The Great Lakes Invitational Conference Association

Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices

Signed in 1945, Article 1 of the United Nations Charter calls on all nations to cooperate “in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.” Seventy-three years later, the international community continues to advance this mission, including through the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, if the international community is to reach targets such as improving gender equality, public health and biodiversity by 2030, it must address controversial cultural practices that arguably run counter to the SDGs and UN Charter.


Controversial cultural practices often harm specific groups, particularly girls and women. In 30 countries across Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, communities perform Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), the controversial practice of intentionally harming, cutting, or mutilating the genital organs of girls and women to limit sexual autonomy, despite UN resolutions attempting to end this practice. Cultural practices such as early marriage, wherein girls are often forced to marry much older men, and dowries, which the bride’s family pays to the groom’s family, also limit the autonomy of girls and women. In addition, many cultural practices, such as encouraging girls to bear children and employing traditional rather than evidence-based modern medicine, contribute to increased maternal mortality. Lastly, some communities strongly prefer sons over daughters, reducing opportunities available to girls and women and often leading to female infanticide.


Other controversial cultural practices, such as engaging in illegal wildlife trade and ritual slaughter, can endanger animal welfare. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which nearly all UN member states have become party to since it took effect in 1975, restricts international trade in certain wild animals and plants. However, communities across the world continue to illegally hunt protected animals and traffick in animal by-products such as elephant tusks, rhinoceros horns, shark fins, pangolin scales, and manta ray gills. In 1982, the International Whaling Commission issued a moratorium on whaling except for indigenous peoples on a subsistence basis. In addition, halal and kosher food preparation, traditional practices in Islam and Judaism, have created controversy because they involve ritual slaughter that allegedly causes animals unnecessary suffering. Ritual slaughter involves reciting a prayer and slitting the animal’s throat, often without stunning the animal beforehand and therefore potentially exposing the animal to pain. Scandinavian countries, Switzerland and Australia require animals to be stunned before ritual slaughter and Slovenia has banned ritual slaughter.


This body must decide on appropriate ways to address the controversies that arise from cultural practices, including those affecting animal welfare, such as Spanish-style bullfighting, and specific groups, such as caregivers who are expected to maintain intimate contact while caring for and burying victims of diseases. At the same time, some respect must be paid to cultural norms and national sovereignty. It will be your responsibility to strike this balance.

  • avatar image
    Ben Venus November 11, 2018

    Again, my adviser told me to put my position paper in here, if this is the wrong place please let me know:
    Benjamin M. Venus
    Kalamazoo Central High School
    Social Humanitarian and Cultural (SocHum)

    Nations around the world would like to paint our current international situation as a cultural crisis, but the delegation of Russia sees it differently. The rights of indigenous peoples(1) are important as all rights are, but human rights and cultural respect are paramount. Controversial cultural and religious practices(2) are undoubtedly a human rights issue, but it is the job of the governing body of the nation that said practice took place in to deal with it. We do not have a cultural crisis in this world, rather, we have a minority who refuse to accept the changes our society has undertaken. It is one of the Russian delegation’s primary objectives to address this problem while keeping the committee aware of the human rights that all people reserve.
    Indigenous peoples do have value in this world, but the committee must keep culture in perspective. The culture surrounding indigenous peoples and communities has changed, it only makes sense that they must conform. When you immigrate to a new nation, do you keep your old culture? No. You conform to the culture around you, not completely, but enough to be an active participant and avoid practices that may be considered taboo. It is the job of indigenous peoples to conform to the culture around them in order to respect the nation they are in and to reduce the risk of being persecuted by citizens of said nation. That being said, indigenous peoples do reserve the right to freely practice cultural and religious rituals in accordance to the laws of the nation in which they reside. The nation housing previously stated peoples reserves the right to take whatever action they deem necessary in response to a committed crime. The goal of the Russian delegation is to hold indigenous peoples responsible for their own protection, and hold governments responsible for guaranteeing their protection.
    Controversial Cultural and Religious practices often impede upon the human rights of a person or peoples. It is not common that human rights are violated in the event of a controversial cultural or religious practice. Therefore, as stated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights it is the job of the governing body to handle such practices. To elaborate, it is the job of all nations to regulate and monitor cultural and religious practices within their borders in order to prevent controversial practices that can impede upon the human rights of citizens in the area. No group has the right to impede upon the human rights of a person as stated by article XXX of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the national governing body must take it into their own hands in order to insure that this article is enforced. It should be stated that all people have the freedom to surrender their human rights, if this is done in the case of a controversial cultural or religious practice a nation does not have the right to intervene as it would be in violation of article III of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The goal of the Russian delegation in this instance is to address the issue aggressively while keeping human rights in mind; holding governments accountable for enforcement.
    The delegation of Russia looks forward to debate with the committee and the creation of productive resolutions while keeping the protection of human rights in mind. Can’t wait for another great year at GLIMUN!

  • Ty77723
    Ty77723 November 13, 2018

    Tyler Cattini
    Committee: Social, Humanitarian, & Cultural Issues
    Country: Federal Republic of Somalia
    Topic: Controversial Cultural Practices

    The ending of harmful cultural practices is a very important topic to the country of Somalia. One of the prevalent controversial practices in Somalia is female genital mutilation (FGM). As of 2013, about 98% of women aged 15-45 had been affected by FGM, since then organizations like The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) have been working in Somalia to educate the people of Somalia and protect children from the dangers of FGM. Some of the things people in Somalia have been educated on include; 1. The medical effects of the practice 2. The psychological effects of the practice 3. The dangerous traditional practices that accompany FGM and 4. The cultural stigma associated with girls who are not circumcised. Since the beginning of UNICEF’s mission the total amount of women affected by FGM has decreased significantly in Eastern Africa, 71% to 8%. There are fears however that it could rise again as populations are starting to increase where FGM is more frequent. The government of Somalia has been very supportive of the efforts of organizations to stop this practice and want to make sure this support can be funded to all countries affected. Like many countries in Africa, Somalia is a relatively new developing country that simply does not have the funds itself to provide the help its people needs.

    Considering that, there are multiple questions that this committee needs to answer throughout the conference. How do we continue to fund organizations and their efforts to educate societies about dangerous and controversial cultural practices? How can we make these practices harder to achieve? How do we monitor and enforce the prevention of the practices? Also, how can we support victims of FGM and related practices?

    Any good answers to these questions will require in depth discussion and collaboration between all the countries in the committee. In order to form a good resolution regarding this topic will require answers to the above questions. A good resolution will likely increase funding to programs in order to provide more education across Africa and the Middle East on the negatives of these cultural practices. A good resolution will also not intrude a country’s sovereignty. We will also need to find ways to monitor and enforce the prevention of these practices. Country’s should implement legislation if they haven’t already making these practices illegal. This is for the safety of the people and the protection of their rights that all people should have.

    This committee provides a new opportunity to further work on issues that are important for the safety of people. This is a important issue that needs to be discussed and Somalia looks forward to that successful discussion and hopes to create solutions through effective collaboration.

  • Hannahziegler12
    Hannahziegler12 November 13, 2018

    13 November 2018
    SUBMITTED TO: Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee
    FROM: Syrian Arab Republic
    SUBJECT: Controversial Cultural Practices

    In the world today, the practical and moral integrity of cultural practices among societies is being questioned as an obstacle to growth. Throughout its long and diverse cultural history, Syria has developed a wide range of practices and peoples who invest their identities into their cultural pride. In its independent history, Syria has put forth great efforts to strike a balance between cultural practices and the establishment of a free and prosperous way of life among its society. Many notable Syrian achievements on the front of curbing cultural hindrances have been brought about in the last century, such as Syria’s Law of Personal Status, under which a man was bound to demonstrate that he could financially support two wives before marrying the second one. Additionally, Syrian divorce laws used to follow Arabic tradition, but now court proceedings are required by law, and Syria is not listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a country in which female genital mutilation has been documented as a traditional practice. Progress, no matter how small or incremental, has been gradually made over time.
    However, running counter to the hopes of Syrian progression into a society in which its people are not hindered, but helped by their cultural expectations has been the seven year long extremist uprising and threat of foreign imperial interests, which has halted all progress, including and especially that which pertains to cultural evolution, in its tracks. It is no secret that people, when involved in tempestuous and prolonged contention, often fall victim to intensified cultural norms. This expectation predates modern society in the notion that during times of conflict, rigid and goal oriented ideals are followed more closely. This gives reason to why the average Syrian marital age in the years predating the conflict was 18.2 years. However, with the rise of extremist violence that has targeted and displaced millions of Syrian peoples, the average marital age has decreased and become synonymous with asylum efforts. As an additional hindrance, the Syrian state and the Muslim religion both strictly oppose Syria’s current dowry system, but it is deeply entrenched in the family structure as a means of economic gain in the midst of warfare. Syrian women face increased discrimination among western-backed extremist opposition groups, who have imposed strict and discriminatory rules on women and girls that have no basis in Syrian law. The extremist opposition to protective Syrian armed forces has even resorted to tactics as extreme and inhumane as the ancient cultural practice of cannibalism, all while still being backed by foreign allies. With that said, the international community cannot effectively solve this issue without taking into account the domestic conditions and foreign interventions that lead to certain cultural practices losing and regaining prevalence.
    These notions inform Syria’s policy that the most significant hindrance of cultural and political development is not simply traditional cultural practices, but rather the distorted notion that all lifestyles are unacceptable if they are not readily able to be morphed into westernized imperialist ideologies. To elaborate, it is blatant hypocrisy to criticize the “controversial” cultural practices of the Syrian government while handling a humanitarian and national security crisis. This hypocrisy is prolonged due to the western imperial forces that have contributed to so many of the most dire practices that have invaded Syria during its extremist conflict, including cannibalism. Syria acknowledges the cruelty and regressiveness of certain cultural practices, such as FGM, but also emphasizes that it is unrealistic to insinuate culture as the main proprietor of sociopolitical stagnance or instability. Knowing this, the international community must recognize that the condemnation of governments is not what will bring sustainable autonomy to all peoples of all cultures. Rather, respect-based, gradual change without infringement on state sovereignty is needed.
    This committee, therefore, must consider the resounding effects of what are bound to be its most popular proposals. How can we help one another overcome the barriers to sustainable development without irreversibly alienating cultural ways of life? How do we establish state sovereignty above foreign powers whose influences perpetrate detrimental cultural practices? If this committee opts to focus on how animal wellbeing can be better protected when viewed with cultural significance, how can we hold accountable the states that create both the supply and the demand for this market? If this committee focuses on culture as it pertains to the advancement of women, how can we help sovereign states solve these issues themselves, rather than becoming reliant on westernized ideals?
    With that said, this committee’s resolution must answer these questions and achieve three things if it is to accurately and wholly address the issue of controversial cultural practices around the world today. The first is simple and effortless: we must recognize the axiomatic principle that the world does not belong to a one size fits all cultural change program. Different cultures implement and maintain practices based on a variety of factors, more than just what is morally “right” and “wrong” in the eyes of foreign adversaries. These contributors may arise from any number of grounds, including but not limited to cases like Syria, where practices have risen to combat or aid in the destruction of decades of developmental progress by extremist groups and foreign influences. The second is a shift in focus. Countries across the international community must assist one another in developing approaches to controversial cultural practices that are sustainable on a country-by-country basis and not solely contingent upon defined guidelines that will lead to political upheaval. The third is for all countries to recognize the contributions that they have made in the fostering of these practices, whether via imperial ambition or support of economic markets, states, or extremists who promote detrimental cultural practices. Above all, Syria does not want states of the international community to let self serving foreign imperial influences intrude upon their ways of life and contribute to irreversible unrest.
    All of these solutions must be founded on the principles of international cooperation and, even more importantly, the safeguarding of the standards of international law. If the work done in this committee is not rooted in the basis of mutual respect, and instead resorts to rhetoric of condemnation or blatant lack of understanding of other cultures, our time on this topic will not be effectively spent. All countries must recognize the roles that they have played in fostering and encouraging cultural practices that are harmful to societies if this committee is to find success. Syria looks forward to working toward a productive solution with this committee.

  • ClaireP
    ClaireP November 13, 2018

    Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Issues
    Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    New Zealand
    Claire Parish

    From its creation, the United Nations has focused on “promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.” However, despite its additional goal “to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character,” the countries of the UN are far from united on many issues, from FGM to bullfighting. These differences betray an oft-ignored reality: countries and people from around the world are fundamentally very different. We have different cultures, different ways of life. What is normal in one place might be horrific across a border. This is a fact the UN often has to struggle through in its attempt at a unified body. Unfortunately, cultural differences breed policy differences, and policy differences breed conflict. The UN can attempt to shape some sort of consensus, but in the end, it will always fall short. It is impossible to easily or completely rid the world of controversy. One example would be Female Genital Mutilation, FGM. The UN has taken a firm stance against it, even instigating a “Zero Tolerance for FGM” day. However, across the globe an estimated 200 million girls and women have undergone these procedures, with 3 million at risk of being added each year. Many countries have spoken out against the practice, even countries where it remains prevalent. However, culture cannot be so easily changed. In some more traditional areas of Africa and the Middle East, FGM remains a certain fate for young girls.

    New Zealand steps alongside the UN on most cultural issues. Even with recent immigration and the presence of indigenous peoples, the country retains a fairly homogenously European background. There may be little controversy over most practices in our country, but that does not mean we are unwilling to take a stance on global controversies. We have always done what we can to ensure these conflicts end with a new focus on human rights and humane action. Some examples: The country outlawed FGM in 1996. Early marriage is nearly unheard of but continues to be acted against with a law recently put in place to protect minors from forced marriages by their parents. In New Zealand, the illegal wildlife trade has been fought against and condemned for years. From elephant tusks to seahorses, nearly 10,000 specimens were seized at just one major airport in New Zealand. Even the trinkets of unknowing tourists were confiscated. In October of 2018, New Zealand attended a conference specifically discussing the trade, another step toward preventing it altogether. On other animal issues, New Zealand remains consistent: ritual slaughter was made illegal in 2010 after the realization that it caused undue harm to the creatures involved. Although New Zealand once had a prolific whaling trade, we ceased this trade in 1964, once again taking the side of humane treatment for animals around the world.

