Special Political and Decolonization Committee

 
 

Topic Summary

Topic: Human Rights and Multinational Corporations

During this session of HMUN, the Special, Political and Decolonization Committee will be focused on the topic of human rights and multinational corporations, specifically examining how exploitative economic relationships around the world result in abuses of human rights. Using knowledge of international legal frameworks and existing U.N. mechanisms, delegates will use several case studies involving indigenous or marginalized peoples and major Western multinational corporations (i.e. Wiwa v. Royal Dutch Shell Co.) as the foundation for debate and discussion, ultimately developing proposals with the goal of curbing human rights violations without largely disrupting the international economy.

As a delegate, you will have to keep in mind the multitude of dilemmas that these scenarios will present, and be ready to create bold, creative proposals to address these issues. Should the international community focus on strengthening legal mechanisms to address abuses, or are economic or political tools more effective at creating change and disrupting the status quo? How can the United Nations focus on protecting and supporting victims and penalizing violators while respecting the sanctity of individual communities/populations as well as the regulations of the international marketplace? What are the responsibilities of national, regional, and local governments in locations where human rights abuses are committed by foreign corporations? Questions like these and many more are complicated and multidimensional, and the need for answers is paramount in a world facing rising income inequality alongside record profits for Western corporations.

Director’s Letter

Dear Delegates,

Welcome! My name is Parker Mas, and I am thrilled to be your Director of the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (SPECPOL) at HMUN 2020! While this is only my second HMUN, I am excited to bring my experience as a three-year Model U.N. participant in high school and as Assistant Director of the Legal Committee at HMUN 2019 to the latest iteration of our conference.

I was born and raised in Belchertown, Massachusetts, a small, rural community in the western part of the Bay State. Growing up, I ran cross-country and track, played piano, drums, and even a little ukulele, and raised and showed rabbits competitively across New England (yes, it’s a real thing, and it’s worth a Google). At Harvard, I live in Mather House and am planning on concentrating in Government with a Secondary in Educational Studies. I absolutely love studying political science here at Harvard, but even more so, I enjoy sharing what I learn on campus with others! Outside of the classroom, I am involved with the Harvard CIVICS program, in which I have the opportunity to teach civics lessons to elementary school students on a weekly basis. Additionally, I am on the board of the Harvard Undergraduate BGLTQ+ Business/Pre-Professional Society and will be working as a research assistant on work related to international relations and political decision making.

This past summer, I worked for one of my elected officials, Massachusetts State Senator Eric Lesser, but when I had any down time, you could find me at the beach, running around town, or visiting Boston and New York City. While you are all here, I highly recommend trying one of Cambridge’s newest eateries, &pizza, which has some of the best pizza in the Square (and more toppings than you could imagine in one place). When I’m not eating, traveling, or running, though I’m probably at a show. I’m an avid lover of live music and take every opportunity to see my favorite artists in concert! Over the past year, I’ve gotten to see Halsey, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and Khalid live, and am excited to see even more shows in Boston this year.

At one point in my life, my conception of the fight for human rights was fairly simplistic and misrepresentative – “bad” organizations exploiting and harming others, typically from poorer areas of the world, for some kind of gain, necessitating intervention from “good” Western nations. As such, my goal with this committee is not only for delegates to gain a greater understanding of the role of the United Nations and the international community in protecting and strengthening human rights around the globe, but also to better understand the nuance and complexity that is involved in the work that is human rights advocacy, where legitimate cultural, political, and ethnic differences often blur the lines between imperialism and intervention. I cannot wait to meet you all and see the impressive ideas and proposals you will bring to conference in January!

Welcome to HMUN 2020 and SPECPOL!

 

Best,

Parker Mas

Director, Special Political and Decolonization Committee

specpol@harvardmun.org