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Belarussian Model United Nations for University Students 2012 [Sustainable development: the way forward]

Instructional Guide Human Rights Council


Belarusian Model United Nations for University Students 2012 Human Rights Council

Honourable delegates, we are very happy to greet you as the delegates of Human Rights Council at BELAMUN University Students Conference 2012. We are Veronika Novik and Marina Nelipovich and it is our pleasure to be the chairs of the Council this year. Let‟s get acquainted. Veronika Novik: “I am a fourth-year student at Belarusian State University in the faculty of international relations. MUNs have played a big role throughout my high school and university life. And of course, between the motions, points of order, caucuses and draft resolutions, I do always hope to see everyone letting their hair down in the crazy and boundlessly fun tradition that is MUN! So be ready for heated debates!” Marina Nelipovich :”I am a second–year student of the faculty of international relations at Belarusian State University. MUN has always been a fantastic experience to be a part of. I have participated in such international conferences since 2009. The conferences themselves are always a great success. And I hope this conference will be the most interesting for all of us! So, be active, have fun and good luck, honorable delegates! Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible. Universal human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by law, in the forms of treaties, customary international law , general principles and other sources of international law. International human rights law lays down obligations of Governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups. Human Rights Council leads global human rights efforts speaks out objectively in the face of human rights violations worldwide. So during this conference we will provide a forum for identifying, highlighting and developing responses to today's human rights challenges, and act as the principal centre of human rights research, education, public information, and advocacy activities in the United Nations system. This year our issues sound like: Children of Incarcerated Parents Ensuring the Third-Generation Human Rights So we shouldn‟t wait for tomorrow, let‟s make a difference today!!! See you at the sessions!!!! Page 2


Belarusian Model United Nations for University Students 2012 Human Rights Council

Issue: Children of Incarcerated Parents. What rights does a child have if their mother or father is detained or imprisoned? Little attention has been given to this subject, despite the profound and permanent impact such an event has on the child. The purpose of our session of Human Rights Council is to raise awareness about and explore child rights issues related to children of incarcerated parents and supply States with guidance so that they can provide greater protection of the rights of such children, through their policies and practices. A study in the United Kingdom has shown that the detrimental impact on the behaviour of children deprived of parental care through parental imprisonment is greater than the impact on children who lose or are separated from their parent in other ways. The study only considered the impact of paternal imprisonment; however, other studies have indicated that maternal imprisonment is even more disruptive for children than paternal imprisonment. Most women in prison are mothers. The imprisonment of a woman who is a mother can lead to the violation not only of her rights but also the rights of her children. When a mother is imprisoned, her baby and/or young children may go into prison with her or be separated from her and left on the „outside‟. Both situations can put the child at risk. As an example we may recall the statement of the Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention in Africa: “Prisons are not a safe place for pregnant women, babies and young children and also it is not advisable to separate babies and young children from their mother.” There are no simple solutions but the complexity of the situation cannot be an excuse for failing to protect the rights of children who have a parent in prison. Women who are pregnant whilst in prison have particular health and nutrition needs. In some countries, women prisoners are shackled during childbirth, and/or are guarded by male prison guards. The inextricable link between anxiety and stress in the mother and the physical and emotional well being of the baby needs to be recognised and addressed. The rights of both mothers and babies need to be considered in relation to pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and post-natal care in prison. The presumption should be that babies should remain with their mothers unless there are compelling reasons for separating them. Not taking babies and children into prison with their mother raises a different set of problems. The first question is, of course, who will take care of such children? The father, grandparents, or extended family may be able and willing to do so, but children may be separated from each other in order to lighten the burden Page 3


Belarusian Model United Nations for University Students 2012 Human Rights Council

