SOCHUM: Social, Cultural, and Humanitarian Committee

Committee Overview:

The Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, or the Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee (SOCHUM), focuses on issues dealing with fundamental human rights in the international community. SOCHUM was founded in 1945 in reaction to the establishment of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. The Third Committee promotes and enforces basic freedoms and ideals meant to be enjoyed by the entire international community such as the right to life, the expression of cultures, the freedom of political participation, the protection of children’s rights, and the promotion of social development, among many others. SOCHUM derives its legitimacy from the original United Nations Charter and operates with the goal of designing peaceful settlements for issues within the large spectrum of social, humanitarian, and cultural complications in the international community. This body does so by initiating studies that encourage recommendations for the promotion of international cooperation and fundamental freedoms for all.

Topic: Human Rights Violations in Refugee Camps

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a refugee is any person fleeing from persecution, war, or violence. The UNHCR or the UN Refugee Agency, which was originally created in 1950 after the World War II refugee crisis, is in charge of aiding refugees. While the UNHCR was meant to fulfill its three year mandate and disband, it continued to work after the adoption of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. The total number of displaced people is at an all-time high—with over 70 million people having fled their homes and nearly 26 million refugees living worldwide. This has created a pressing refugee crisis, with millions of people migrating to new countries after having escaped their own. Every day, it is believed that 37,000 people are forced to flee their homes due to conflict, adding even more strain on host countries and deepening issues in refugee camps, such as overcrowding and food shortages.