    We realize our perspective is vastly different from countries with other demographics. Nevertheless, we believe these issues are too important to let lie because of cultural differences. They are issues that shape people’s rights, futures, health, and happiness. They shape the worlds of the creatures that live alongside us, who often suffer undue pain at humanity’s every whim. With so much riding on these cultural conflicts, New Zealand will never hesitate to take a strong stance with the values that propel us forward: values of rights, equality, and freedom. We hope the United Nations will remember to do the same. These values are the foundations of the United Nations and hopefully will continue to act as an informer of its goals. Although various cultural issues should be respectfully discussed, the United Nations must remember that this is not merely a platform for discussion among countries. The UN is an organization shaped around clear goals and ideals. When an issue of cultural controversy appears, we ought not to let our own biases cloud our judgment. Instead, we should remember the words of the UN charter, the words of our organizations, and the words of the hundreds of resolutions proceeding our own. I think that as we discuss controversial cultural practices we must choose to focus not on our own culture, but instead on the culture of the United Nations as an organization. Only then can we easily come to a consensus on these practices that still plague the world. I hope the resolutions written by this committee will reflect the ideals of the United Nations, instead of individual nations within it.

  • Brookeblackwell
    Brookeblackwell November 13, 2018

    November 7th, 2018
    FROM: The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
    Subject: Controversial Cultures

    It is with great caution that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea approaches the topic of controversial cultures. Privacy and sovereignty are two values that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea hold to the highest regard. Each nation has a right to their own culture, and the United Nations must acknowledge and respect their boundaries when it comes to the way a nation conducts itself. As a Western power dominated force, the United Nations has no justified authority to dictate what cultures are acceptable or unacceptable.
    Applying the cultural norms and standards of one nation to another is simply not a fair comparison. For example, the consumption of dog meat is not an uncommon practice in the Korean region, however in Western nations such as the United States, despite being one of the largest consumers of meat as a nation, would see this cultural practice as morally unsound. Obviously, basic human rights need not be violated by the cultural practices of a nation, but this is up to that nation, and that nation alone, how they chose to address situations within their own borders. As a committee, we must focus on creating guidelines that reflect the values of all nations, not just Western nations.
    However, a resolution should be able to create an enforcement mechanism that ensures that agreements made between and among nations addressing this topic should not be violated. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea looks forward to fostering an environment of collaboration in committee and working toward a solution that respects the sovereignty of a nation and likewise promotes nations to respect one another. We seek to address a global need to provide guidelines for the global community to engage in practices such as trade without violating one another.

  • Asherlock
    Asherlock November 13, 2018

    Social Cultural Humanitarian
    Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    The Republic of South Africa
    Forest Hills Northern
    Alison Sherlock

    Controversial cultural and religious practices is a delicate topic that is of great importance to the world. All throughout history, we have been debating what practices should be allowed in our societies and that continues to this day. The Republic of South Africa would like to respect individual cultures and their right to practice what they believe in, but however, when these practices harm and endanger people and animals they should not be allowed to continue.

    One of the main issues plaguing South Africa is the virgin cleansing myth, which is a belief that having sexual intercourse with a virgin girl can cure a man of HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases. South Africa has one of the world highest rates of HIV/AIDS prevalence and thus this myth is very common and has led to increased levels of rape and the spread of HIV/AIDS. However, we believe that through an education campaign we can stop the spread and propagation of this myth.

    Ukuthwalwa is the practice of abducting girls and forcing them into marriage. This is a problem that persists in the rural parts of South Africa. The girls involved in this practice do not consent to these marriages and are often underage. The abductor often has the consent of the girl’s parents. Ukuthwalwa frequently involves rape and abuse. The empowerment of women is a key defense against Ukuthwalwa.

    In recent years there has been an increase in the poaching of endangered and threatened animals in South Africa, including elephants, rhinos, and lions. These animals may be killed in South Africa, but they do not remain there. Ivory from elephants and rhinos and bones from lions are smuggled out of Soth Africa and into Southeast Asia and China to be used as traditional medicines and trinkets. We believe that through education in Southeast Asia and China the demand for ivory and other such items can be reduced, giving no reason for criminals and poachers to kill South African animals.

    South Africa looks forward to the cooperation toward solving these problems and many others during committee.

  • Eannalieseh
    Eannalieseh November 13, 2018

    Extreme Religious Practices
    Eden A. Hodgson

    Often, religion can skew a person’s perspective of others. Occasionally, this can be a positive outlook, but more often than not it promotes the spread of hostility, slander, and targeting of specific communities for violence. The UN has attempted to diminish extreme and often harmful cultural and religious practices. Brice Dickson (CAJ) once said, “A religion, first and foremost, is a collection of beliefs.” Many people have their own belief; even if that happens to be nothing at all. That is their personal experience and outlook. The UN realizes the validity of that, however, it becomes unjust when those beliefs and experiences and outlooks are subjected in a harmful manner. The UN has taken tentative steps in order to prevent harmful subjection of religion and/cultural practices.

    For many countries, majority religion ties into and helps define culture and pride. There are many ways to display these shared beliefs, and that will vary country to country. In Thailand, there is something called the Phuket vegetarian festival. This celebrates the Chinese belief that vegetarianism in the ninth month of the lunar calendar will help them obtain good health and peace of mind. There are deep-seated religious passion and cultural heritage surrounding all aspects. Every festival, an elect few will mutilate themselves, not unlike a sacrifice of sorts. They are known as the “mah song,” and by doing this, they protect the community and ensure a year of prosperity and happiness (deflecting the pain and misfortune from the community to themselves). If the UN pursues restriction of certain religious or cultural practices, this may be outlawed, which is terribly significant to the Kingdom of Thailand. This festival and many other rites of passage are imperative to Thai culture, and restricting it would be erasure and utterly unjust.

    It is proposed by the Kingdom of Thailand that the UN in all ways protects freedom of religion and expression of identity within cultures. Though there is a certain stigma surrounding various practices, often they are meant to fulfill one’s life; and why should the government get a say in that? To put it lightly, it would be ill-advised to withhold certain practices from a country’s culture. By doing so there is the removal of identity, which is not politically correct. The UN should protect these divine rights by allowing the continuation of select practices.

  • Jackson_Wicka
    Jackson_Wicka November 13, 2018

    Date 11/8/18
    Submitted to : SOCHUM
    From : Ethiopia
    Subject : Controversial Cultures

    The question that the delegation of Ethiopia wants to ask it who is the one to decide what cultures and practices are controversial. There’s a clear bias when it comes to the question of what is controversial too many different nations this can mean many different things so it is very tricky to you set an actual definition on what controversial cultures actually are. Set an actual definition on what controversial cultures actually are. Something a country in the Middle East might find controversial will be different than when a country in the west might on controversial.It is important to practice sovereignty of nations and not to try to encroach on what their cultures are such as nations did during the age of imperialism. The nation of Ethiopia stood as a nation which would not be taking over. When the nation was eventually taken over by the Italians in 1937. the Italians did their best to destroy The cultural and religious traditions of our nation they thought our customs are barbaric The cultural and religious traditions of our nation I thought our customer barbaric. The goal of this committee should not be ban or prohibit cultural and religious practices but to protect them. Sense the definition of controversial culture is so broad we must also try our best to not define them in the center of alienate other nations since the definition of controversial culture is so broad wheels also try our best to not defined them to not alienate other nations.

    In our nation the courts rule under sharia law such as many other Islamic nations we rule based on Islamic law which other nations have called barbaric. Sharia courts have jurisdiction under cases regarding marriage, divorce, maintenance, guard guardianship of minors only if both parties are Muslim, also cases including gifts, succession, or wills, provide the daughter is Muslim or deceased was a Muslim. So those who live as Muslims in our nation makes a personal choice to live under the sharia courts since the court only have jurisdiction to Muslims we encourages the united nations and our committee do not hinder these courts because those who are under the court jurisdiction have decided to. Under no circumstances should this committee try to limit religious practice as I’ll be a human rights violation to try and limit their religious expression just because it is not here to Western standard of culture. In the west these courts have been criticized because of the ruling’s strict adherence towards Islamic law but that is what the religion believes so the coach will follow what the Quran says.

    Another thing which is caused such a controversy is our nation’s meat consumption practices. The consumption of animal flesh food in Ethiopia is a cultural practice and it’s symbolic wait is marked higher than any other food in the nation. All of the major religions in Ethiopia have their own special doctrines regarding the consumption of meat. While the majority religion ( Christians ) do not do animal sacrifice. We must protect the right of the Islamic faith to to do animal sacrifice particularly goats because that is specifically in their religion. Like stated above is a strict important that we protect the religious and cultural rights of groups.While we have protected most religious actions when the elders of the Cara trib while we have protected most religious actions when the elders of the Kara tribe Sent children off to die in a river Hey small band of Christian tribes with the support of most Christians came together to stop and protect these children. While our nation does believe in protecting the religious rights of people we also need to make sure they’re appropriate actions can be taken when they step over the line. As to not to incoutch our national sovereignty we must direct the nations to take action themselves not as a committee.

    Any resolution that we do put out must protect the rights of groups practice their religion how they may wish as you protect the cultural conditions in the nation. another thing that a resolution must do is provide protections to religions from being persecuted by any regulations. Our committee must not have a resolution which might try and force a nation to adhere to a western style of culture and destroy the religious and cultural values of said nation. As well it resolution must not promote a secular agenda in where it discourages religious practices citing that they are barbaric.

    In conclusion the nations of Ethiopia the best for our committee and has optimism that our committee will have a open mind when it comes to this topic and that our work will be fruitful in protect religious freedom. As well as protect national sovereignty. The nation of Ethiopia is excited to continue the work of promoting a positive image for the nation and to show the world we are as worth as much as any other nation . Though our struggle we show a path forward . Ethiopia is optimistic about our committees work and looks forward to it .

  • Markw0926
    Markw0926 November 13, 2018

    Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee
    Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    Mark Wassink

    Cultural practices and religious practices are highly valued in Sudan, given our demographic makeup. While religious practices have been discussed as violent or out of place in society, Sudan recognizes the necessity of these arguments in creating a healthier, less violent society. Sudan wishes for the committee to strike the balance between practices that cause violence and respecting sovereignty among nations. Sudan recognizes that uplifting certain cultural practices can do more good than harm for the uprising that may occur as a result. Sudan, however, wishes for the UN to uphold principles of national sovereignty and allow for the freedom to practice religion freely. While Sudan recognizes that certain issues may be controversial, Sudan wishes for governments to address their own issues.

    Sudan attempts to address its conflicts through its own means. While Sudan wishes that it is possible to address religious conflicts and secondary conflicts about human rights and problems, Sudan believes that religion takes precedence over secondary issues not related to religion. The UN does not have the right to infringe on the freedom of our country, and they do not have the right to override national sovereignty. Because of this, Sudan prefers to solve their own issues and wishes for other countries to uphold their national sovereignty in order to solve their domestic problems. Sudan acknowledges that broad, overreaching solutions cannot be used to solve problems that are unique to each country and region. Sudan, so far, has made strides to help those of other cultures while keeping in mind the needs of the dominant cultures. The complexity of issues makes cultural and religious issues of great importance in Sudan.

    The ultimate goal for the committee should be to uphold national sovereignty, and the committee should not make broad, overreaching resolutions in regards to cultural and religious practices. Each country should examine its cultural and religious issues by themselves. Broad, overreaching resolutions are harmful to certain countries if not issued in regards to their social and religious climate. In Sudan’s case, a sweeping resolution would be damaging to the overall health and stability of the country.

  • Gabegoudreau
    Gabegoudreau November 13, 2018

    Country: Israel
    Committee: Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Issues
    Topic: Controversial Culture and Religious Practices
    Delegate: Gabe Goudreau
    School: Williamston High School

    Many cultures across the world experience clashes resulting in violence, and on a global scale culture and religion can divide us or unify us. In different places, some cultures and religions interact with each other differently, these practices are controversial because each side of different cultures view each other in a different way and are perceived in different ways. This provokes a need for some a resolution to this problem. Some examples of cultural and religious conflicts are; religious wars, persecution of ethnic or religious groups, and finally; social and economic inequalities. Throughout the world, this problem occurs.

    Israel has always known the aspects and outcomes of clashing cultures and different religions. Since Israel is home to the Holy City Jerusalem, we do experience a strained relationship between Muslims, Jews, and Christians, as well as different ethnic groups like Palestinians, Arabs, and Bedouins. Events like the killings at the Gaza strip shows that we have a problem with culture, mainly with Israelis and Palestinians. Along with this, we have problems in our school systems with different students from these unique backgrounds have to be taught outdated, and ever-changing materials.

    As a very culturally diverse country, we are looking to solve these problems while protecting the majority Israeli Jewish population. We have been condemned for our methods of managing the Gaza strip by the international community, but Israel looks forward to working past this obstacle. In terms of the Gaza Strip situation, Israel wants to work in accordance with the Hamas, who are governing the region under Islamic law. We ask for the support, and for suggestions for this growing problem from the international community, in order to retain our diverse nation.

  • Harrison-Powell
    Harrison-Powell November 13, 2018

    Country: Bangladesh
    Topic: Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    Delegate: Harrison Powell
    Committee: SOCHUM
    School: Williamston High School

    All over the world people partake in practices that they believe are socially acceptable, but aren’t socially acceptable to most other people. Examples of non-acceptable practices include partaking in radical jihadism or accepting racism and using it to harm others. In the Middle East radical jihadism is a large problem that is mainly caused by the terrorist group ISIS. ISIS has created harm all over the world and in the Middle East and they justify it in the name of their religion. This is controversial because it is harming people all around the world. Another form of controversial practices are child marriages. Child marriages happen all over the world specifically in African tribal areas. These practices are performed almost every day around the world. This matters because not every person in the world is given freedom and if practices like these are stopped then we will be closer to universal freedom for every person.

    Bangladesh is ninety percent muslim country, but it allows people of all creeds to practice their religion. Religious practices there are not anything harmful to any person or thing in the country. Bangladesh agrees that action needs to be taken against violent practices such as radical jihadism. Bangladesh agrees with Security Councils within the UN and their positions on terrorism and violence classified as a religious manner. Bangladesh also agrees with any action the UN does to prevent harmful practices around the world.