of care, or they may be taken into state care institutions. How can the mental, emotional, physical and social impact of the mother‟s imprisonment be minimized for the children both directly for them in continuing their daily lives and also in maintaining their relationship with the mother during imprisonment and following her release (if any). The numbers of children separated from their fathers due to imprisonment is far higher than those separated from their mothers due to the vast majority of prisoners being men (globally over 90 percent of prisoners are male). To ignore this group would, therefore, be to neglect the vast majority of children affected by parental imprisonment. Children‟s best interests must be at the forefront of decisions related to incarcerated parents, before, during and after imprisonment. Children often feel like they are ignored by the process. In most cases they have problems with privacy when they visit parents in prison. In the majority of countries there aren‟t any support groups for such children. And prison staff do not always treat them in appropriate way. The often overlooked frequent and serious harms faced by children with an incarcerated parent, include sadness, anger, worry, social exclusion, depression, a sense of loss as well as a sense of abandonment and rejection. Some children also worry about the stigma of having an incarcerated parent and suffer from fear, shame, guilt and low self-esteem. The discussions that will take place during the session of our Council should be in the context of the following general principles: a. Children of incarcerated parents are entitled to the same rights as all other children; b. Children of incarcerated parents have committed no crime and should not suffer because of the crimes of others. Nor should they be discriminated against because of the status of their parent(s); c. Children living in prison are not prisoners and should be able to enjoy the same rights, freedoms and opportunities as other children. Talking about the problem of children of incarcerated parents we cannot avoid mentioning some organizations working in this sphere. First of all, The Committee on the Rights of the Child is the body that monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In 2005 the Committee began to regularly raise the impact of women‟s imprisonment on the fulfillment of the rights of their children. The Committee has taken this up Page 4


Belarusian Model United Nations for University Students 2012 Human Rights Council

both in respect of children who live in prison with their mothers and those who are separated from their mothers as a result of maternal imprisonment. 30.09.2011 The Committee on the Rights of the Child held a Day of General Discussion with regard to children of incarcerated parents. It held two workshops on babies and children living with or visiting a parent in prison, and on children left “outside” when their parent was incarcerated. The Committee concluded that children of incarcerated parents were still too often forgotten. The priority was non-custodial sentencing for parents and there was a need for reconciliation between the interest of the State and the best interest of the child. The Quaker United Nations Offices located in Geneva and New York represent Friends World Committee for Consultation (Quakers), an international non-governmental organization with General Consultative Status at the United Nations. The Quaker United Nations Offices work to promote the peace and justice concerns of Friends (Quakers) from around the world at the United Nations and other global institutions. This organization is also actively involved in solving our Council‟s problem. CRIN is a global children's rights network. They press for rights - not charity - and a systemic shift in how governments and societies view children. Their inspiration is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which they use to bring children's rights to the top of the international agenda. CRIN launch advocacy campaigns, lead international children's rights coalitions, and strive to make existing human rights enforcement mechanisms accessible for all. Children of incarcerated parents are explicitly referred to in the Convention on the Rights of the Child only once, in Article 9. However, many other Articles are relevant to their situation, including: - the right to non-discrimination (Art. 2); - considering the child‟s best interests (Art. 3); - birth registration, particularly for children born to an imprisoned mother (Art. 7); - family contact and reunification, particularly for children whose parents are imprisoned in another State (Art. 10); - involvement in decisions relating to the child (Art. 12, particularly 12(2)); - private and family life (Art. 16); - parental involvement in upbringing (Art. 18); alternative care (Art. 20) (See also the 2009 Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, paragraphs 48 and 82.); - adoption, including where parental rights are terminated as a direct or indirect result of imprisonment (Art. 21); - health and healthcare (Art. 24 and 25); - social security, particularly the impact of parental imprisonment on resources available to and needed by the children (Art. 26); Page 5


Belarusian Model United Nations for University Students 2012 Human Rights Council

- adequate standard of living (Art. 27); - education (Art. 28 and 29); - leisure (Art. 31); - economic exploitation (Art. 32); - use or trafficking of illicit drugs (Art. 33); - and, for children living in prison with a parent, deprivation of liberty (Art. 37). We should also mention some general recommendations of The Committee on the Rights of the Child. 1. Where the defendant has child caring responsibilities, the Committee recommends that the principle of the best interests of the child (article 3) is carefully and independently considered by competent professionals and taken into account in all decisions related to detention, including pre-trial detention and sentencing, and decisions concerning the placement of the child. 2. As regards children residing in prison with their mothers, the Committee recommends that the State party ensure that living conditions in prisons are adequate for the childâ€&#x;s early development in accordance with article 27 of the Convention. 3. The Committee recommends that alternative care for those children who are separated from their mothers in prison be regularly reviewed ensuring that the physical and mental needs of children are appropriately met. Furthermore, it recommends that the State party continue to ensure that alternative care allows the child to maintain personal relations and direct contact with the mother who remains in prison.

