General Assembly

Social, Cultural and Humanitarian Committee

Hello! Welcome to LiMUN 2017! My name is Lucrecia Gonzalez-Olaechea and I will be directing the SOCHUM committee on the topic of Indigenous Peoples this year. I am Peruvian and Panamanian, and have lived in 4 different countries throughout my life, giving me a unique interest in culture and diverse customs. I am currently studying in the PUCP, and will start Law shortly, gravitating towards international relations topics. Apart from studying, I love languages, currently working on my 5th, and love to travel every chance I get to. Additionally, I regard music and art as very important aspects of my life, having passed through various instruments and art expressions. My “MUN career” started in high-school, participating in local MUNs including LiMUN 2014, as well as international debates, going to Boston for HMUN 2014. I have now been a part of Peruvian Universities for two years and have participated in WorldMUN 2016 in the Legal Committee in Rome, HNMUN-LA 2017 in UNEP in Lima and WorldMUN 2017 in SOCHUM in Montreal, getting a Diplomacy Award, an Outstanding Delegate award and a Verbal Commendation, respectively. The topic for SOCHUM this year lends itself for a multidimensional, rich debate, where I will look forward to seeing strategy, innovation and, most of all, diplomatic leadership reflecting LiMUN Spirit!

Topic: Indigenous people and their right to land

Indigenous Peoples and their right to land is a controversial topic worldwide. These communities, which constitute more than 370 million people in 70 countries, have struggled throughout history to be regarded as equals. Progress has been slow, yet the UN now contains a declaration of rights of indigenous peoples (UNDRIP) and the ILO Convention 169, which includes the matter of land rights. Yet, these have been ratified by relatively small number of Member States. However, tribal and indigenous peoples not only have the social and cultural problem of endangered customs and languages, as well as discrimination, but their right to land and their customs regarding them are breached worldwide at an alarming rate. Even though they have spearheaded campaigns for further change, the importance that Member States and societies give the economy is drowning their efforts. When land used by indigenous communities contain an exploitable nature, conflicts repeatedly arise because of not recognizing the land as being owned by these communities or being contaminated by extracting companies. Yet, if the land constitutes a rich opportunity for economic growth for the Member State, can states offer other land? Is their customary land ownership enough to refuse land exploitation in these conditions? Is it possible to find a balance between economic opportunities regarding land and the protection of indigenous communities from contamination and disregard?