    Bangladesh agrees with any action that the UN makes to prevent harmful practices that hurt or kill people and take away their freedoms. Bangladesh believes that every human should have a right to freedom and should not be harmed through a practice or religion. Bangladesh does believe the UN should be able to intervene on any country that infringes up human freedom and harms people who support it. The UN believes in human freedom and any country that agrees with that will agree with Bangladesh.

  • Elenaluna
    Elenaluna November 13, 2018

    COUNTRY: People’s Republic of China
    TOPIC: Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    NAME: Elena Sofía Luna Palacio
    SCHOOL: Colegio Olinca

    The People’s Republic of China is known for having a culture filled with what is seen as controversial around the world.

    Since 1979, the government of China implemented the One Child Policy, which allowed, as its name implies, each family to have a single offspring. If not, punishments such as reduced wages and denying certain services were implemented. Moreover, this law was created with the objective of providing a better quality life and to ensure that the country would have enough resources for everyone.

    As a result, female infanticide, which means killing female babies mainly because of financial reasons, started to happen. Normally having a girl is seen more as a burden than anything else. Males usually have a better income. Their parents know that they will take care of them economically when they grow old. In addition, in certain areas, the bride’s family is forced to pay dowry when she gets married, creating a financial problem for them.

    As a result of this, nowadays China has one of the biggest differences in the male-female ratio; hence it was forced to get rid of the One Child Policy allowing a second child for each family. The country of China still faces this problematic, which has led to the banning of the usage of advanced technology that lets you to know the sex of the fetus and decide his or her future.

    Another matter that is of international concern is the consumption of dog meat and a festival that revolves around it. The “Yulin dog meat festival” is a celebration that lasts 10 days in which more than 10,000 dogs are eaten. According to ancient beliefs and folklore, eating it will bring you luck and good health, but it is said that the animals are slaughtered inhumanely and without the proper hygienic regulations.

    In addition to these, other animal have become endangered species because of its massive consumption. As an example we can mention puffer fish, an exotic animal found in Chinese gastronomy. Because of China’s highly effective fishing methods they are now in danger of extinction. Another example is the tiger, which used to be hunted in order to use its bones as medicine. This is thought to be one of the main reasons of its decreased population.

    China believes that all the practices should have a legal framework, but because they are part of the nation’s culture, they must be handled internally.

  • Luke.jaworsky
    Luke.jaworsky November 13, 2018

    Country: Brazil
    Committee: SocHum
    School: Williamston High School
    Topic: Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    Delegate: Luke Jaworsky

    Controversial cultural and religious practices have existed for thousands of years and it has become increasingly more apparent in recent years that some of these practices must have limits. Many horrible acts have been committed by people in the name of tradition. Young females are married off when they are young and are often genitally mutilated. Other issues revolve around unsafe medical practices and sacrifice of animals along with the illegal sale of exotic animals and products such as Ivory.
    Brazil has a mix of cultures and religions within its country mainly revolving around christianity and Catholicism. Within the last forty years in Brazil’s history, our major religions within the country have changed from mostly Catholic to a string of other religions including Protestant denominations. But for all of these changes we do not agree with unsafe religious and cultural practices such as brutality against women.
    Brazil would like to see many countries with rational thinking help to create a compromise between nations that participate in these traditional practices. This would all be in the name of progress so that we can create a safe environment for those that are harmed by these practices and to stop the illegal sale of animals, but at the same time not eliminating the culture altogether.

  • avatar image
    Dane Webb November 13, 2018

    Country: DR Congo
    Committee: Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Issues
    Topic: Controversial Culture and Religious Practices
    Delegate: Dane Webb
    School: Williamston High School

    The problem that religious practices and their extent has caused, is immense. The DR Congo respects freedom of religion and its extent. The religion in the DR Congo is quite is relatively varied. About 50 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, 20 percent is Protestant, 10 percent is kimbanguist and another 10 percent is Muslim. There are also small religious groups like Mormons and jehovah’s witnesses who make up the rest. Many of these religious groups in the DR Congo are split by region amongst its provinces and divided by land. Discrimination does take place but it is not as severe as some other countries. However, the line between freedom of religion and a harmful religious topic is a fine one. It is there however, and must be dealt with. There has to be some restraints on religion as it continues to harm people to this day. For example, ritual slaughter is still used in some religions to this day. This is involuntary manslaughter and is appalling. As such, some restrictions must be put on what extent of power religion has over legal and moral actions. This is tricky however, as to step on freedom of religion would be very bad. As such, the DR recommends some basic restrictions on religion to begin with. Things that are very easy and that everybody can agree on, and as time goes on, make the restrictions more in-depth. This would be to not upset the people and have a gradual change as to not completely isolate religion from many governments. In all, this problem is a very big, yet nuanced one, and must be handled with care using gradual change.

  • Oliviacarpenter
    Oliviacarpenter November 13, 2018

    Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Issues
    Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    The Kingdom of Norway
    Olivia Carpenter

    A fine line currently exists between the freedom of religion and violence against women, girls, and children due to extreme religious and cultural practices. Globally, girls are selected away before they are even born, are forced to marry young, are attacked and have to endure female genital mutilation. More than 500 million women and girls could be affected by these traditional and violent practices around the world. The Kingdom of Norway, although a secular country, stands fully behind the rights of humans, and religious and cultural practices should not be a way of denying women and girls their basic human rights.

    The Kingdom of Norway has implemented the Action Plan Against Forced Marriage, Female Genital Mutilation and Severe Restrictions on Young People’s Freedom plan in order to prioritize the ending of violent religious and cultural practices against women and girls. Additionally, the Kingdom of Norway believes that it is essential for more knowledge, more urgency, and more policy regarding sexual education and violence all around the world. Religious and cultural practices are no excuse for the violence inflicted upon women and girls around the world.

    Norway urges a comprehensive resolution that promotes increased sexual education, increased measures against violent practices such as FGM, and increased responsibility of these religious and cultural groups who inflict violence on women and girls. The body should respect a country’s religion and sovereignty, but only until it is no longer peaceful and the fate of a woman’s body is no longer in her hands. The rights of humans are of upmost importance regarding this issue, not of violent religious and cultural traditions.

  • Ethan
    Ethan November 13, 2018

    Country: Republic of Moldova
    Committee: SOCHUM
    School: Williamston High School
    Topic: Controversial Cultural and Religious practices
    Delegate: Ethan Briggs

    Throughout time, many religious groups have come together, and come apart. These groups have built some of the largest things we see in our lives today, while also helping push society to the point it is at right now. Many of the cultural and religious groups today trace their origins back to the thousands of groups that existed in the past. However, this does not mean that they have the same ideals and truths of the past. Many of these groups have serious ideals, and do things that most of society considers evil and wrong. Some of these things are self-harm, animal sacrifices, and many more cruel and unusual practices. These groups also have thoughts that conflict with what much of society believes. Even more of these groups are extremist, and have turned to means of harm to promote their ideals. We must do something about these groups, but also be fair to those that adhere to the codes of society.
    In the past, Moldova has done much to deal with the many cultural and religious groups that have questionable motives and practices. One of the biggest threats is the many groups that aim to attack the many Orthodox Christians we have. Being the largest religion in our country, many groups target it as it will affect the most people. The orthodox christians in our country work very well will our police force, helping us grow our communities and societies. One of the main groups that we have found to be an issue is the Muslim population. While they pose no immediate harm, the religious differences between the Orthodox and the Muslims have caused what many have called ‘unfair’ arrests. We believe these arresets are justified, as many of them that were entering our country from the Romanian border did not have the correct credentials to cross. Other groups have started to practice the sacrifice of animals such as lambs, which has angered the Orthodox part of our country, as many of them take up farming as an occupation. We have tried our best to keep the many groups for fighting, but due to our poor economy, we have not’ been able to do much.
    Moldova would like to see a push for more restrictions on what, where, and when these different groups can practice their traditions. This is not a call for complete control over their religion; rather, a call to make sure that religion does not begin to retake politics in Europe. Moldova would also like to see a push for more mainstream religions, while also restricting how much these rouge groups can spread their message. Many groups get their message out through videos, and restricting what can go on those videos would greatly help halt how much influence these religious groups have over people. All of these things Moldova would love to see in a resolution,, and believe it could help make religions safer to all.

  • YourLordGeorge
    YourLordGeorge November 13, 2018

    Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    George Khamis

    Controversial cultural and religious practices remain a crucial topic in the world. The protection of women autonomy and animal wildlife are important problems that demand a resolution. The UN has made the practice of disabling women and endangered species hunting. However, controversial cultural practices still occur in over 30 countries across Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia and the Western Hemisphere. The controversial practice of intentionally harming, cutting, or mutilating the genital organs of girls and women is an imminent danger to the autonomy of women and maternal survival rates. BBC conducted a research on women in Europe and the Middle East and found that 10,000 girls are believed to be at risk from illegal operations within their own communities. Other controversial cultural practices, such as engaging in illegal wildlife trade and ritual slaughter, can endanger animal welfare. Craig Johnson, a leader of the UK Animal Welfare Council, found that animals endure stunning and extreme pain during ritual sacrifices, which tortures the animal and causes an inhumane death. Controversial practices such as those listed can lead to endangered species populations and cause animal suffering. These two topics remain crucial societal problems that our Social, Humanitarian and Cultural committee must address. In order for the United Nations to cease inhumane cultural practices, the United Nations must distinctly differentiate illegal practices and cultural practices to abolish the civil injustice placed on specific groups and animals.

    As a country that established CAT(Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment) and ICCPR(International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights), Uruguay is determined to end the discriminating factors held against its women and animals. Jose Mujica, the president of Uruguay, told the UN, “It is possible to have a world with better humanity, but perhaps today the first task is to save lives.” Uruguay strongly believes that the new laws play a key role in saving women and animals lives and to protect the world’s most important conservation zones, in recognition of the animal hunting and absurd women incision. Uruguay has declared its constitution supreme law and protects the rights and liberties of all its people and animals. Uruguay ceased most of the controversial practices done on women and the hunting and injuring of animals. It is predominant to the rights and well-being of women and animals to maintain a strong infrastructure to maintain a safe and healthy society in which animals and women can leave free of torture.

    Uruguay proposes that the United Nations rule controversial practices illegal, such as the mutilation of women anatomy. Uruguay wholeheartedly believes that all people have the right to be healthy and safe, and it is up to the UN to create a definitive line to maintain this. Uruguay further believes that more international laws such as the CAT and ICCPR should be put in place to protect and uphold the rights of women and animals. These laws are imperative to continue the fight against women and animal oppression. Uruguay recommends and encourages a resolution that protects women’s rights, animals welfare and safety, so in result, the new resolution will terminate injustices placed on these peoples and ultimately provide a more unifying and globally accepting world.

  • avatar image
    Eli Duguid November 13, 2018

    Committee: SocHum
    Topic: Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    Country: Germany

    Since the development of the United Nations, the United Nations has attempted to solve problems regarding social and cultural rights, as well as provide human rights to all people regardless of race, sex, language, or religion. The ability for these rights to spread has been handicapped by certain cultural or religious practices that threaten gender equality and public health. Examples of these practices include, female genital mutilation, and early childhood marriage,which infringe on female rights, and threaten public health and safety. While Germany greatly promotes culture and religion in our nation, there must be a line drawn when an individual or a group of individuals’ health and livelihood is at stake.

    In Germany, laws have been passed to stop female genital mutilation and childhood marriage, which are infringing on young women’s basic rights. Germany feels that this legislation is important to promote women’s rights and provide safety to women, who are at high risk of being injured or killed during these illegal procedures. Since this legislation has been passed, many incoming refugees who were once involved in these practices, have been provided safety and well-being from these harsh practices. The UN has worked hard to address these issues by adopting plans to protect women’s rights regarding childhood marriage and Gender mutilation. The resolution on Child Early and Forced Marriage, is a resolution that has attempted to stop the marriage of young children, and sees this practice as a violation of human rights. This resolution has helped the German people to understand that the marriage of young children is a violation of human rights, and combined with domestic policy has led to a drop in the number of children that that have been illegally wedded.

    Germany suggests that we adopt a plan that will demote cultural practices that could potentially pose harm to an individual or group of people, by informing the populations of the risk posed by these practices. Germany is a member of the European Union, as well as human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International. Germany is looking forward to working with any nation willing to provide an adequate resolution at hand.

  • Matthewwedeven
    Matthewwedeven November 13, 2018

    Social Humanitarian Cultural Committee
    Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    Matthew Wedeven

    Religious and cultural practices are and have always been embedded in society and adapt as ideals and beliefs change. In 1975, the United Nations established a list of goals pleading for countries to cooperate with the western praised cultural and religious practices in order to achieve recognition as a humanitarian country. As Islam is the reigning religion in Kuwait, the people of Kuwait practice customs and culture to their fullest extent; therefore, they greatly refuse the plea offered by the United Nations. A group of wealthy, powerful, reigning nations should not have the power to levy the suppression of the culture or religion, the domestic government or religious group as a whole does; therefore, it is of utmost importance that the United Nations address this topic to resolve the unfair treatment of nations lacking the power that P5 countries hold.

    Since Kuwait’s independence in 1961, the country has grown as a whole. Divorce is permitted to women, the legal marriage age between women and men has been raised, children go to mothers in divorce, and domestic abuse cases are being permitted more frequently. Kuwait has allowed leniency on religious practices and customs, however, the boundaries must not be overreached. Although Kuwait respects the nation’s desires around the world, when they infringe on Kuwaiti culture and attempt to regulate the customs of a religion, that is where a barrier is established. Kuwait takes full insult and disrespect to its culture and religion of Islam over the attempt to regulate and control aspects of our historical Kuwait’s historical culture.

    Although certain practices such as poaching for animals holds a need for regulation as it is a worldly issue, infringement on religious practices should not be permitted by the United Nations due to the diversity of religions and historical clashes due to opposing cultural perspectives. People of Islam are not to regulate people of Christianity, likewise, people of Christianity are not to regulate people of Islam. In order to resolve the uprising issue, the resolution established by the SocHum committee must not infringe on cultural practices tied to specific religions. The United Nations was established to resolve issues impacting the rest of the world; therefore, religious and cultural practices deemed controversial by powerful western nations – that only impact the domestic territory – should not be under inspection.

