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In a half day of intense action, the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) approved eight draft resolutions covering a range of human rights issues, from the right to literacy and protection of children from sexual exploitation to matters of crime prevention and criminal justice as well as efforts to combat the glorification of Nazism.

Amid spirited debate, the Committee approved a draft resolution on combating the glorification of Nazism by a recorded vote of 105 in favour to 52 against, with 15 abstentions, following the approval of an amendment to the draft – proposed by Australia, Japan, Liberia and North Macedonia – by a recorded vote of 63 in favour to 23 against, with 65 abstentions.  The draft resolution would have the Assembly express deep concern about the glorification of the Nazi movement, neo-Nazism and former members of the Waffen SS organization, including by erecting monuments and holding public demonstrations in glorification of the Nazi past.

Introducing the text, the Russian Federation’s delegate voiced concern over an increase in racist and xenophobic rhetoric, calls to deport migrants and refugees, Islamophobia, Afrophobia and antisemitism.

Several delegates took to the floor to express concerns over Moscow’s attempt to exploit the pretext of combating neo-Nazism to justify its brutal war against Ukraine, with Ukraine’s delegate asserting that the draft has nothing in common with the genuine fight against Nazism and neo-Nazism.  Echoing his concerns, the United Kingdom’s delegate stressed that the resolution is part of Moscow’s attempt to justify its aggression against Ukraine by furthering lies and distorting history.

The United States’ delegate called the resolution “a cynical attempt” of Moscow to further its geopolitical aims by invoking the Holocaust and Second World War.  In the same vein, Australia’s delegate called Moscow’s weaponization of the Holocaust and Nazism unacceptable.

Meanwhile, several delegates disassociated from the amendment, which notes with alarm that the Russian Federation seeks to justify its territorial aggression against Ukraine on the purported basis of eliminating neo-Nazism.  Rejecting the amendment, as it politicizes the issue of elimination of racism while introducing a narrow, country-specific approach, the delegate of the Russian Federation said that “this is a thematic resolution, not a country-resolution”.  In a similar vein, Malaysia’s delegate cautioned that the amendment has shifted the focus of the text away from a thematic resolution to attack specific countries. 

Nicaragua’s delegate rejected attempts to politicize the resolution, citing double standards.  The delegate of Belarus, recalling that more than 60 million citizens of the anti-Hitler coalition gave their lives to defeat fascism, criticized the amendment as an attempt to erode memory of the victory over fascism.

In other action, the Committee approved by consensus a draft resolution on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, by which the Assembly would stress the urgent need to enhance their adaptive capacity to climate change.  Among other provisions, it would urge Governments to ensure that Indigenous Peoples are not forcibly removed from their territories and that no relocation takes place without their free and informed consent.

Addressing the draft, the representative of New Zealand, speaking also on behalf of Australia and Canada, called for partnerships with Indigenous Peoples to advance reconciliation and address inequalities nationally.

Meanwhile, several delegations, including Libya, Iraq, Egypt and Malaysia, disassociated from the term “multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination” contained in paragraphs 11, 12 and 20 of the draft.  The United Kingdom’s delegate noted that, except for the rights of self-determination, her State does not accept the concept of collective human rights in international law. 

Also today, the Committee approved by consensus a draft resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age, by which the General Assembly would call on States to regularly review their procedures regarding the surveillance of communications, the use of profiling and biometric technologies, as well as establish independent oversight mechanisms ensuring accountability for State surveillance.

Among other draft resolutions approved by consensus today were three drafts focused on matters of crime prevention and criminal justice, including texts on reducing reoffending through rehabilitation, protecting children from sexual exploitation and abuse, and follow-up to the Fourteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

In addition, the Committee approved by consensus today draft resolutions on literacy and on enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 10 November, to continue its work.

Action

Turning to literacy, the representative of Mongolia introduced the draft resolution titled “Literacy for life: shaping future agendas” (document A/C.3/77/L.16/Rev.1), which he noted contains no budget implications.  He expressed deep concern that the 87 per cent global literacy rate means that 770 million people lack basic literacy skills.  Noting the literacy gender gap and that during the COVID‑19 pandemic 90 per cent of adult literacy programmes were suspended, he underscored the importance of equal access to education and digital tools to bridge the digital divide.  