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Belarusian Model United Nations for University Students 2012 Human Rights Council

Issue: Ensuring the Third-Generation Human Rights For what do we have «the thirdgeneration human rights”? Taking into account the strong factual relationship between environmental degradation and the impairment of human rights, it is important to consider how these two fields interrelate within the law. Various constitutions {see infra section 24 of the 1996 South African Constitution} of the world regard the right to a safe, healthy and ecologically balanced environment as an independent human right. The purpose of our session is to examine the role of the third-generation human rights, their implication in respect of the protection of the environment and to ensure them. But first of all, we should get acquainted with all the kinds of human rights. The UDHR (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights), the ECHR (the European Convention on Human Rights) and other international treaties cover a wide range of different rights, so we shall look at them in the order in which they were developed and were recognised by the international community. The „normal‟ way of classifying these rights is into „first, second and third generation‟ rights. First generation rights (civil and political rights) began to emerge as a theory during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and were based mostly on political concerns. Second generation rights (social, economic and cultural rights)concern how people live and work together and the basic necessities of life. They are based on the ideas of equality and guaranteed access to essential social and economic goods, services, and opportunities. In the case of the specific new category of rights that have been proposed as a third generation, these have been the consequence of a deeper understanding of the different types of obstacles that may stand in the way of realising the first and second generation rights. Increasing globalisation has also revealed the possibility for resources to be diverted towards the removal of these obstacles. The idea at the basis of the third generation of rights is that of solidarity; and the rights embrace collective rights of society or people – such as the right to sustainable development, to peace or to a healthy environment. In much of the world, conditions such as extreme poverty, war, ecological and natural disasters have meant that there has been only very limited progress in respect for human rights.

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Belarusian Model United Nations for University Students 2012 Human Rights Council

Third-generation human rights are those rights that go beyond the mere civil and social, as expressed in many progressive documents of international law, including the 1972 Stockholm Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and other pieces of generally aspirational "soft law." Because of the present-day tilting toward national sovereignty and the preponderance of would-be offender nations, these rights have been hard to enact in legally binding documents. The term "third-generation human rights" remains largely unofficial, and thus houses an extremely broad spectrum of rights, including: Group and collective rights Right to self-determination Right to economic and social development Right to natural resources Right to communicate and communication rights Right to participation in cultural heritage Rights to intergenerational equity and sustainability Right to a healthy environment . The right to a healthy environment entails the obligation of governments to:  refrain from interfering directly or indirectly with the enjoyment of the right to a healthy environment  prevent third parties such as corporations from interfering in any way with the enjoyment of the right to a healthy environment, and  adopt the necessary measures to achieve the full realisation of the right to a healthy environment. Some countries have constitutional mechanisms for safeguarding thirdgeneration rights. For example, the New Zealand Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, the Hungarian Parliamentary Commissioner for Future Generations the Parliament of Finland‟s Committee for the Future, and the erstwhile Commission for Future Generations in the Knesset in Israel. Some international organizations have offices for safeguarding such rights. An example is the High Commissioner on National Minorities of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. The Directorate-General for the Environment of the European Commission has as its mission "protecting, preserving and improving the environment for present and future generations, and Page 8


Belarusian Model United Nations for University Students 2012 Human Rights Council

promoting sustainable development." These are sometimes referred to as "green" rights. In 1997 UNESCO adopted the Declaration on the Responsibilities of the Present Generation Towards the Future Generation. The preamble to the declaration states that "at this point in history, the very existence of humankind and its environment are threatened" and the declaration covers a variety of issues including protection of the environment, the human genome, biodiversity, cultural heritage, peace, development, and education. The preamble recalls that the responsibilities of the present generations towards future generations has been referred to in various international instruments, including the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (UNESCO 1972), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (UN Conference on Environment and Development, 1992), the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (World Conference on Human Rights, 1993), a number of UN General Assembly resolutions relating to the protection of the global climate for present and future generations adopted since 1990. USEFUL LINKS: 1) Children of Incarcerated Parents http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/ http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=11 459&LangID=E http://www.quno.org/index.html http://www.crin.org/index.asp http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm http://daccess-ddsny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/LTD/G09/142/13/PDF/G0914213.pdf?OpenElement http://www.sentencingproject.org/template/index.cfm http://fcnetwork.org/ Page 9


Belarusian Model United Nations for University Students 2012 Human Rights Council

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOXJa-4EBBw&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gha7inTSFZc&feature=related 2) Ensuring the Third-Generation Human Rights http://www.kas.de/upload/auslandshomepages/namibia/HumanRights/ruppel1 .pdf http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_generations_of_human_rights http://www.history.com/topics/human-rights http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/ http://www.ohchr.org/EN/UDHR/Pages/Introduction.aspx http://www.echr.coe.int/ECHR/homepage_en http://www.5min.com/Video/The-Characteristics-of-Universal-Rights294133772 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JggygZPx43E

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HRC Guide  

HRC Guide for BELAMUN 2012

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