  • AbbyVan
    AbbyVan November 14, 2018

    Country: India
    Committee: SOCHUM
    Topic: Controversial Cultural Practices
    School: Royal Oak High School
    Delegate: Abigail VanHaitsma

    India is a nation that has existed for over 50 years, so it is no secret that the country is filled with a variety of traditions and customs, some even dating back to before India was officially a recognized country. For that reason, India is a firm believer that this body should not prohibit any nation from practicing customs, rituals, etc that have been rooted in their culture for many years.
    Any country that is as rich in cultural diversity and history as India knows how important these ancient traditions are to maintaining a well-balanced society. One nation should not be allowed to dictate what practices are acceptable in another. To try and take these age-old values out of a society should certainly not be allowed. In India, there are over 20 different cultural groups, and it would not be just to say that one culture’s practices are acceptable and a different group’s are not. It could be understandable to see how one nation might not completely agree with the traditions of another nation, but that should not mean they can try to ban those traditions just because they do not agree with them.
    That being said, there are still some items that need to be discussed and resolved if we are to go forward. The first is that of illegal wildlife trading. India sees this not so much as a traditional practice, but as a crime. Unfortunately, the numbers of animal trading has been in the rise in India, but that also means that the government has been working harder to ensure harsher regulation and laws prohibiting it. However, one nation alone cannot stop this. This worldwide problem requires the attention of all nations, so that we can work together to find a solution. India believes that the illegal trade of animals, no matter the animal, should be outlawed in all countries, as this practice is simply a danger to our wildlife population. To that idea as well, there needs to be a limitation put on the practice of animal sacrifice. India has recently put limitations on cruel and excessive animal slaughter, even though it has been a cultural practice for many years. This does not mean that the practice of ritual slaughter needs to be completely erased, only that there needs to be some modern limits, such as including the use of modern medicine.
    Another item for discussion should be the allowance of all other cultural practices. If we are to ensure that the different groups inside of one country can have equal freedom to practice their traditions, then we must agree on the level that we will allow this. Again, India highly recommends that nations allow all groups to practice their traditions freely, and would encourage all other attending nations to agree as well.
    It is impossible to restrict and limit every cultural group from exercising and celebrating their cultural practices. If we are to say that our own people cannot practice what they wish, then we are taking away part of their culture’s history. We as a body cannot allow this to happen.

  • Cwilliams160
    Cwilliams160 November 14, 2018

    Protecting the rights of Indigenous People
    Connor Williams

    Controversial cultural and religious practices are a recurring problem in the world today. There must be something done to protect the general public from some of these radical views going violent, they have the right to believe in whatever they want to, so long as they do not harm or harass any other person with these beliefs.

    In Nigeria there is a group to the north called Boko Haram. They are a group of individuals in the northern part of Nigeria with the goal to bring justice and the islamization to Nigeria. This group has also declared its allegiance to the Islamic State (IS). This group has taken part in many violent acts in Nigeria from random bombings to targeted attacks against Nigerian government officials. They also kidnapped 276 girls from a boarding school near Borno and threatened to sell them with the belief that girls should not be educated, in fact in the local dialect “Boko Haram” translates to Western Education is Forbidden. This type of violence and mistreatment of young girls is just not acceptable in Nigeria. While Nigeria does respect the multitudes of cultures in its country, it will not stand for any violence against its government and it’s people in order to promote their religious views. The UN should highly consider that although these groups have rights to protect their views, they must also respect the views of others and that the happiness and safety of all people matter.

    Nigeria is in favor of putting in place regulations on these controversial cultural and religious practices. But we must keep in mind the fact that every person has the right to believe in what they want and be able to express these beliefs in a PEACEFUL matter. Nigeria has many different cultures and beliefs in our country and we respect every single one that does so in a peaceful matter. Morals can be seen as subjective but there are widely accepted moral beliefs that everyone respects. The peace and happiness of one person shouldn’t be infringed based on what one person believes is the right thing to do.

  • Lucas-Ca
    Lucas-Ca November 14, 2018

    Camden Lucas
    Commonwealth of Australia
    City High Middle Scool

    Dietary restrictions such as the requirements of Halal and Kosher foods are mentioned in the prompt. These are religious specifications of Islam and Judaism respectively, and part of them detail the way in which animals must be slaughtered. Shechita is the Jewish process of cutting an animal’s neck with a very sharp knife and with one swift movement, severing the oesophagus, the trachea, carotid arteries and jugular veins.¹ The animal typically dies of a form of hypoxia, as opposed to the blood loss that it is commonly attributed to.² Some activist groups oppose the practice of shechita on the grounds that they believe animals should not be left to die of blood loss.² Australian meat production laws state that animals must be stunned(unconscious) before slaughter. There are eight abattoirs with exemption to these laws for the purposes of kosher meat production. For cows they are required to stun cows post-cut. This is not a requirement for sheep.¹ The exemptions are also used to produce Halal meat, however in Australia for Halal stunning is permitted as long as it is done in a reversible method.³

    In Australia, female genital mutilation is a criminal offence in all states and territories, as is removing a child from Australia for the purposes of such.⁴ In a 2018 report it has been claimed that 252% more women have been victims and 367% more girls born have been at high risk of such since 2014.⁵ In 2015, Queensland, a couple was charged with such a crime for the first time, allegedly having been brought to Africa in order to have the procedure done. The case was heard on the 20th of May, 2018.⁶

    From these instances I am reading that Australia is against the more damaging controversial practices but willing to work with those that are more humane.

    Endnotes and Bibliography:

  • SerenaUAE
    SerenaUAE November 14, 2018

    Committee: Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee (socHum)
    Topic: Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    Country: United Arab Emirates (UAE)
    Delegate: Serena Ahmad

    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the General Assembly, has served as guiding principles on human rights and fundamental freedoms in the constitutions and laws of many of the Member States of the United Nations. It recognizes equality before the law and equal protection against any discrimination in violation of the Declaration. While the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women reaffirm the equality of human rights for men and women in society and in the family, there are some concerns regarding harmful cultural practices, which not only affect human men and women, but can also affect animal welfare. Traditional cultural practices reflect values and beliefs held by members of a community, which can often date back to many generations ago. Some of these cultural practices are beneficial to all members included, but some can be detrimental and even violate international human rights laws. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women “obliges States parties to take action against the social causes of women’s inequality; and it calls for elimination of laws, stereotypes, practices and prejudices that impair women’s well-being.” Despite this, such practices continue because they are not questioned or are excused by posing morality in the eyes of those practicing them.

    The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is determined to make a positive difference at the global level by working constructively to support the implementation of the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.The UAE also places a high priority on respect for human rights in accordance with international human rights standards, and is committed to the continual improvement of its own laws and practices, which, despite improving, are still in desperate need of assistance. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has shed light on the suppression of freedom of expression in this Emirati state. Women’s opinions are suppressed when it comes to certain cultural traditions in their families. Families in the UAE still practice female circumcision due to tribal traditions, but experts consider the practice medically and psychologically harmful to women. Such a harmful tradition could be placing too much psychological stress and trauma on women, resulting in suicide, inflicting bodily harm, or depression.

    Despite being banned in hospitals, female circumcision is still being performed in other health facilities, and a clarification is needed on the legality of female circumcision in the country. “Even if the simplest female circumcision is beneficial to men,” Dr. Ahmed Al Qubaisi, former president of the Department of Islamic Studies at the University of Baghdad, says, “we should not forget that it may harm the girl physically and psychologically and in Islam we are not allowed to favour one party over the other.” The UAE calls upon the international community to join an effort working towards bringing an end to this fatal tradition. It is planned for a resolution be created amongst several countries to increase awareness and inform citizens of the disadvantages of not only female circumcision, but also other harmful traditions negatively impacting animal welfare and other suppression issues, while still paying respect to cultural norms and national sovereignty. It is also intended to discuss attempts to increase freedom of expression in resolutions drafted.

  • E.l.i.z._44
    E.l.i.z._44 November 14, 2018

    Committee: SocHum
    Topic: Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    Country: Republic of Singapore
    Delegate: Elizabeth Vredevelt

    Freedom of religion is much discussed topic among nations and on the world stage. The question often becomes at what point should countries draw the line between total freedom of religion and maintaining the right to ban or still hold accountable to law cultural and religious practices that have the potential to harm. From child marriages to cults.
    Singapore not only supports freedom of religion, but we embrace our widely diverse heritage and religious backgrounds. However, we feel the government’s first priority should be to maintain racial and religious harmony, and therefore the right to censor and control religions and cults with practices that disturb the peace or forbid mandatory military service, which is required by all able males to maintain national and international peace. In addition we recognize the power of inflammatory portrayal of religion in print and speech to incite discord, and feel it necessary to take actions of censorship when needed.
    In 1972, we were forced to ban the activities of Jehovah’s witnesses as their teachings defied state laws and showed disloyalty to our nation. The Unification church, a potential cult was also a threat to public welfare and has had, for the people’s best interests, their rights to worship terminated since 1982. All other cultural and religious practices are welcome so long as they abide peacefully with others. Singaporeans recognize our policies of all races and groups living in harmony as essential for order and prosperity, and infractions of this rule may be dealt with as we deem fit.

  • LukeWassink
    LukeWassink November 14, 2018

    Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    Luke Wassink

    Controversial cultural and religious practices have been a part of important discussions for a long period of time. Oftentimes under the name of freedom of religion, it is hard to address these practices without preventing the free expression of religion, and considering how it’s out of the scope of the UN to address such, the issue has become increasingly complex. Ukraine has seen various religions practiced within its borders, and has freedom of speech ingrained in its constitution. Despite this, Ukraine would be concerned if practices that countries in its region practice were practiced in Ukraine. Specifically, Ukraine notes the practice of female genital mutilation and gender inequality as religious and cultural issues. It is strongly opposed to such practices as well, as these practices infringe upon the rights and autonomy of young women. Ukraine sees this as a very large issue that must be fixed while maintaining a balance between national sovereignty and freedom.

    The absence of large fundamentalist groups has prevented much religious controversy in the region of Ukraine. Orthodox Christianity has flourished in Ukraine, which has in large part displaced much strife that fills religious and cultural vacuums. The role of specific religions in the issue has been largely ignored in an era careful to not be discriminatory. The reluctance to address this issue has, in large part, inhibited the United Nations from adopting resolutions on the issue. The radicalization of Islam and the very traditionalist culture of Hinduism has been largely at fault for the most egregious cases of human rights abuses under the protection of religious freedom. While other cultures often result in environmental damage, this pales in comparison to the atrocities committed throughout the Middle East and India. Ukraine believes it should be the focus of the committee to first address human rights abuses, then the environment.

    Ukraine urges the committee to address the role that religious fundamentalism and traditionalism play in the development of controversial cultural and religious practices. Furthermore, Ukraine implores the committee to identify the role fundamentalism plays in these controversial religious practices. Ukraine urges the committee not to punish the expression of religion, granted that the expression of religion does not infringe on the rights of humans. Contrastingly, it encourages the committee to address controversial religious practices that affect human rights.

  • Taegan
    Taegan November 14, 2018

    Social, Cultural, Humanitarian Committee
    Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    Taegan Long

    In the first article of the UN Charter, the principles of equal rights and self-determination, as well as human rights, are addressed as problems that require cooperation and friendly relations; however, controversial cultural and religious practices have run counter to many attempts made by the UN to improve gender equality, public health, and biodiversity. As many traditions have been established before the creation of the UN, it has remained difficult to pass resolutions to combat the discriminatory nature of some of these traditions as it is seen as infringing on national sovereignty. Often times, countries use traditional values to undermine human rights, which is the case in Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian, and African countries, where they limit women’s and girls’ sexual autonomy through female genital mutilation (FGM) in addition to child and forced marriages. Cultural and religious practices, such as ritual slaughter, bullfighting, and illegal wildlife trade are under fire as they can endanger animal welfare. Organizations, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), have tried to restrict international trade of wildlife, but communities continue to illegally hunt protected wildlife and trade animal by-products. The UN is called upon to create a resolution that both protects the people and animal welfare of differing countries, but also does not infringe on the national sovereignty of the people.

    With an extensive culture of bullfighting, the issue of controversial cultural and religious practices remains an important topic for Mexico. Mexico is one of the few remaining countries where bullfighting is still legal and still practiced, with the largest bullfighting ring in the world residing in Mexico City. The culture of bullfighting in Mexico is a tradition that has withstood 500 years. Although it is a culture deeply rooted in our society, we acknowledge that it is an issue in our country, that is both unnecessary and uncivilized. The issue of animal welfare is divided in Mexico between traditionalists who view bullfighting as an art form and the newer generations that believe it to be a cruel and outdated ritual. In 2013, Sonora became the first Mexican state to ban bullfights. The states of Guerrero and Coahuila followed suit in 2014 and 2015. In 2018, a new bill was introduced to Mexico City Congress by The Humane Society that would ban any spectacle of animal abuse and killing, including bullfighting. According to Parametría, a leading polling agency in Mexico, 73 percent of Mexicans support a nationwide ban on bullfighting. As a country, we are moving away from bullfighting in different regions of Mexico, While the national government recognizes the unnecessary suffering of animals during bullfights and has passed laws that protect against animal cruelty, Mexico is a federation, which allows states to have control of their own legislation and limits the control the Mexican government has on imposing restrictions and bans on animal welfare issues. On an international level, however, Mexico is on the standing committee for the CITES organization. Along with Senegal and Sri Lanka, Mexico plans to sponsor proposals that would protect both species of Mako shark on Appendix II, to ensure that any continued trade remains sustainable and legal.

    In the issue of violating human rights, Mexico encourages countries to reinforce Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 and SDG 5.3. Goal 5 aims to achieve gender equality, as well as empower all women and girls. Goal 5.3 goes into further detail as to try and eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early, and forced marriage and FGM in order to protect the rights of women and girls in rural areas. Mexico also urges other nations to support the draft resolution “Improvement of the Situation of Women and Girls in Rural Areas”, which strives to provide rural women and girls with education, access to quality health care services, and economic opportunity. However, we would like there to be a reference to reproductive and sexual rights in the draft resolution. On the issue of animal welfare, Mexico supports the CITES organization, as it remains one of the world’s most powerful tools for wildlife conservation through the regulation of trade.

