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SOCHUM to shed light on humanitarian issues

By Cheryl Chin Kai Xin, Channel NewsAsia

Published: 18 Mar 2019 - 07:13 AM

A rainbow umbrella representing the LGBT community

A rainbow umbrella representing the LGBT community

Channel NewsAsia is a Singaporean news broadcaster targeted at Asian countries, owned by a local media company – Temasek Holdings. It is a right-wing news source as it censors any content deemed to be “against public interest, public order or national harmony” or any that can “offend good taste or decency”. Thus, it adheres to the interests of the Singaporean government and the nation so it is conservative.

The SOCHUM will be discussing about the issue of the illegal organ trade, an unethical practice that is still unknown to many individuals today.

The growing demand for organ transplants, due to its effectiveness in curing end-stage organ failure, and the scarcity of organ donors has resulted in people of lower socio-economic status being forced to give up their organs. Despite the higher organ donation rates in developed countries as compared to developing countries, this supply of organs cannot meet the staggering demand for transplants. More people from developed nations require organ transplants due to their unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles, which contribute to poor health and a higher risk of disease. This would cause people of developed countries to turn to illegal organ trade or transport tourism in developing nations. Thus, illegal organ trade concerns many countries, no matter how developed they are.

One major factor that caused the spike in the illegal organ trade is poverty. People of lower socio-economic status resort to selling their organs to illegal traders, in hopes of earning money, without understanding the consequences it can have on one’s health. These organs would then be exported to other countries to be used in organ transplants.

However, there is still limited awareness on this pressing issue, which could be attributed to the lack of information on illegal organ trade. There has been a shortage of movements to spread the message and ensure that the public understands the gravity of the situation. Fortunately, in 2017, SOCHUM has adopted the “Strengthening and promoting effective measures and internal cooperation on organ donation and transplantation to prevent and combat trafficking in persons for the purpose of organ removal and trafficking in human organs” resolution in order to reinforce the prevention of illegal organ trade by introducing laws that control organ trade. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) created a guideline for authorities to manage illegal organ trade as well. Delegates of SOCHUM will discuss about tightening security in developing countries and increasing the supply of organ transplants to solve this issue.

The SOCHUM will also discuss about the rights of the LGBTQIA community. Many members of the LGBTQIA community are ostracised and even abused physically as well as verbally. This discrimination and lack of acceptance usually stems from conservative views that can be seen in many nations and religious beliefs today. Homosexuality is still illegal in many countries, denying marriage equality and preventing LGBTQIA community members from adopting a child and starting a family. This shows how these people have their rights taken away due to their sexual orientation and gender identity.

It is a common trend that European and American countries advocate for LGBTQIA rights more. This is in contrast to Asian countries, where only a meagre number of states, including Taiwan and India, have made the first steps for LGBTQIA acceptance by legalising marriage equality and same-sex sexual activity. The reasons for why Asian countries are less open to the LGBTQIA community than their Western counterparts include religious beliefs and a more conservative older generation. Delegates of SOCHUM will be sharing solutions towards ensuring equal rights for the LGBTQIA community in various aspects including the workforce.