3rd Committee of the General Assembly

The Third Committee of the General Assembly (GA), is known commonly as the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee or SOCHUM. It has the broad mandate of helping protect human rights and fundamental freedoms with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as its main reference guide.

The Third Committee of the General Assembly was first assembled in 1948 and deals mainly with issues within the social and cultural framework of the member states. It also collaborates with various organizations to implement the Generl Assembly resolutions. All UN Member States are represented equally within the Committee. Thus, the SOCHUM allows space for varying experiences and positions, providing a forum for equitable discussions and negotiation among countries.

The Third Committee has made great strides in the advancement of oppressed peoples, having been the source of such landmark United Nations documents as the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. This document, drafted in 1971, is considered as fundamental to the rights of women, as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is to human rights. The Committee also focuses on other important social, humanitarian and human rights issues such as the protection of children, indigenous issues, the elimination of racism, the treatment of refuges and the promotion of the right of self-determination. The Committee also serves as the key forum for addressing important socio-economic questions such as crime prevention, criminal justice, and drug control.

The SOCHUM committee faces the challenges of dealing with the above diverse issues and with upholding the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level against a backdrop of ongoing social, economic and political change at the local level. There is an increased need to find a balance between the protection of human rights and the legitimate security, economic and social concerns of the States when developing strategies to deal with concerns facing the Committee.

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