Speaking before the vote, the representative of the United States said his country remains focused on education domestically and abroad.  Recalling that education matters are determined primarily at local levels, he said his delegation understands that reform will occur with respect to federal and local authorities. 

The Committee then approved “L.16” without a vote, by which the General Assembly would stress the importance of children and youth returning to school who are still out of school due to the coronavirus disease (COVID‑19) pandemic.  It would express deep concern about the gender gap in education as nearly two-thirds of the world’s non-literate adults are women.  Further, the Assembly would express concern that one-third of children not attending school have disabilities and that the literacy rate among adults with disabilities is as low as 3 per cent in some countries.  It would urge Member States to take measures to ensure training for educational professionals in digital literacy as well as access to remote learning platforms to provide distance learning opportunities in developing countries. 

Speaking after the vote, the representative of Nigeria echoed Mongolia’s concerns, adding that literacy must not only be evaluated in foreign adopted languages, but Indigenous languages as well.  Her country has established literacy evaluation in Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo, reflecting its linguistic diversity.  She underscored the importance of bridging the digital divide, especially in developing countries. 

The representative of Angola then introduced the draft resolution titled “Enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees” (document A/C/3/77/L.37), which the Chair noted has no programme budget implications.  He expressed deep concern about the growing number of refugees and displaced persons globally, highlighting risks for women, girls and persons with disabilities.  He called on States to cooperate in achieving full implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees, especially regarding burden-sharing.  

The Committee then approved “L.37” without a vote, by which the Assembly would decide to increase the number of members of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 107 to 108 States.  It would also request the Economic and Social Council to elect the additional member at a meeting of its management segment in 2023. 

The Committee next took up the draft resolution titled “Rights of Indigenous Peoples” (document A/C.3/77/L.20/Rev.1), which the Chair noted contains no programme budget implications.

The representative of Bolivia, introducing draft resolution “L.20/Rev.1”,  said that the text mentions for the first time that those who are voluntarily isolated have the right to self-determination and to live in accordance with their traditions.  The draft urges States and the private sector to guarantee more sustainable practices and address their impact on Indigenous Peoples as well as the lands and territories traditionally inhabited by them, she said, pointing also to the need to revitalize Indigenous languages.  Noting that one of the changes in “L.20/Rev.1” in the English version is the use of capital letters for “Indigenous Peoples”, she urged the Secretariat to ensure that these changes are reflected in all official languages.

The Committee then approved “L.20/Rev.1” without a vote, by which the Assembly would express deep concern that suicide rates in Indigenous Peoples’ communities are often significantly higher than in the general population.  It would urge Governments and the United Nations to take measures to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  Further, the Assembly would stress the urgent need to enhance Indigenous Peoples’ adaptive capacity to climate change and support their efforts to address it. 

Also by the text, the Assembly would urge States to ensure the safety of Indigenous Peoples, promoting an enabling environment in which human rights violations are prevented, perpetrators held accountable and access to justice and remedy ensured.  It would also urge Governments to ensure that Indigenous Peoples are not forcibly removed from their territories and that no relocation takes place without their free, prior and informed consent.

Addressing the draft, the representative of New Zealand, speaking also on behalf of Australia and Canada, recognized that implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples remains a work in progress in her group.  Highlighting partnerships with Indigenous Peoples to advance reconciliation and address inequalities nationally, she mentioned efforts to enhance their participation in policymaking.  She said States must work to counter multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination that disproportionately affect Indigenous Peoples.

The representative of Hungary pointed to preambular paragraph 10 and operational paragraph 20.  These  contain references to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which his State does not belong to, and to data collection by gender, respectively.  Hungary joined consensus on the resolution but would like to dissociate itself from those paragraphs, he said.

