United Nations Human Rights Council
In accordance with the definition provided by UNICEF, a child soldier is “any child, boy or girl, under the age of 18, who is part of any kind of regular or irregular armed group in any capacity.” In many parts of the world, thousands of children who fit this definition are currently being exploited by armed groups for purposes ranging from military use to forced sexual intercourse.
Regardless of the case, it is important to consider that this issue creates many immediate concerns such as increased risk of child deaths, injuries, and sexual abuse, in addition to longer-term effects including psychological and emotional negative impacts leading to increased attempts of suicide, alcohol and substance abuse, violent conduct, and decreased mental health in the future.
Therefore, in this committee, members of the United Nations Human Rights Council shall focus not only on protecting the rights of children in areas where these forms of child abuse are present and on preventing the future recruitment of child soldiers by armed groups (both forced and voluntary), but also on the many other critical facets related to the topic of “child soldiers.” This includes addressing the involvement of specific types of armed groups in the exploitations of children such as terrorist organizations and drug trafficking organizations, and also discussing the ways in which female child soldiers are directly impacted in particular.
Welcome to the United Nations Human Rights Council! My name is Fernando Urbina, and I am beyond excited to be serving as your director for HMUN 2020.
I am a sophomore at Harvard College studying Government with a secondary field in either Latino Studies or Ethnicity, Migration, & Rights. I went to high school in Paw Paw, Michigan, where we unfortunately did not have our own Model United Nations team. However, since arriving on campus at Harvard, I have become very active with the Model United Nations community. As a first-year student, I was an assistant director for the Special Session on Terrorism in the General Assembly during HMUN 2019, and was also an Assistant Director of Business at Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN) 2019, HMUN’s sister conference for college students. This year, in addition to being your director for the United Nations Human Rights Council, I also have the immense pleasure of serving as the Under-Secretary-General for Business of HNMUN 2020 and will be directing a Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural (SOCHUM) committee at HMUN China in the spring. What I love most about Model United Nations is the platform that it gives students for actively discussing major global challenges that affect not just themselves but society at large, while simultaneously permitting them to develop friendships, leadership, and communication skills both inside and outside of the committee room. And while I absolutely love Model United Nations, I also enjoy being a member of the Institute of Politics, the Harvard Undergraduate Council Executive Cabinet, and watching the Food Network on Hulu.
I am especially thrilled to get to meet all of you in the United Nations Human Rights Council, and can not wait to hear you tackle some of the world’s most important issues together. I hope that your passions for human rights in general come through in committee sessions, and that we are able to have an incredibly fun time throughout the entire weekend which will also be filled with lots of learning and productive solution-focused work.
Once again, I can not wait to meet all of you during what will hopefully be one of the most memorable weekends of your lives for years to come! If you have any concerns or questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out and contact me
Director, United Nations Human Rights Council
Harvard Model United Nations 2020