Enforcement vs. Sovereignty, But Where Is Democracy?


A tension seems to rise within the Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee (SOCHUM) regarding to whether a stronger enforcement of human rights articles could pose threats to national sovereignty.

The topic of the committee, rights of gender and sexuality, is inherently controversial itself. In a nation that embraces democracy and individual freedom as much as the United States, same-sex marriage is only recognized in 2015. However, the very fact that people remain divided on the issue, which is based on their faith and ideology, even after the legislation, verifies that enactment of laws does not necessarily make sure everyone is on the same page.

Take Poland for example, the delegate of Poland has pledged for the delegates to consider if the implementation of human rights laws regarding gender and sexuality will violates the rights of religious individuals for keeping their own faith, a view shared by Ethiopia.

While the delegate of Georgia stated that different religions offer different interpretations on gender and sexuality, the rights of people of faith remain threatened. Because of the diverse religious interpretations, we have and the respect for individual freedom that we value, America becomes a place we see some churches raise rainbow flags and but also others offer spiritual cleansing for same-sex desires, where everybody can get something they want.

It is also true that different nations breed different democracies, which is deep-rooted in the diverse national ideologies they hold. The enforcement of human rights articles will override the will of the diverse peoples in a diverse world.

Something quite contradictory is the proposal of Japan, in which the delegate attempts to enforce rights of sexual minorities universally, a major step-back from one of the core principles of respecting diversity that the United Nations thrive for. What we could think about is, perhaps, the proposal of Canada, one that sets a minimum standard that will ensure the rights of the minorities but also makes sure that protection doesn’t intervene with the majority.

As the delegate of India said, the enforcement of human rights articles is not the opposition of national sovereignty, but rather, it is something that can coexist. Similar stand is also taken by the delegate of Netherlands, who wanted to strike a balance between the two.

It remains to see how will the delegates from SOCHUM resolve this dispute in the following sessions, but what concerns people the most is whether democracy, or the voice of the people is going to be heard.

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