The representative of Romania, speaking also on behalf of Bulgaria, France and Slovakia, noting that Indigenous Peoples are too often victims of human rights violations, stressed the need to recognize individual rights and reject all forms of discrimination.  She added that her group remains committed to the effective promotion of human rights of all Indigenous Peoples.

The representative of India said that the concept of Indigenous Peoples is not applicable in his country’s context, adding that it joins consensus on the resolution with this understanding.

The representative of Senegal, highlighting use in the text of the terms “multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination on health services”, dissociated from such terms.

The representative of the United Kingdom said that Indigenous individuals are entitled to the full protection of their human rights on an equal basis with other individuals.  She said that, except for the rights of self-determination, her State does not accept the concept of collective human rights in international law.  Individuals within groups shall not be left unprotected by allowing the rights of the group to supersede the human rights of the individual.  Her State understands any internationally agreed reference to the rights of Indigenous Peoples as those rights bestowed at the national level by Governments to Indigenous Peoples.

The representative of Libya said that his State cannot accept contradictory concepts that go against national legislation and cultural and religious specificities of countries, like Libya.  Therefore, he disassociated his country from paragraphs 11, 12 and 20.

The representative of Iraq said her country joined consensus on the resolution, stressing that its understanding of  the term “multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination” referred to in paragraphs 11, 12 and 20 does not refer to any non-consensual concepts.

The representative of Malaysia said the text features terminology that is inconsistent with Malaysia’s position, expressing reservations on and dissociation from the term “multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination”, in paragraphs 11, 12 and 20, which he did not recognize as agreed language.

The observer for the Holy See said the Catholic Church is committed to promoting Indigenous cultures through specific spiritual accompaniment and concrete measures of support.  He added that it is regrettable the text includes unclear terms and expressions that lack intergovernmentally agreed definitions as well as problematic terminology related to discrimination.  He expressed reservations on references to gender.

The representative of Egypt said the text contains controversial references and terminology in paragraphs 11, 12 and 20, dissociating her country from them.

The Committee next took up the draft resolution titled “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” (document A/C.3/77/L.5), which the Chair noted contained no programme budget implications. 

The representative of the Russian Federation, presenting the draft, said his delegation wants to propose an oral amendment, adding a new paragraph to operational paragraph 2.  In 1945, Member States of the anti-Hitler coalition won a great victory over Nazism.  Thanks to this victory, the current United Nations and the modern system of the promotion of human rights were created.  The decision at the Nuremberg tribunal legally enshrined this victory over Nazism.  Issues highlighted by the proposed resolution have worsened, he cautioned, pointing to racist and xenophobic rhetoric, calls to deport migrants and refugees, Islamophobia, Afrophobia and antisemitism.  Voicing concern over the war against the memorials of those who fought Nazism and fascism, he said that in the very heart of Europe, the world is witnessing marches of neo-Nazis in honour of those who actively collaborated with Nazis and are complicit in their crimes.  The adoption of this resolution will truly contribute to eradicating racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia, he concluded. 

The Committee then took up draft amendment “L.52”, which inserts a new operative paragraph, reading:  “Notes with alarm that the Russian Federation has sought to justify its territorial aggression against Ukraine on the purported basis of eliminating neo-Nazism, and underlines that the pretextual use of neo-Nazism to justify territorial aggression seriously undermines genuine attempts to combat neo-Nazism.” 

The representative of Australia said he and his co-sponsors sought to officially table two amendments, “L.52”, and “L.51”, which restored an operative paragraph that the Russian Federation removed that took note of the report of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.  Although his country expressed its willingness to engage constructively, the Russian Federation did not reciprocate the gesture and cancelled all informal meetings to discuss the resolution on 25 October, he said.  However, he added that they have since restored the paragraph through an oral revision to the text; therefore, he would withdraw “L.51”. 

Turning to “L.52”, which contains language used by the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in her report, he said that, although the resolution is intended to combat the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism, racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia, the Russian Federation “is doing the exact opposite”.  He condemned attempts by that country to utilize the resolution to justify its invasion of Ukraine. 