  • JoshuaMuldoon
    JoshuaMuldoon November 14, 2018

    Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Issues

    Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices


    Joshua Muldoon

    Cultural and religious practices are far from important issues such as climate change that we should be focusing on more specifically. Pakistan believes that the issue of cultural and religious practices controversies should be left for the individual countries to deal with, as countries national sovereignty is more important than a few controversial issues. Pakistan believes that religious and cultural traditions and practices should be kept sacred and remain in place, as our religion and culture is everything in our society. Pakistan believes that the issues at hand are far more important than dealing with separate nations religious traditions and cultures.

    Pakistan believes that religion and culture are everything in our society, and the UN has no right to infringe upon our ability to determine what our religion practices and what it does not. Pakistan deeply believes in the issue of national sovereignty, and the UN has no right to compel Pakistan into changing their cultural ways of life. Pakistan’s national religion is islam and over 97% of the country practice this religion, and because of establishing a national religion, Pakistan is able to determine what laws and practices would infringe upon our religion, which is why Pakistan has chosen not to address this non-issue on a national and international level. Pakistan stands by religious freedom and believes that any issues a country may have must be dealt with on a national level and not by the United Nations. The issues that Pakistan are more concerned with include religious extremism and combating prejudice and discrimination against religions because of certain practices and traditions. Pakistan introduced the Defamation of Religion Act in 1999 in order to protect Islam as well as other religions from discrimination.

    Pakistan recommends the United Nations spend less time infringing upon countries national sovereignty and spend more time on pressing matters that consist of fighting discrimination and prejudice as well as climate change. Pakistan believes that the current issue at hand is a topic that countries should deal with themselves, not the United Nations. Pakistan believes that religion goes hand in hand with the practices themselves and should remain unchanged by international law in the name of religious freedom and their national sovereignty. Pakistan believes that every country should stay out of certain religious and cultural practices that define who their people are. Because of this, Pakistan asks the United Nations to instead introduce an Act of Neutrality in regards to these controversies in order to preserve national sovereignty as we know it.

  • Livyw
    Livyw November 14, 2018

    Social, Humanitarian and Cultural
    Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    El Salvador
    Olivia Wolfe

    Many controversial practices take place in our nations, such as the illegal trade/slaughter of wildlife, damaging animal welfare; also including ritual slaughter and religious practice surrounding animals. Dog fighting, a practice that although disgraceful is part of many peoples cultures, has been banned in El Salvador after animal welfare legislation was passed. Aside from cultural practices involving animals, in over 30 african countries, the tradition of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is still practiced, despite Un resolutions attempting to prohibit it. Along with FGM many controversial cultural and religious practices harm the likes of women and girls. For El Salvador, only recently has an unanimous vote helped protect girls from underage marriage by their rapists/ marriages forced on them by their parents. El Salvador hopes to further protections for girls and women.

    The practice of letting a family give their daughter away to their rapist in order to obtain help and funding from that man has now, after 23 years, been abolished. Underage marriage has been a problem all over the world and despite the rule that in El Salvador it was illegal from any persons under the age 18 to marry; exceptions were made for rapists who had impregnated the child. This is now no longer an exception and rapists will serve their time. El Salvador ended these exceptions and is adding more laws and legislation for women due to the fact that as a country we care about our women, we hope to end the violence and cruel laws against them.

    As a country with a lack of Controversial practices and many changes in law expected to end any, we would like to remain neutral in this matter. We do however believe El Salvador is becoming a more accepting nation and we could not support a lack of effort from the Un against countries practicing things that we see as wrong. We hope the UN takes more action against things such as FGM. Girls who are forced into FGM are usually under the impression that without it they are worthless or that they won’t be accepted, FGM is also advertised to young girls as being the rite of passage into womanhood. We would support the UN in providing education to young girls that their sexuality is not something they should be stripped of and that there are alternate rituals they can take into womanhood. We would further encourage the UN to not only create education for these vulnerable girls but to also provide rehabilitation for victims of FGM.

  • avatar image
    Jared Rhein November 14, 2018

    Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee
    Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    Jared Rhein

    Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices of human or animal injustices include as female genital mutilation(FGM) to the slitting of throats for kosher meat regulations. All issues are important to the United Nations especially those involving human injustices. The Philippines does not mind if any religious practice or culture takes place within the nation as long as not disrupting the government. This topic is vague and is a stereotypical statement of those that have traditional cultures in developing nations, while the western developed nations may shame it. The committee should not address this topic due to the fact of rash classification of western countries’; western ideals do not align to Filipino customs and our religious practices of whaling or other, which is a traditional food source. Another misinterpreted tradition is “Pearling”, this is the insertion of “Bolitas”; these Bolitas or small plastic balls, are inserted under the skin of the penis to please a woman, this tradition has taken place since the 16th century. Within the Philippines there has been a push for women’s reproductive rights, that passed The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012; abortion is among these reproductive rights, also a highly debated topic between the Catholic and Islam communities who believe abortion is wrong, against activists.

    The Philippines have no interest in combating cultural or religious practices that will be sustained regardless of any infringement along with the social injustice of this motion. The Philippines have extremely traditional cultures and religion, Philippine’s president feels the same, “I am here because I love my country and I love the people of the Philippines. I am a native of the Philippines,” (Rodrigo Duterte). There are Islamic insurgencies in the Philippines, known as the Moro Conflict. “And there is a risk that disaffected Filipino Muslims will redirect their aggression into terrorism and extortion, which have racked the southern island of Mindanao, in particular, for decades.” (The Economist). My country allows religious practices and cultural rituals, especially those forged by Filipino history along with those of. The Philippines takes a defensive approach with laws or regulations on religion or culture that it should be regulated; despite this, there are occasional exceptions like the Reproductive Health Bill that lobbied for universal access of contraception, fertility control, sexual education, and maternal care. Abortion, under “fertility control” conflicts with the main religion, Catholicism. The religion of Catholicism put the light on conflicting views with government procedure; the War on Drugs that killed twelve thousand plus and abortion that exponentially kills woman and child, due towards nature of abortion and risk of infection. The government has restricted both of the issues mentioned by Catholics; the War on Drugs has persevered and abortion is still legal. The approval of this law has prompted headlines in the United States along with attention from Pope Francis in 2015. International issues are under the jurisdiction of each nation, these are not immediate problems of the Philippines.

    The Philippines, recommends to the committee of Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee to not take action to restrict cultures based on tradition and the banning of historical religions. Any misinterpretations by developed western countries are condescending and not appreciated. Western countries have no right to dictate historical, religious or customary procedures related to the Philippines. Filipino culture and our religious action are by historical context dating back to its existence, starting on June 12, 1898.

  • Faithschafer
    Faithschafer November 14, 2018

    Country: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
    Committee: Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee
    Topic: Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    Delegate: Faith Schafer
    School: Williamston High School

    Though all the peoples of the world deserve the right to their own freedom of expression and deserves respect regardless of their actions, there are certain practices that harm the wider global community, specifically in regards to young girls and endangered animals. Such practices cause an increase in female mortality rates through the practice of female genital mutilation, encouraging early marriage, and using traditional practices in the case of childbirth rather than modern and and safer medicine. Unnecessary suffering and the endangerment of animals in dozens of countries also occurs, even though the same countries have joined the The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora which has agreed to protect the same animals they hunt. When these people and animals who cannot stand up for themselves are targeted, it is time for the United Nations to take action to protect these while still respecting the practices of these cultures.
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is concerned about the lack of protection offered to these groups that are being harmed by the traditional mindset. In the United Kingdom, the government is focused on protecting its people, providing free healthcare to its people and making sure that they have access to the most modern practices available. This is why hearing the stories of unnecessary harm coming to women because of malpractice due to a desire to keep within traditional boundaries puts the United Kingdom in a difficult position- the country feels it is their duty to help out, but they also do not wish to trample upon cultural boundaries.
    In order to solve this issue as smoothly and effectively as possible, the United Kingdom believes that a half-and-half solution would be an ideal compromise: in the case of health matters, tradition can be bypassed in order to save lives and prevent harming the innocent, but in the case of animal sacrifices, such a distinction between suffering and not suffering is hard to judge and can be left to the culture. When it comes to animals suffering during sacrifices, the United Kingdom acknowledges that such regulations have been left to the individual countries up until this point and are better off left in that position to retain the rights of the people and the national sovereignty of the country. To ensure that the people are not optionless, however, all cultures that practice such methods shall be provided with the opportunity After all, we cannot entirely ignore the beliefs and practices that cultures have held for centuries, and by acknowledging the right these people have to hold their rituals, we are respecting their liberties.

  • 22EilerJu
    22EilerJu November 14, 2018

    Country: Belgium
    Committee: Sochum
    Topic: Controversial Culture and Religious Practices
    Delegate: Julia Eiler
    School: Williamston High School

    Belgium recognizes that controversial culture and religious practices is a very important subject. Controversial practices do affect many people depending on their race, sex, language, and religion. Belgium is trying to help fix this problem by promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction. Controversial Culture mostly effects and harms women and girls. Many communities prefer sons over daughters and are disappointed when they do have daughters. As of 2013, about 98% of women aged 15-45 had been affected by FGM, since then organizations like The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund have been working in Somalia to educate the people of Somalia and protect children from the dangers of FGM.

    Belgium has many different races, cultures, and languages within the country. In 30 countries across Africa, Southeast, and the Middle East, communities perform Female Genital Mutilation, the controversial practice of intentionally cutting, harming, or mutilating the genital organs of girls and women to limit sexual autonomy, despite UN resolutions attempting to end this practice. Many cultural practices such as early marriage, where girls are often forced to marry much older men. The brides family pays to the grooms family, also limit the autonomy of girls and women. Many women are told to bear children even if they do not want to have children because of their culture and use traditional medicine rather than modern based medicine for maternal mortality.

    Belgium would like the UN to recognize the problems with controversial culture and religious practices. As a very divided country religiously and culturally, many problems with women and girls not wanting to do a tradition but being forced into it such an early marriage. Belgium has passed a law in 2015 to prohibit discrimination based on religious orientation. Belgium has stated taxing women who cover their face in public, the tax is $150 or 137.50 euros. Teachers are allowed to express their religious beliefs and wear religious attire even if the school does not permit such attire. Ninety percent of the religious discrimination complaints concerned Muslims, a majority of them women. Belgium hopes the UN can help solve this problem.

  • Sarahwordhouse
    Sarahwordhouse November 14, 2018

    Sarah Wordhouse
    Committee: SocHum
    Topic: Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    Country: Poland
    Poland prides itself on attempting to ease all potential controversy surrounding the country and its affairs. While there is some tension around Poland’s involvement in the Holocaust, which did cause a law to be considered, once Poland saw the outcome, we immediately backtracked and revised it to fit the people’s desires. This goes to show that Poland is working diligently and listening to the people who reside inside of Poland to eliminate any potential conflict.
    At the beginning of this year, Poland published a law that forbade the writing of criminalization of Poland in involvement with the Nazis in the Holocaust. However, after this was met with much backlash, Poland backed down and retracted the punishment of jail time. The biggest issue Poland has against the references is referring to the internment camps as “Polish death camps,” which is highly inaccurate. Also, Poland is not trying to cover up the past with this bill, but rather highlight the good parts such as the underground movements that were occurring during this time, (Noack, R. (2018, June 27). This is an example of how Poland works to handle all controversy firsthand, rather than allow it to blow out of proportion, such as it does in many other countries.
    Another example of Poland working avidly to limit controversy is limiting immigration into Poland’s borders. It is a common misconception that Poland is against immigration entirely, which is untrue. A poll found that 80% of Poles did not want immigration from Syrian countries. While many countries look on this as unfavorable, it would be more controversial inside our own borders to allow others to enter against the peoples of Poland wishes than it would be in other European eyes. “Poles believe it is for them to decide whom they invite and that Europe should protect its borders,” (Anders, M. (2018, February 12). With that being said, Poland does not band immigrants entirely– in fact, this is on the contrary. Poland invites Ukrainians, the very people many countries do not themselves welcome into their country, who were displaced by the European war. It is reported that over one million Ukrainians have escaped to Poland after aggression from Russia. We do not wish to keep immigrants out, we simply wish that our sanctions are acknowledged and that forced entry from immigrants is not considered acceptable. Poland wishes to keep Poles content and feel safe inside their own country more than they are seeking noncontroversial approval from other countries.
    Poland has worked hard to limit any controversy in and outside of the country. Poland listens to their people and addresses their concerns firsthand. While many countries may disagree, the government would say that Poland values the opinion of our people more than any other countries’; therefore, we will continue to do what is best for our country. We would be willing to work with other countries to write a paper that addresses issues that plague other nations, such as genital mutilation and forced marriage or any other issues that are relevant to them.

    Anders, M. (2018, February 12). Separating myth from reality in Polish immigration policy. Retrieved from
    Noack, R. (2018, June 27). Poland’s controversial ‘Holocaust Law’ set to be reversed after global outcry. Retrieved from

  • Saramvarg
    Saramvarg November 14, 2018

    Social, Humanitarian, & Cultural Issues
    Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    Sara Michelle Vargas

    Between 2015 and 2016, the wildlife enforcement directorate logged 4,900 inspections, 908 enforcement measures, 167 new prosecutions and 158 convictions, handing out a record $1.1 million in penalties (Canada Geographic). Canada is concerned with the issue of illegal wildlife tracking and poaching over the last decade. The United Nations estimates $7 billion to $23 billion in costs for fauna trafficking alone, and $57 billion to $175 billion with lumber added. Illegal wildlife trade is not the only issue that Canada is concerned with, ritual slaughter and controversial cultural practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is an issue that Canada is committed ending through strategic problem solving.

    In Canada, although FGM is not an issue, illegal wildlife tracking is. Canada has a no-tolerance policy when it comes to poaching and harming animals in Canada and everywhere else in the world. Additionally, Canada does not endorse the cultural practice of FGM or any cultural animal rituals such as Spanish-style bullfighting and the slitting of animal throats for sacrifice. Although Canada does not endorse these practices, we have done little to end the animal and human abuses in other countries such as the middle east and Africa, but we currently seek out other countries to support us and come up with a solution that can be adopted in unison with multiple countries who are astounded and repulsed by these ongoing slaughters.

