohol. Many people move from rural areas in hope to escape crime, but there is no way of escaping it. No community is crime free (Ball). In the year of 1999 more that 7 million people were victims to violent crime (Bush). About 35 million people are victims of crime every year (Sooner 350). The crime rates are decreasing which is encouraging but we all must pull together to stop all of the crime (Bush) <br />If the crime is not reported within 120 hours the victim will need to good excuse for not reporting it. The victim of any crime should and will have the right to attend the of the criminal. Crime Victims Weekruns from April 22 through April 28th. Criminals should realize that when a crime is committed that there will be consequences and one of the consequences should be paying their victims. Innocent victims should be compensated for all the financial problems that they may have encountered caused by the crime. Police are required to give information about the victims rights to the victim within 24 hours of the crime. " I urge all Americans to share the burden of reducing crime in their communities and to follow the example of those who have helped establish rights and improve services for victims"(Bush). That is a right of the victim to know when the criminal gets release (State). Crime victims have the right to be informed about financial assistance and social services. the process will be alot easier and faster if there is cooperation on the victims part. Compensation will pay for any earning loss that the victim may have lost. Crime victims should have special rights that entitle them to special benefits. Every victim must be treated dignity, respect, courtesy, and sensitivity. It is very important that the victim files all the paper work within the time limits (State).<br />http://crime.about.com/od/victimsrightsbystate/Crime_Victims_Rights_by_State.htmhttp://www.defendingjustice.org/con_agendas/victim_rights.html<br />

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