The representative of the Czech Republic, speaking on behalf of the European Union as well as candidate country Ukraine, said that while the text has been presented as a technical rollover, it initially omitted references to the report of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, for reasons that are clear and cannot be justified by technicalities.  Such actions constitute “a blatant instrumentalization of human rights concerns”, he said, emphasizing that the Russian Federation has used the false narrative of denazification to justify its breach of the United Nations Charter and its violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of an independent State. 

The representative of North Macedonia stated that the sponsor of the resolution, the Russian Federation, has “officially and publicly” justified its war of aggression by stating it is carrying out a so-called denazification of Ukraine.  Recalling that an official statement was made to this effect a week ago by a Russian State agency, which counted this pretext as one of four reasons for its special operation, he called such language the “propaganda leitmotif of the aggressor” and a “weapon in the hands of the aggressor”.  North Macedonia will therefore vote in favour of the amendment and calls on others to do the same.

The representative of Liberia expressed concern that the resolution was being used as a tool of disinformation by the Russian Federation to justify its territorial aggression against Ukraine.  Such a manipulation of a human rights concern is unacceptable, which is why Liberia co-tabled the draft amendment and calls on all States to vote “yes”.

The representative of the Russian Federation said he did not support draft amendment “L.52” and called on delegations to vote against it.  He underscored his country’s willingness to engage in constructive negotiations, adding that a large part of the draft resolution is a result of compromise, which reflects their willingness to engage on matters of substance, not political considerations.  Questioning why the authors of the amendment did not discuss it during open consultations and instead submitted it at the last minute, thereby politicizing the topic of neo-Nazism, he stressed:  “This is a thematic resolution, not a country-resolution.”  He stressed the need for dialogue instead of labelling and pigeonholing.  The sponsors of “L.52” are trying to drive a wedge between States, he said, calling on Members of the Committee to stand up to their provocation and vote against the amendment.

The representative of Azerbaijan, speaking in explanation of vote, said she will vote against “L.52”.

The Committee then took up draft amendment “L.52”, which inserts a new operative paragraph, reading:  “Notes with alarm that the Russian Federation has sought to justify its territorial aggression against Ukraine on the purported basis of eliminating neo-Nazism, and underlines that the pretextual use of neo-Nazism to justify territorial aggression seriously undermines genuine attempts to combat neo-Nazism”.  The draft amendment was adopted by a recorded vote of 63 in favour to 23 against, with 65 abstentions.

The representative of Armenia said that the resolution recognizes the patriotism of those who laid down their lives to liberate their countries, including the anti-Hitler coalition, which brought together countries with different political systems.  Upholding their immortal feat is powerful; therefore, Armenia categorically rejects the targeted political campaign to alter the outcomes of World War Two and to attribute equal responsibility to Nazi countries and the anti-Hitler coalition.  The vandalism of memorials in territories where World War Two battles took place is indefensible.

The representative of Canada said her country indisputably and stridently opposes the glorification of Nazism; however, it condemns the indefensible use of the resolution by the Russian Federation to justify its invasion of Ukraine.  The use of such false narratives undermines attempts to battle Nazism and neo-Nazism, as well as racism and intolerance.  Further, she stated that the text as a whole is problematic and regretted the lack of opportunity to engage in its context during informal sessions.  Canada condemns racial intolerance and has ratified relevant international Conventions in this regard.

The representative of the United Kingdom, voicing deep concern over the presentation of this resolution, condemned the glorification of Nazism and neo-Nazism.  The resolution, however, is part of Moscow’s attempt to justify its aggression against Ukraine by furthering lies and distorting history.  He expressed alarm at Moscow’s instrumentalization of legitimate human rights concerns raised by neo-Nazism mobilization to create a pretext for its war in Ukraine.  By doing so, the Russian Federation undermines genuine attempts to combat neo-Nazism around the world.  Rejecting Moscow’s distortion of history and manipulation of the truth for political purposes, he noted that the Russian delegation hosted only one meeting on this resolution and failed to respond to concerns raised by numerous States.  Their claims to engage seriously on this topic are performative, he cautioned, expressing support for the amendment “L.52”.  President Vladimir Putin absurdly claims that he is denazifying Ukraine, he asserted, adding that his delegation will vote against the resolution to stop the further instrumentalization of human rights concerns to justify the illegal invasion of Ukraine.