    Canada proposes a detailed plan that both respects the culture of other countries and respects animal rights. Canada urges SOCHUM to join together the top scientists from countries like the United States, France, United Kingdom, Japan, and China, to create a low-cost device which protects children and women from the harming of genital mutilation. In addition to a device for protecting against FGM, Canada suggests a device to be created and tagged to endangered species in popular poaching areas which record, detect, and track, the animals and can send information about the poacher to a database. This would limit a poachers ability to take animals and harm them in secrecy. FGM can not be completely protected through a device, as many women and children in countries with this issue are far from security. Strategically advertising to women and children their rights through changing children stories is Canada’s next proposed plan. Stories passed down through generations often discourage the empowerment of women. Canada calls authors educated in many languages to write stories that educate the women and children of their power. Although these solutions are mere suggestions, Canada encourages other countries with the same goals in mind to create solutions that give animals and females basic fundamental rights and involve Canada in the process.

  • Joeheitmeier
    Joeheitmeier November 14, 2018

    Social Cultural Humanitarian
    Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    The Republic of Uganda
    Forest Hills Northern
    Joe Heitmeier

    Controversial cultural practices are a topic that can be interpreted differently around the globe. Debates over which practices should be permitted have been prevalent throughout time and are just as prevalent today. The Republic of Uganda (hereafter Uganda) participates in several controversial cultural practices, and thus strives to protect individual liberties to participate in said practices.

    Female circumcision is a pervasive practice in Uganda, and it is highly applauded by the Sabiny tribe and government bodies. It’s considered a right of passage for women, and one cannot be married without first undergoing the procedure. Despite scientifically being proven to offer no health benefits and being recognized as a violation of human rights, the practice is still carried out frequently across the country.

    Witchcraft is very common in Uganda, and many Ugandan citizens believe witchcraft is the key to true success and health. However, witch doctors often ask for many different items associated with the process which include both large sums of money and human body parts. Ritual murders are used to obtain these body parts, and children are often the victims of said murders. In addition, girls in Uganda are often captured and forced into marriage at a very young age, and this process frequently involves rape and molestation.

    The Republic of Uganda would look favorably upon legislation that protects religious and cultural freedoms, and allows for the expression of cultural identities. The UN should protect the rights of individuals to freely pursue controversial cultural and religious practices, and any formed legislation should not impede on this possibility.

  • Carlimaltbie
    Carlimaltbie November 14, 2018

    Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    Czech Republic
    Carli Maltbie

    Controversial cultural and religious practices are, in most cases, extremely harmful to groups such as women and animals. In the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia, there are over 30 countries who have communities which perform the atrocious practice of deliberately harming the organs of women so as to limit their sexual autonomy. This exercise is known as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and it is endangering young women across the globe. There are other rituals and practices around the world which can put animal welfare in danger. These practices include illegally poaching protected animals, Spanish bullfighting, and trafficking animal products such as elephant tusks, rhinoceros horns, shark fins, pangolin scales, and manta ray gills. The Czech Republic believes that these practices are detrimental and hazardous and that, just because they are tradition, does not mean them right.

    The Czech Republic is not affected directly by controversial cultural and religious practices as we are a mainly Roman Catholic country and most of our population is European. These may not occur in our country, but we see the struggles of our fellow nations and wish to help. Women, minorities, and animals should not have to be targeted to appease such harmful traditions as FGM, poaching, and Spanish bullfighting.

    We wish to help this issue in anyway possible and call upon the United Nations to encourage the governments of nations to prohibit the practice of such rituals which cause harm to others. For those nations which do have laws against the hunting of protected wildlife, we urge them to better enforce these laws to ensure the welfare of animals across Africa, Spain, and elsewhere.

  • DavidCB
    DavidCB November 14, 2018

    Committee: SOCHUM
    Topic: Controversial cultural and religious practices
    Country: Republic of Iraq
    Delegate: David Cornier-Bridgeforth
    In some parts of the Republic of Iraq, Female Genital Mutilation is a religious practice that is present. Iraq has been taking major steps to cease the practice of FGM which is recognized as a violation of human rights by the United Nations General Assembly and by the Republic of Iraq. The practice of FGM has been an issue for a long time. The cases of FGM in Iraq as a whole have gone down significantly in the past 5 years, but there is a unacceptable amount of cases of FGM in Kurdish Northern Iraq, where mostly traditional Kurdish people live. A 2010 study by WADI in Kurdish Iraq, found that 72% of women had undergone FGM . Currently these percentages are going down. FGM is most common among Sunni Muslims, but is also practiced by Schi’ites and Kakeys, while Christians and Yezidi don’t seem to practice it.

    There have been several attempts to stop this practice in Iraq. In 2007 a draft legislation to abolish FGM was submitted to the Regional Parliament, but was not passed. In 2011 Kurdish law criminalized FGM practice in Iraqi Kurdistan, but this law is not being enforced. Although these attempts have not been as effective as hoped, in many communities shamans have been taking it up to themselves to discourage practicing FGM.

    To perhaps help solve the issue of FGM, it is the belief of Iraq that clear resolutions should be made to promote nations to work to end FGM in their country. It is apparent to Iraq that FGM is an issue that has had trouble to be solved in the past, so it is in the interest of all people to come to an effective agreement quickly. The Republic of Iraq would hope to work closely with other nations where FGM is an issue.

  • EBaker
    EBaker November 14, 2018

    Committee: Social, Humanitarian & Cultural
    Topic: Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    Country: United States of America
    Delegate: Elliot Baker

    Controversial cultural and religious practices such as forced marriage, child marriage, and female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) are detrimental to the United Nations’ goals of establishing the ideals set forth in the Declaration of Human Rights. These practices are common in regions of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, and while it is a cultural and/or religious norm for many of those affected, these practices can psychologically harm young females and lead to decreased opportunities for women. Forced early marriage also increases the likelihood of infant and maternal mortality as well as promoting gender-based violence. Other controversial practices include the ritual sacrificing of animals and illegal wildlife trade. With the globalization of trade, illegal wildlife trade has expanded, due to the significant economic opportunities it provides.

    The United States is one of the largest consumers of illegal wildlife by-products but also serves as a supplier of some products, leading to increased efforts to track and limit the importation and exportation of illegal wildlife products. Native wildlife populations have decreased as the black market has grown, limiting biodiversity. Ritual sacrifice poses an issue due to the religious nature and the Free Exercise Clause in the US Constitution. In order to maintain religious freedoms while limiting animal suffering, the United States enacted legislation providing legal protection for only two types of humane ritual sacrifice and has outlawed the hoisting and shackling of cattle, which makes kosher cattle slaughtering much more humane. The United States also has a large immigrant population, including many from regions where FGM/C is common. Many of these immigrants bring their cultures with them to the United States, causing clashes with mainstream cultures, but the US has enacted legislation making it illegal to perform FGM/C on anyone under the age of 18, punishable by up to 5 years in prison. The law also has harsher punishments for immigrants who perform or assist in FGM/C, including the possibility of inadmissibility or removal from the United States. In an effort to fight forced early marriage, the United States has committed up to $5.3 million for intervention purposes where forced early marriage is common and preventable.

    The United States is committed to eliminating global illegal wildlife trade in order to maintain biodiversity and promote legal global trade. Ritual sacrifice should be respected as a religious practice, but only supported in humane cases. In the cases of animal welfare issues such as Spanish bullfighting, the US supports it as a cultural practice that should be allowed, although bloodless versions of the tradition could prove a viable alternative to the practice. The United States has pledged to do its best to eliminate FGM/C, in an effort to promote the rights of females in all countries, as well as improve the health of women globally. The United States also opposes child marriage and is committed to ending the practice, as it limits the opportunities of women and can have lasting psychological damage to those affected. The United States understands the necessity of preserving cultural and religious practices, but supports efforts to reduce the negative effects of these on people and animals, and to preserve human rights over the continuation of cultural practices.

    The United States will look to enact legislation to further protect the rights of females along with animals protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. A possible solution to the issue of illegal wildlife trade includes establishing economic outreach problems to reduce the socio-economic issues in developing countries that promote the hunting of protected species. While the religious nature of this topic is divisive, the United States delegation hopes that its fellow countries can collaborate to find solutions to balance the independence and sovereignty of nations with the importance of human rights and the well-being of people in all countries.

  • Isavan
    Isavan November 14, 2018

    Committee: Social Cultural Humanitarian (SocHum)
    Topic: Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    Country: The Republic of Honduras
    Delegate: Isabel Vander Molen

    In this era of globalization and technological advancement, topical interest often overlooks the issues present in affairs of groups who practice harmful traditional cultural procedures. Though the UN charter declares that our mission is to create international cooperation in solving transatlantic issues and human rights violations, these terms are too broad in dealing with the small instances of human rights violations committed in cultural practices. Despite the ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by nearly every member, the UDHR only states that “ Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits” in regards to culture and human rights. The lack of acknowledgement of cultural relativism is a grave error made by the writers of the UN Charter and UDHR, for it has allowed for human violations to be committed with the excuse of practicing traditional cultural rituals.
    The delegation of Honduras is both a signatory of the UDHR and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. With no significant human rights violations committed in the name of traditional or cultural practices, Honduras’ most pressing controversial cultural practices would center around illicit trade of animals throughout central and latin america. In order to combat illegal and harmful animal trade, Honduras has passed a small amount of legislation protecting certain animals. These pieces of legislation include the Resolution No.22082, Resolution No.1383, and Resolution 209-82. The latter specifically prohibits the capture, sale, and export of specific flora and fauna native to Honduras.
    In regards to animal trafficking and rights in cultural practices, Honduras would see fit a comprehensive plan to unite Central and South American governments against illicit animal trade and cruelty in relation to cultural practices. In regards to human rights violations occurring from traditional/cultural practices, Honduras would see it fit to develop a resolution that defined what human right violations are in cultural settings. Additionally, there should be a set criteria for evaluating whether or not certain cultural practices are harmful, with input from the affected groups are. Of course, Honduras believes that education is one of the best ways to enlighten and improve the quality of lives lived by affected portions of the population of controversial cultural practices. Finally, there should be boards that monitor whether human rights are being violated in cultural groups. Including the help of NGOs would be most beneficial, since many NGOs such as the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin (COICA), Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee (IPACC) , and the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact are included in the affairs of native groups and thus could better monitor

  • Annagdev
    Annagdev November 14, 2018

    Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    Anna Devarenne

    Both the terms “culture” and “religion” have complex and varied meanings. However, once practices surpass the point of harmful, dangerous, and encroach upon human rights, there often is call for governmental intervention. Controversial religious and cultural practices such as Female Genital Mutilation, Child Marriages, and religious based killings like Al-Qaeda require overarching legislation. Following the September 11, 2001 Al Qaeda attacks the study of religion in world politics increased greatly. While the UN agrees that the freedom of religion and belief is a universal human right, certain practices that encroach on both human and animal safety prompt the UN to intervene.

    Nearly 90 percent of Italian citizens are Roman Catholics. Occasionally, this highly religious nation struggles to keep the steady separation of church and state even though the Italian Constitution calls for the freedom of religion. The Lateran Pacts of 1929 confirmed that the State of Vatican City was recognized by Italy as an independent, sovereign city. Then in 1984 Italy terminated Roman Catholicism as their formal state religion.

    As a country, Italy supports the separation of church and state and the humanitarian rights of all people. If any person, animal, or demographic is facing harmful situations that arise from cultural and religious practices, the United Nations should intervene. Italy supports UN works such as SDGs and CITES. Italy is a prominent supporter of the United Nations, however it focuses its works more towards the maintenance of international peace and security rather than towards solving arising issues from controversial and cultural religious practices.

  • Hdavidson032
    Hdavidson032 November 14, 2018

    The Islamic Republic of Iran
    Mattawan High School
    The United Nations would have you believe that religion and culture currently pose a threat to our society, but, I implore you fellow delegates, do not let the assembly distract you from our greatest threat: the desecration of our tradition, religion, society. Iran is a nation founded on the ideals of Islam, and our culture is as old as it is vital in the function of our society. We understand the UN’s concern with FGM and female infanticide in Iran and our region, and we are more than willing to cooperate and work towards a more comprehensive solution.
    While we acknowledge the human rights concerns, we can’t stress enough the vitality of religion and tradition in Iranian culture, and we, the Islamic Republic of Iran, would not support any resolution that in any way hinders the traditions and customs of Islam and the Iranian people. We are committed to the health and safety of every individual, but we are committed to protecting our culture first and foremost.

  • Agoldenberg276
    Agoldenberg276 November 14, 2018

    Social, Cultural, and Humanitarian Committee
    The French Republic
    Delegate: Alex Goldenberg
    Controversial cultural and Religious Practices

    Nations want to achieve goals in which there is equality, peace, and sustainability. To fully accomplish these goals, controversial cultural religious practices must be addressed. Many countries have controversial cultural practices. Thirty countries perform Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Most of these are African and East Asian countries. Having an early and arranged marriage is also a controversial cultural practice. Some countries discriminate against girls, and favor boys. Making the parents want to have boys, which leads to infanticide for female babies. Ritual slaughtering of animals causing unnecessary pain is another controversial culture practice. This can lead to animals becoming endangered.
    France is part of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) an treaty between governments to protect animals from being illegally hunted. Nations want to address this problem by changing some of the cultural practices. At the same time, want to reserve the cultural norms out of respect. It is about solving this problem with balance.
    France’s Western African allied nations practice FGM. France encourages education to those countries to help reduce the practice. France is becoming less focussed on the trading with Africa but more on the policy issues that improve lives and the environment.
    France agrees that people should have rights to practice their cultural practices. However, when the practices begin to endanger life, the practices should dial down. Because these controversial cultural practices are being practiced in a country, then the cultures must modernize to accept the country’s rules. At the same time the country should respect the culture practice until it begins to hurt others.France believes if the country’s have open mind to the practices, and if practices keep their practices reasonable then a balance will be reached.