The representative of the United States, opposing Moscow’s disinformation narrative, categorically condemned the glorification of Nazism and all modern forms of violent extremism, antisemitism, and xenophobia.  Opposing Moscow’s use of the United Nations system to spread disinformation, he called the resolution a cynical attempt by Moscow to further its geopolitical aims by invoking the Holocaust and Second World War.  The resolution is not a serious attempt to combat Nazism, antisemitism, and xenophobia, but a shameful political plot to justify Moscow’s war of aggression in Ukraine.  Pretextual use of fighting neo-Nazism undermines genuine attempts to combat neo-Nazism, he stressed, calling on Moscow to cease immediately its use of force against Ukraine and withdraw its forces.

The representative of Ukraine reaffirmed his country’s strongest condemnation of all forms of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other types of racism.  The draft has nothing in common with the genuine fight against Nazism and neo-Nazism, he underscored, adding that, by submitting it, Moscow attempts to exploit the pretext of combating neo-Nazism to justify its brutal war against Ukraine.  Comparing the Russian Federation to “a compulsory rapist who is in the middle of a heinous act of violence”, he said his delegation will vote against the draft.

The representative of Japan, noting that his delegation will vote against the resolution, reiterated his country’s condemnation of Moscow’s efforts to manipulate this resolution to justify its invasion of Ukraine.

A recorded vote was then requested.

The Committee then adopted draft resolution “L.5” by a recorded vote of 105 in favour to 52 against, with 15 abstentions.

By its terms, the Assembly would express alarm at the spread in many parts of the world of various extremist political parties, movements and ideologies, including neo-Nazis and skinhead groups.  It would note with concern that the presence of extreme right-wing ideologues can inject into political discourse the same ideologies that make neo-Nazism and extremism so dangerous.  The Assembly would also express deep concern about the glorification of the Nazi movement, neo-Nazism and former members of the Waffen SS organization, which include erecting monuments and holding public demonstrations in glorification of the Nazi past.

Further to the text, the Assembly would condemn incidents that glorify Nazism, such as acts involving pro-Nazi graffiti and paintings, including on monuments dedicated to victims of the Second World War.  It would express alarm over the use by extremist groups, including neo-Nazi groups, of the Internet and social media to recruit new members, especially targeting children and young people, and to disseminate their hate-filled messages.  Also by the draft, the Assembly would condemn any denial of the Holocaust as well as any manifestation of religious intolerance or violence based on ethnic origin or religious belief.  The Assembly would request the Special Rapporteur to prepare for submission to the General Assembly at its 78th session and to the Human Rights Council at its 53rd session reports on implementation of the present resolution.

The representative of Mali, speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, said his delegation voted in favour of the resolution.

The representative of Singapore said his country is committed to eliminating racism in all its forms.  However, an issue of such crucial importance should not be politicized or instrumentalized, especially in today’s context, he said, adding that his delegation voted in favour.  Singapore’s support for this resolution should be seen in the context of the country’s consistent support for international law and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, he added.

The representative of Venezuela, stressing that the amendment does not contribute to the goal of the resolution, disassociated himself from amendment “L.52” and reiterated his full support to the rest of the content of the resolution.

The representative of Nicaragua rejected attempts to politicize the resolution, which divert attention away from eradicating all harmful ideologies, as well as selective approaches and double standards.  He disassociated from the proposed operative paragraph, which undermines all efforts to fight against Nazism.

The representative of Croatia, associating with the European Union, said his country unequivocally condemns all forms of extremist and totalitarian ideologies.  For years, Moscow has been using this resolution to attack and accuse of Nazism the very European States that suffered so greatly from it, he emphasized, condemning its invasion of Ukraine under the guise of combatting neo-Nazism.  Since Croatia cannot subscribe to Moscow’s definition of neo-Nazism, his delegation voted against the resolution.