  • Montlil
    Montlil November 14, 2018

    Social Humanitarian and Cultural
    Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    Lily Montague

    Controversial cultural and religious practices happen all over the world, and the UN is faced with having to decide if they are ethical or should be regulated for the good of the people. Some of these controversial practices include mistreatment of women by strongly limiting their autonomy, and also the way animals are slaughtered or hunted. The UN tried to protect against animals being mistreated through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna in 1975, but illegal treatment of elephants, rhinos, whales, sharks, and pigs continues to happen through religious and cultural traditions. The question keeps arising whether these practices should be protected, restricted, or prohibitted.
    Sweden has specifically delt with issues having to do with the treatment of animals while slaughtering for religious purposes. The Muslims and Jews in Sweden, preform a slaughtering ritual according to their religion, that is said to be harmful to the animals. In 1937, Sweden, along with other Scandanavian countries, passed a law that required the animal to be stunned before preforming the slaughtering ritual. Many countries around the world, specifically in Africa and Asia, have cultrual and religious traditions that mistreat women and restrict their individual choice of working and marriage. Sweden has made many efforts over the years to encourage equality for women, within the country and globally. The Discrimination Act in Sweden promotes equality between men and women in the workplace and protects against harrassment and unfair distribution of resources in Sweden.
    The major decision established by the UN General Assembly everyonedeclared that everyone is born with the same rights, regardless of gender. The UN had a proposal to adopt the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women in 1993. There was also a more recent proposal in 2017 by the European Union and the United Nations to launch the Spotlight Initiative which also focuses on eliminating violence against women and girls. These issues affect more of the African and Middle Eastern countries, which have some more controversial cultural traditions, and don’t affect Sweden as much. However, Sweden still supports the enforcement of equal treatment of men and women through legislation and admistrative acts. Sweden is also an advocate for solving international issues involving reproductive rights.

  • Zachste16
    Zachste16 November 14, 2018

    Committee: Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee
    Topic: Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    Country: Indonesia

    What is decided as controversial is solely the opinion of a country. Most of the controversial practices being referred to are those regarding violence against women and children. Some countries point to female genital mutilation (FGM) as a prime example of this violence. Indonesia couldn’t disagree more. In Indonesia is commonly accepted that most to all females in Indonesia have undergone (FGM). No this is not with a rusty blade in the barn these procedures are viewed as regular medical surgeries and are treated as such by the professionals giving the procedure. Indonesia has the largest muslim population in the world, 87.2% of the country identify with Islam. It is a common islamic practice to “circumcise” female infants. When almost an entire country identifies with the religion that practices the controversial practice the UN has no right to overstep national sovereignty and ban a practice which has already been approved by the Indonesian Government and Public. Indonesia banned the practice in 2006 to a large uproar from the pubic, people were furious there right to practice their faith was being breached. The bill was overturned in 2010 and FGM was reinstated. Indonesia is looking for a resolution that will fully respect the rights that each country has regarding the sovereignty of their nation.

  • Davisbr
    Davisbr November 14, 2018

    Committee : Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee
    Topic: Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    Country : Greece
    Brandon Davis

    Religion is the belief and worship in a superhuman like being that controls all the power, this leads many cultures to worship these gods with very controversial practices. It’s not just religion either, culture also leads to very controversial practices, that populations all over the world are partaking in. Some of the practices seem to just use culture and religion to undermine the fact that what they are doing is, in some cases, horrendous. In many cases, rights are often violated to make room for values of their religion, values that are very ancient and many times have been proven wrong scientifically. Controversial religious practices do not only have to focus on atrocious acts against the human but also against the country itself.

    Greece being a monotheistic country, with 98% of citizens practicing orthodox Christianity has little controversy between conflicting religions. However, with such a large religious population, some controversy has been seen within elections and government in general. During previous constitutional amendments this has been addressed and decided not to be an issue. Citizens of Greece protested when the Religious Denomination entry from the National ID card was removed in 2000. However with Greece having few controversial religious practices, we still sees that other countries, especially ones in the middle east, have many controversial cultural and religious practices. The practices that are in the spotlight are female genital mutilation, son preference, female infanticide, early marriage, dowry, early pregnancy, and violence against women. Some of the listed practices are downright disgusting in Greece’s eyes and will need to be changed soon for the protection of people who are forced to participate in these acts.

    Most controversy can be resolved by respecting the wish of the Greek people, as they are nearly all religious. Other countries with a higher prevalence of differing religions may face problems with religious extremism and should take steps within their nation to reduce and eliminate problems associated with that. The steps towards eliminating these problems will have to include some sort of separation of the church and the state. If the church and the state are tied together then the church is allowed to implement these practices without limits nor consequences. Letting the church be in control of a state can have its consequences or it can work fine, like in Greece with Orthodox Christianity being tied to our state. As seen in other countries, they can not run smooth like Greece, so it is vital to investigate countries with connected religions and state, and make sure they are not partaking in these absurd practices. If they are involved in radical practices, some sort of threshold and protocol needs to be put into place to decide what is acceptable and what isn’t.

  • Brendan
    Brendan November 14, 2018

    Committee: The Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee
    Topic: Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    Country: Palestine

    The issue of controversial cultural and religious practices is both broad and complex. Every country has its own unique cultures and religions that define it, and as such, it is difficult for a single resolution to address all the possible issues certain countries have with certain practices. Also, national sovereignty for many countries is of paramount importance, so it is necessary to establish where the legislative line will be drawn with the UN when deeming what exactly is considered “controversial” and what is simply a part of a nation’s culture. Palestine does support the right for most religious practices and cultural practices, so long as they do not impede on others’ peace or bring forth violence (FGM, for example, is not supported by Palestine.) One yields their right to practice a certain religion or culture if it leads to violence or unnecessary harm to any citizen.
    Zionism is a practice in particular that abhors Palestine. Jewish Israelis erroneously justify their occupation of Palestinian land through this Zionist outlook. Israel already has a nation of their own, thus to steal land from Palestine in the name of “Zionism” is certainly a practice that Palestine would deem controversial and would want a paper passed that helps to address said or any similar practices. As stated, when a certain cultural ideology or practice leads to violence and or unwelcomed inhibitions of peoples’ rights to peace. Palestine simply cannot support it. Palestine would, however, heavily support a paper that helps to delineate more on what specific practices should be condemned internationally and what practices are acceptable. The committee should work towards the establishment of a resolution that can not only explicitly state which religious/cultural practices aren’t allowed, but also lay down the protection of rights and framework for future generations to come.

  • TommyTheCommie
    TommyTheCommie November 14, 2018

    Social Humanitarian and Cultural Committee
    Evaluating Cultural Issues
    The Islamic State of Afghanistan
    Thomas Everett Dixon

    There are many conflicts concerning the partisan ways of specific cultures in today’s countries. The social class barriers, and the lack of women’s rights due to terrorism are two major issues needing a solution. Previously, the United Nations has attempted to close the gap between the extremely rich, and poor classes by implementing projects such as building roads, offering healthcare, assisting education, creating irrigation systems, and helping agricultural areas. In the region of women liberation, Taliban terrorists have placed restrictions on all women, forcing them into compliment. Most of these United Nations efforts have been interrupted by the terrorism present in Afghanistan. In order for Afghanistan to continue its progress on important cultural topics, the United Nations Social Humanitarian and Cultural Committee (SOCHUM) must remain supporting Afghanistan through its cultural adversaries.

    As a country flooded in terrorism and large class gaps, Afghanistan has come to the conclusion, the best way of approaching the issue of cultural change to benefit women and poorer classes is to continue United Nations assistance on the topic of poorer classes, and also continue to eradicate terrorism, in turn, erasing the sinister demands the Taliban have pushed upon women. “In many parts of the world, especially Pakistan and Afghanistan, terrorism, war and conflict stop children to go to their schools. We are really tired of these wars. Women and children are suffering.” -Malala Yousafzai, an activist in the Middle East. This quote reinforces the idea women are suffering in Afghanistan, and outside help is needed to assist our country’s cultural development.

    Afghanistan proposes that the United Nations promote the closing of the class gap, and women’s rights to assist the progression of our nation. Afghanistan recognizes the best way to achieve this goal is to receive economic aid from the United Nations, and have women empowerment promotions. This resolution, a resolution that bridges the gap between the upper and lower class, and promotes women’s liberation, is the ideal course of action for our country, Afghanistan.

  • Blaisegourley
    Blaisegourley November 14, 2018

    Social Humanitarian and Cultural
    Controversial Religious and Cultural Practices
    Blaise Gourley

    The affiliation of power has often coincide with one country ruling over another country. Cuba has often been the victim of being submissive to other countries. During the period which Cuba was ruled by other countries such as Great Britain and Spain, people of Cuba were often restricted in their religious and cultural practices. However, even as Cuba gained their independence, religious discrimination is still an everyday factor.
    About 60% of the Cuban population is affiliated with Catholicism, but many Cubans also practice Santería, which is a blend of African traditional religion and Christianity. It originated from African slaves brought to Cuba. Since many of the people who practice this religion are largely black, racist connotations surround this religion. Many of Santería followers resort to practicing in secret in order to not be discriminated against.
    Another cultural norm expected in Cuba is that women are expected to perform all household chores. The rights have women have been greatly increased after the “Family Code” passed in 1975 which allowed women to achieve equality with men and allowed them to achieve a greater status in society.
    Cultural practices such as bullfighting are very prevalent especially in Hispanic countries such as Spain. Bull fighting was present in Cuba until it was abolished by U.S. military officials after the Spanish-American War in 1901. Although bullfighting is apart of many cultural identities, it is also very harmful to animals.
    A solution to bullfighting would be to place regulations on how the bulls are treated and how often they endure the bullfighting arena. It would be very difficult to ban bullfighting without backlash and affecting cultural norms, but as the United Nation we could place regulations to help the bulls.
    Another solution to help with religious discrimination is to pass a declaration which would declare religious freedoms and in-depth renounce religious persecution, even if a country is said to be tolerate of all religions. This declaration would help people such as the Santería practicing people in Cuba, and other religions around the world who have to practice their religions in secret out of fear.
    Immediate solutions are needed to controversial cultural and religious practices because without action, uprisings and protests will break out across the world and could even result in civil wars because of the divide, or international wars due to controversial practices.

  • Taylorfoster0514
    Taylorfoster0514 November 14, 2018

    Taylor Foster
    Vicksburg Highschool
    Bolivia is made up up many different cultures and practices many different religions, which spread from Catholicism to the Mormon church to several different Indigenous religions worshiping different deities as different animals or celestial objects. Our country also consists of a great number of different cultures spread throughout the land. They are all unique in their own way which is what makes Bolivia such a multicultural country. Protecting the freedom of our people to practice their own religion and have their own culture is important to our country. We have many different cultures so we would like to keep them all alive and respected.
    Bolivia does not however want to protect the religions and cultures around the world that allow acts that harm humans or animals, such as female genital mutilation, bloodletting for the annual Mourning Rite, cannibalism, massacring animals, and wearing collars of metal. Bolivia believes these acts cause harm to humans because they are bad for your health, unsafe, and are also hazards to animals. They need to be stopped because they are unacceptable. We Bolivia call on all of the countries in this committee to help us find a peaceful resolution that works for every country so their peoples right to practice their religion freely is protected but brings an end to these harmful acts.
    Bolivia is happy to help find a peaceful solution to this ongoing problem to end the suffering of people around the world and is pleased to be solving this issue with so many other countries and does hope this committee can come up with a peaceful resolution that will work for all other countries.

  • avatar image
    Keegan McCalmont November 14, 2018

    Keegan McCalmont
    Republic of Peru
    Social Human
    City High

    Peru is predominantly roman catholic, making up 76% percent of the population. And while the catholicism of the nation is strong, it also home to a wealth of indigenous peoples with their own cultures and traditions. As a whole, Peru is not home to many controversial cultural or religious practices. However, traditionalism is a value respected by the citizens and government of Peru and respect of these activities must be the priority. While the most aggressive and deplorable actions must be condemned, it mustn’t come at the cost of valuable cultural traditions.
    Like its stance on the intervention within indigenous peoples, Peru will not tolerate the interventionist approach of telling cultures what they can and can’t do.
    Peru will not support violations of national sovereignty or attempts to bully countries into bending to the will of the General Assembly.
    With a strong Inca background, the value of cultural practices in history is well known and recognized.
    Working with other Latin American countries as well as supporting China and the United States will be a goal of Peru in this conference.
    The republic of Peru looks forward to hearing the perspectives of other countries and listening to possible solutions.

  • Arjunk
    Arjunk November 14, 2018

    Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    Arjun Kumar
    Across the world, we have countless cultures. Not all of these cultures promote equality and justice. The largest victims of these cultures are women, suffering from female genital mutilation as well as exclusion from many aspects of what we in the developed world would consider daily life. Nevertheless, culture is an essential component of life. It is what makes us human. It is imperative to keep traditional cultures prominent in their societies.
    The Netherlands believes in the rights of all people to free religious expression. This said, we also believe that free expression of religion should not prohibit the human rights of others. Many cultures and religions across the world have practices that marginalize others, especially women. This is a very difficult situation as it is important to respect the right of people to practice their own religions and follow their cultures; nevertheless, it is important to protect the human rights of all people.
    Historically the Netherlands has had a discriminative culture, but our culture has evolved to allow equality of all people. We believe that a very similar solution could be applied throughout the world. Discriminatory cultural elements can be slowly removed while all other elements remain. Parts of culture and religion that prohibit the exercising of human rights of others are outdated and must not be accepted. We propose that the UN continue its campaign against female genital mutilation and fight other cultural practices that are discriminatory in nature, but try its hardest to keep the culture that makes us who we are.


  • Tragan2018
    Tragan2018 November 14, 2018

    Tyler Ragan
    Kalamazoo Central Highschool

    Libya with our 97% Muslim population comes with some of the religion’s justice system and beliefs integrated into our legislation, such as our Sharia law based legal system. These laws include flogging for adultery and amputations for thievery. Sharia law is disputed by many as violent and oppressive because of Islamic extremists that take the laws as final, this is not the case and Sharia doesn’t discriminate.
    The GNA (Government of National accord) has made these laws along with laws banning discrimination against Islam and laws to give Muslims freedom to practice their religion.