The representative of Australia called unacceptable the weaponization of the Holocaust and Nazism by the Russian Federation in justifying its illegal aggression against the people of Ukraine.  Condemning Moscow’s efforts to utilize and manipulate this resolution to justify its invasion of Ukraine, he said his delegation voted against the resolution.

The representative of Slovenia, associating with the European Union, detailed his country’s history of fighting Nazism and condemned Moscow’s attempt to blatantly instrumentalize this resolution to justify a war against a sovereign country.  His delegation voted against the resolution, he added.

The representative of Guatemala, noting his delegation voted in favour of the draft, voiced concern about the Special Rapporteur’s report on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

The representative of Cuba, condemning all forms of Nazism, hate speech, and discrimination, said his delegation voted against the amendment “L.52”, which introduced an element that dilutes consensus within collective efforts to fight against Nazism and neo-Nazism.  He disassociated himself from the new operative paragraph 3, introduced as a result of the amendment in question.

The representative of Iceland, on behalf of the Nordic Baltic Countries, stressing that the aggression against Ukraine is a violation of international law, expressed deep concern, not only about the content of the resolution, but about the abhorrent context in which the resolution is being presented.  The resolution is used as an instrument of Moscow’s justification for illegal and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine.  The Nordic Baltic Countries voted against the resolution, he added.

The representative of Sri Lanka said the amendment “L.52” politicizes the issue of elimination of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia and thereby has introduced a narrow, country-specific approach within a thematic resolution.  His country disassociates itself from the amendment adopted and voted in favour of the resolution “L.5”, he added.

The representative of the Russian Federation said that, despite attempts to politicize this issue, Member States showed a principled position and supported the adoption of the resolution.  The goal of the amendment “L.52” was to undermine the adoption of this resolution, he stressed, distancing his delegation from the amendment.

The representative of Israel underscored that neo-Nazism is more than just a glorification of a past movement, adding that it is a contemporary phenomenon with a strong interest in racial inequality and antisemitism.  Israel voted in favour of the resolution; however, that should not be seen as a green light for countries to use unacceptable comparisons with Nazi ideology or the Holocaust in the context of the war in Ukraine.  In this context, she rejected any politicization or trivialization of the Holocaust.

The representative of Belarus, recalling that the death camp in Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet soldiers, said that, in total, more than 60 million citizens of the anti-Hitler coalition gave their lives to defeat fascism, including 2 million Belarusian citizens.  Criticizing any attempt to erode memory of the victory as well as politicize this topic, he disassociated from the operative paragraph that was introduced in the politically motivated amendment “L.52”.

The representative of Switzerland, condemning all forms of racism, including Nazism and neo-Nazism, stressed that Moscow sought to justify its military aggression against Ukraine on the pretext of eliminating neo-Nazism.  He strongly rejected the so-called “denazification” of Ukraine by the Russian federation, noting also that the text deforms the obligations of Member States regarding international human rights law.  His delegation abstained, he added.

The representative of Viet Nam, condemning all forms of racial discrimination and violence, said his delegation voted in favour of the resolution.  However, he disassociated himself from the amendment introduced in the text, stressing the importance of non-selectivity, impartiality, and non-politicization.

The representative of Malaysia, stressing that extremist ideologies must not be permitted to flourish, noted that his delegation voted in favour of the draft.  However, amendment “L.52” – now part of the resolution – has shifted the focus of the text away from a thematic resolution to attack specific countries, he noted, disassociating from the amendment.  The representative of Czechia, on behalf of the European Union, noting that Ukraine also associated with his statement, said the most devastating part of Europe’s history has been the result of totalitarian ideologies, including neo-Nazism.  Under the false pretext of fighting Nazism, Moscow has brought war back to Europe, he asserted, rejecting the inappropriate term of “denazification” of Ukraine to justify its illegal war against Ukraine.  Member States of the European Union voted against the resolution “L.5”, he added.

The representative of South Africa stressed that thematic debates and resolutions are not the forum for examining country-specific issues, adding:  “Such a direction dilutes the value of an important resolution, politicizes human rights and attempts to use the resolution to undermine multilateralism.”  Criticism should be applied fairly and equally, he said, adding that racial discrimination is a structural issue and must not be used for political purposes.  He went on to reaffirm his country’s co-sponsorship of the resolution, to recognize it as pillar of the global fight against racism and to disassociate from the paragraph added by amendment “L.52”.

The representative of Spain, aligning with the European Union, speaking in her national capacity, recalled that her country was the first to suffer from expansionist Nazi policies in the 1930s and fought against Nazism throughout the course of World War Two, noting that many Spaniards lost their lives in the Mauthausen extermination camp.  Spain is committed to democratic values and condemns Nazi ideologies.  It has introduced a number of laws on historic memory as a tribute to those who fought Nazism and has also introduced instruments to condemn racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia.  However, she said it is a “perversion” for the Russian Federation to use the United Nations Charter to justify its violation through the pretext of so-called denazification, which is why Spain voted against the resolution, alongside other countries of the European Union, in defense of the United Nations Charter.

The representative of Colombia voted in favour of the resolution, in line with its long-standing position supporting the text, and voted against the amendment that sought to politicize it.

The representative of Algeria said his country voted in favour of the text and abstained from the vote on the amendment to prevent the politicization of human rights issues.  Member States ought to abide by objectivity and non-selectivity and coordinate with concerned States during informal consultations.

The representative of Austria, aligning with the European Union, said his country rejects all forms of totalitarianism, racism and intolerance.  Nazism is severely penalized in Austrian law, and the fight against antisemitism is also a key priority.  He went on to condemn the Russian Federation’s illegal war of aggression and rejected its inaccurate use of “denazification” in the text to justify the war.  The European Union engaged actively and constructively in negotiations, given the topic’s importance; however, its concerns have gone unaddressed year after year.  In the past, Austria abstained; however, this year is different due to the use of the text by one country that inflicts war on another, he said, adding that his country therefore voted against the resolution.

The representative of Italy, aligning with the European Union, expressed regret that the text does not address racism in an impartial, balanced and comprehensive manner.  The fight against racism should not be employed for political uses.  Italy condemns arguments put forth to justify the Russian Federation’s illegal war against Ukraine, which is having dire impacts on Ukraine and the world.  Therefore, Italy voted against the resolution.

The representative of Indonesia voted in favour of the resolution, stating that her country’s commitment to eliminating racial discrimination is fundamental due to the diverse beliefs and backgrounds of its people.  However, she expressed regret about the “cherry-picking” of language from the Special Rapporteur’s report, which politicizes the text and undermines the spirit of cooperation.

The representative of New Zealand expressed concern about the resolution, stating that the Russian Federation is seeking to use it as a vehicle to promote its false narrative, which is why her country co-sponsored the amendment “L.52”.  She expressed regret that there has been no attempt to broaden the scope of the text to reflect more forms of racism and xenophobia, and she stressed the need for a more inclusive and intersectional approach.

The representative of Eritrea expressed disappointment with attempts to politicize the text through the introduction of amendments that refer to a specific country, stating that such a practice establishes a dangerous precedent.  Therefore, Eritrea disassociates from the amendment “L.5” while voting in favour of the resolution as a whole.

The delegate of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea rejected attempts to target individual countries by introducing politicizing amendments, and therefore disassociates with the paragraph concerned.

The representative of Albania welcomed the amendments to the text, but pointed out that it could have been more substantive.  The Russian Federation has demonstrated that the resolution is not about combating Nazism, but is an attempt to rewrite history and use it to justify war.  Therefore, Albania voted against the resolution.

The representative of Ecuador deplored the use of anti-Nazism to justify a devastating war that does not facilitate efforts to uphold human rights.  Ecuador will continue to defend efforts to combat racism and intolerance; however, it abstained due to the politicization of such issues.

The representative of Ethiopia underlined the need to remain undivided in combating racism and intolerance.  Her country therefore disassociates from the amendment contained in “L.52” as it introduces a country-specific amendment to the thematic topic and weakens the fight against racism and intolerance.