    Libya uses Sharia Law as a basis for our legal and law system, Libya also believes Islam should be practiced freely with no restrictions.
    Major legislation in Libya on Islam makes the religion the official state religion for Libya and cites Sharia law as the main source of Libyan legislature. A law exists against “instigating division” among religions and carries a maximum penalty of execution. Sharia law is also the guideline for family law including Marriage, Divorce, and inheritance.
    The impact of our laws have resulted in a mainly Sharia based legal system that carries heavy punishment for seemingly minor crimes to westerners such as insulting a religious figure or shoplifting.
    Libya has in our constitution where it is stated roughly “The Islamic Sharia is it’s principal source of legislation.”
    The United Nations supports the GNA, there is no current UN actions against the Libyan legislature. Libya has signed the ICCPR which provides religious freedom to our citizens.

    Libya suggests that controversial religious practices shouldn’t be questioned and can even be used as a basis for government legislation and legal systems.
    Libya’s neighboring countries have signed the ICCPR along with most nations in the world, which provides religious freedom.

  • Semaj
    Semaj November 14, 2018

    Semaj Torain
    14 November 2018
    SUBMITTED TO: Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee
    FROM: Myanmar/Burma
    SUBJECT: Controversial Cultural Practices

    Cultural practices and religious practices are cherished among the very religious background of Burma. Myanmar is the world’s most religious Buddhist country in terms of its successful history among the people of Myanmar and the number of monks that reside in Myanmar. Around 89% of the population are Theravada Buddhists. Typically when a certain religion is more dominant, it is more accepted amidst the people. But a minority group of ethnic people called the Rohingyas (Muslims), face a large amount of discrimination from the nation, that pressures them into changing their lifestyle in order to pursue the “Burman way of life.”

    In 1948 Myanmar voted for the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations General Assembly. However, the United Nations Convention against Torture which tries to prevent torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman,l or punishment, around the world, has not been ratified by Myanmar, as of 2016. The development of basic human rights to women and children have been signed but the progression to torture of ethnic groups have not been signed or ratified.

    As a country, although we are not ready to sign any treaties, we still want to lessen the amount of discrimination and oppression against the Rohingyas. The reason for that is because we don’t want to stray away from our beliefs that run through the veins of our history. We want to help the Rohingyas that were affected by the Exodus and we want to begin to see eye to eye when it comes to the culture of Burma and how it should be.

  • avatar image
    Joey Mooney November 14, 2018

    Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    The Country of Egypt
    Joey Mooney
    Despite having a checkered past regarding religious practices within our borders, Egypt feels as though we should be able to persevere and learn from an example of what not to do in religious practices. The nation of Egypt feels as though countries should respect the practices of different religions and cultures to the point where their citizens rights are never violated and there is no malintent behind these practices.
    With some extreme nations not too far from the borders of Egypt, we are able to see some of the detrimental effects that these practices can have on the foundation of a country and even overthrow them completely. The nation of Egypt recognizes these practices as need of a check in balance and has a great understanding of how religion can be manipulated by extremists to justify their corrupt views. This is why we feel as though resolutions need to be made to establish a counter to these methods and while we understand that the United Nations cannot impose anything upon a government of a nation we strongly suggest that these nations change their tactics and will provide any resources that these countries need to help them rise out of the oppression and into a just and equal government that doesn’t factor religious standpoints to justify their outrageous views.
    As a very culturally and religiously diverse nation we recognize the influence that these religions and cultures can have on the people of a nation but don’t believe that these practices should harm or discriminate against them in any way.

  • Gabriellahernandez
    Gabriellahernandez November 14, 2018

    Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices

    Controversy defines the 21st century around the world. Something is usually controversial if it turns heads or it seems to violate human/animal rights according to different generations. Throughout the years, there have been hundreds of “violations” to humanitarian efforts and such from traditional cultural and religious practices. Overcomign the polarizing views of different countries is a hard comparison in the UN. Many countries have recently been accused of controversial practices that have been in use for hundred of years. For example, in recent years Spain has been accused of animal abuse because of bullfighting practices, which have been a part of Spanish culture for hundreds of years but only recently just seen as controversial.
    Applying the cultural norms and standards of one nation to another is simply not a fair comparison. Venezuela has very different views of “controversy” than other countries. “Machismo” is a typical cultural tradition practiced in many Latin American cultures and is not accepted in more progressive countries. It’s not a typically “bad” practice yet it has faced much controversy
    Venezuela is in support of any resolution that address woman’s rights in regards to controversial practices and that solves the abuse of women around the world.

  • Hwillit
    Hwillit November 14, 2018

    The Rights and Restrictions on Religious and Cultural Freedoms

    The world has myriad unique and wonderful cultures and religions which grew out of them. An overwhelming majority of Earth’s population belongs to a religion. Because these beliefs systems are so diverse and global, religion is something governments need to closely watch the rights of. However, these belief systems sometimes have antiquated practices which harm the human rights of its own people. Striking the balance between the protection of religion and the protection of what we recognize as basic human rights is a topic in pressing need of examination. Who should decide when a cultural or religious practice infringes on human rights? Each country must evaluate the safety and morality of its many cultural and religious traditions.
    Although Guatemala is a primarily Catholic country, nearly 50% of our people belong to indigenous Mayan heritage. With this comes dozens upon dozens of religious and cultural practices which predate even the arrival of Europeans. Many people still practice traditional Mayan religions. Guatemalan law prohibits the tampering of burial sites in religious practices, but mostly Guatemala believes that the religious rights of the Mayan minority groups deserve protection over restriction.
    Guatemala would like to see continued respect for people of indigenous religious affiliation, and opposes persecution of people for their faith, as restriction of the deeply seated, often culturally-intertwined religious practices is tantamount to ethnic discrimination of a people themselves, and could easily be used as a way to staunch the human rights of the people whom it restricts.

  • Akuzee
    Akuzee November 14, 2018

    Adam Kuzee
    South Korea
    City High Middle School

    As the disparity between traditional and modern culture grows ever wider, certain cultural practices are viewed with increasing disapproval. Practices that were once accepted because of their traditional origins are now being reconsidered as outright human rights violations, tradition aside.
    Article 1 of the United Nations Charter states that the purpose of the United Nation is to respect “the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples” but also to promote “human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion”. These two motives can come into conflict when considering this issue, as it provides that all peoples have a right to establish their own statehood and systems of law, yet that all people are entitled to the same standard of rights and freedoms despite their religion.
    South Korea stands in full support of abolishing or reforming any and all practices violating international human and animal rights. It is the role of the United Nations to protect human rights regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or religion. This leaves room for no exemptions, including traditional practices.
    As has been observed with unsuccessful United Nations charters against female genital mutilation, the root of tradition behind many practices proves difficult to supplant. This is an essential consideration this Council faces when resolving this issue. South Korea believes that the resolution will need to not only enforce rulings through regional governments. It will also need to provide education on the human rights violations perpetrated by specific practices and develop reforms to allow for some traditions to be practiced without said violations.

  • Nhahn
    Nhahn November 14, 2018

    As a country, we in Columbia strongly denounce the practice of female genital mutilation. Counties such as Asia, Africa, and the middle east have high percentages of this gross and disturbing religious and cultural practice. According to the UNICEF, over 9 in 10 women in Somalia had this absurd procedure performed. Iraq and Oman also have ridiculously high percentages of this inhumane procedure.
    Many counties have taken major steps to ban female genital mutilation, but much of the world has not taken action. This torcher like practice must and will be stopped. Let it be known that Columbia will not stand for this egregious treatment of women.

  • NickW28
    NickW28 November 15, 2018

    Nicholas Wickerham
    Royal Oak High School
    The socialist republic of Vietnam recognized religion but religion is not granted state sponsorship by any means. Vietnam does not allow for any religious practices to take place that are harmful or detrimental to society. We believe in the the practice of religion to be separate from the state. We however will not be told by foreign nations or the UN what we can or can’t do in our country concerning religion. Vietnam has mostly tribal religions and we will not force conversions due to outside interference. We will support a resolution that does not sanction harmful religious practises and does not support state sponsored religion.

  • Superadmin
    Superadmin November 15, 2018

    SOCHUM- The Republic of Chile
    Controversial Cultural & Religious Practices
    Jaanaki Radhakrishnan- The Roeper School

    In many nations there is a clash between cultural and/or religious practices that significant portions of the society observe, and the law and custom of the nation as a whole. These clashes may pit one minority groups against another, a minority group against the majority, or the majority against governmental authorities. Chile acknowledges the legitimacy of the customs of diverse cultures and religions. However, it is simply not possible for a government to equally accommodate each of the many faiths present within its nation. Therefore, the Chilean government strives to serve each religion equitably. The majority of the Chilean population is Catholic (about 75%). Evangelical Protestant denominations are a significant religious group, more common within lower income communities. The Jewish community in Chile is approximately 1% of the population. There are also indigenous religions present within Chile. However, indigenous people only make up about 5% of the population, and only 6% of indigenous people identify as members of a non-Judeo-Christian religion.
    It is necessary to protect the traditions of minority cultures and religions. However, this should not take priority over protecting the rights of the people. It is critical that the basic human rights afforded to all people are held above all else. If a cultural or religious practice is in violation, direct or indirect, of the standard privileges that all human beings warrant, it must not be tolerated. In order to determine what is and is not a violation of the previously mentioned rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a highly beneficial resource. Thirty essential, inalienable human rights are described in this document. These provide an excellent guide indicating when a cultural or religious practice is too detrimental to human life to be accepted.
    So as to avoid insulting minority religious and cultural groups, and thereby eluding further conflict, much care should be taken before intervention into a cultural practice takes place. There must be thorough investigation into both the reasoning behind the practice in question as well as its effect on those involved and society as a whole. Furthermore, in cases in which it does not appear to be vital that a practice be stopped altogether, aid should be provided to those who do not wish to participate in them. If any peoples feel persecuted by a practice, systems should be established to extract them from potentially harmful situations and support them through rehabilitation.
    To summarize, The Republic of Chile supports immediate abolishment of cultural or religious practices if they contradict the Human Rights Charter. For cases in which the nature of a practice is unclear, Chile believes the situations should be handled delicately. Any and all decisions should be informed intensive investigation into the practice in question, as well as the point of view of the culture at hand. Within these parameters, the Republic of Chile is ready to work with other member nations in this committee to reach a consensus on how “Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices” be defined, and if so defined , how nations might regulate these practices using the least intrusive means.

  • Superadmin
    Superadmin November 15, 2018

    COUNTRY: People’s Republic of China
    TOPIC: Controversial Cultural and Religious Practices
    NAME: Elena Sofía Luna Palacio
    SCHOOL: Colegio Olinca

    The People’s Republic of China is known for having a culture filled with what is seen as controversial around the world.

    Since 1979, the government of China implemented the One Child Policy, which allowed, as its name implies, each family to have a single offspring. If not, punishments such as reduced wages and denying certain services were implemented. Moreover, this law was created with the objective of providing a better quality life and to ensure that the country would have enough resources for everyone.

    As a result, female infanticide, which means killing female babies mainly because of financial reasons, started to happen. Normally having a girl is seen more as a burden than anything else. Males usually have a better income. Their parents know that they will take care of them economically when they grow old. In addition, in certain areas, the bride’s family is forced to pay dowry when she gets married, creating a financial problem for them.

    As a result of this, nowadays China has one of the biggest differences in the male-female ratio; hence it was forced to get rid of the One Child Policy allowing a second child for each family. The country of China still faces this problematic, which has led to the banning of the usage of advanced technology that lets you to know the sex of the fetus and decide his or her future.

    Another matter that is of international concern is the consumption of dog meat and a festival that revolves around it. The “Yulin dog meat festival” is a celebration that lasts 10 days in which more than 10,000 dogs are eaten. According to ancient beliefs and folklore, eating it will bring you luck and good health, but it is said that the animals are slaughtered inhumanely and without the proper hygienic regulations.

    In addition to these, other animal have become endangered species because of its massive consumption. As an example we can mention puffer fish, an exotic animal found in Chinese gastronomy. Because of China’s highly effective fishing methods they are now in danger of extinction. Another example is the tiger, which used to be hunted in order to use its bones as medicine. This is thought to be one of the main reasons of its decreased population.
    China believes that all the practices should have a legal framework, but because they are part of the nation’s culture, they must be handled internally.

  • Burghart-C
    Burghart-C November 16, 2018

    Chauncey Burghart
    Saudi Arabia
    Social, Cultural, and Humanitarian
    City High Middle School

    There is little doubt that the protection of peoples’ cultures and traditions has been a consistent policy throughout the United Nations’ history and that because of these policies, a great deal of practices important to their respective cultures have been kept from extinction. These practices are important to their various cultures and religions and in spite of this, some concepts have brought them into controversy. These concepts, if accepted by the United Nations, would see the end of these important aspects of cultures. Saudi Arabia finds such a result ill-favored.
    Religious practices are of paramount importance in Saudi Arabia, so much so that they are heavily intertwined with its government. Saudi Arabia strictly follows the guidelines of Islamic Sharia Law, a legal and judicial system based upon the Islamic faith, which approximately 90% of its population identifies with. It is by no means the only state with this demographic. Countries such as Iran, Algeria, and Pakistan, as well as many others in northern Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, all follow the guidelines of Sharia law and have Muslim populations of more than 80%. In these countries, law and culture are one and the same, and as such, cannot be divided without immense difficulty. Policies of the United Nations that would seek to prohibit aspects of religion would, as a result of its connection to their governments, directly conflict with the laws of sovereign Islamic states. It is completely irrational to expect that Islamic states would be able to rewrite their government in accordance with a United Nations that supports defamation of aspects of the Islamic faith.
    The delegation of Saudi Arabia urges two solutions to the issue of controversial cultural and religious practices. The first solution, so as to avoid unnecessary and costly complications, would be that any action taken against such practices be oriented at practices not condoned by Islamic states. The second solution proposes that a committee that addresses controversial practices be sanctioned by the United Nations to which membership is not required. These solutions would protect the sovereignty of Islamic nations, while still allowing policies to be made that resolve the controversial issues.

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