The representative of Syria voted against “L.52”, which mentions a specific country in a thematic resolution, which is unacceptable and constitutes an attempt to politicize the text.

The representative of China said that Member States should use their voices to solve problems rather than complicate the situation.  The resolution is a thematic one, but unfortunately, a small number of countries have been fanatically engaged in acting against developing countries and introducing country-specific issues into amendments.  Therefore, China disassociates from “L.52”.

The representative of Burundi wished to withdraw their vote from amendment “L.52”.

The representative of Egypt said they voted in favour of the resolution as adopted.

Next, the representative of Brazil introduced the draft resolution titled “The right to privacy in the digital age” (document A/C.3/77/L.38), which the Chair noted contains no budget implications.  He highlighted updates to the text to include language on vulnerable groups and keep pace with new technologies as well as a focus on the right to privacy regarding facial recognition technology, algorithms and blockchains.  Alluding to the COVID‑19 pandemic, the text also includes language on health crises.  This resolution is an example of complementarity between the Human Rights Committee and the Human Rights Council, he said.

Addressing the draft, the representative of Germany said that new technologies can change and improve lives, but also increasingly expose individuals to human rights violations.  Human rights must be protected online as they are offline, he said, and called on States to stop interfering with encryption tools used to protect communications.  Voicing concerns about tools developed by private companies to disrupt individuals’ public and private lives, he also cautioned that creating algorithms with non-representative data will only result in discrimination.

The Committee then approved “L.38” without a vote, by which the General Assembly would call on States to protect the right to privacy, including in the context of digital communications and new and emerging technologies.  It would also call on States to regularly review their procedures regarding the surveillance of communications, the use of profiling, automated decision-making, machine learning and biometric technologies.  Further, the Assembly would call on States to establish independent oversight mechanisms ensuring accountability for State surveillance. 

Also by the text, the Assembly would call on States to develop policies to ensure that all business enterprises respect the right to privacy in the design of technologies.  It would further urge Member States to enable business enterprises to adopt adequate voluntary transparency measures regarding requests by State authorities for access to private user data and information.

The representative of the United States said that article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights stipulates that State interference in communication is not permissible if it is unlawful or arbitrary, expressing concern that the language in the resolution does not reflect this.  She said her delegation hopes further work on this topic can also address surveillance technology for tracking perceived critics and enabling oppression.

The representative of the United Kingdom welcomed steps some nations have taken to adopt procedural safeguards in line with human rights standards in intercepting communications.  She said her delegation would have preferred language on a human-centric approach to technology design, preventing unlawful breach of human rights defenders’ privacy, to be accepted in the resolution. 

The Committee next took up the draft resolution titled “Follow-up to the Fourteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and preparations for the Fifteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice” (document A/C.3/77/l.2), which the Chair noted contained programme budget implications.  Taking the floor, the Secretary said “L.2” will give rise to budgetary implications to cover the Fifteenth Crime Congress and its preparatory activities.

The Committee then approved “L.2” without a vote, by which the Assembly would request the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to continue implementing the appropriate policy for the follow-up to the Kyoto Declaration.  It would decide to hold the Fifteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in 2026.  Further to the text, the Assembly would request the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to approve at its thirty-second session the overall theme and agenda items for the workshops for the Fifteenth Congress.  It would also request the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly at its seventy-eighth session a report on implementation of the present resolution.

The Committee next took up the draft resolution titled “Reducing reoffending through rehabilitation and reintegration” (document A/C.3/77/l,3), which the Chair noted contained no programme budget implications.

The Committee then approved “L.3” without a vote, by which the Assembly would request the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) to convene a meeting of an open-ended intergovernmental expert group, with interpretation in all official languages of the United Nations, to develop model strategies on reducing reoffending that can serve as useful tools for Member States.  It would also request UNDOC to support efforts of Member States to reduce reoffending through the promotion of rehabilitative environments by providing technical assistance to Member States, in particular developing countries.  The Assembly would further request the Secretary-General to report to the Commission at its session following the meeting of the open-ended intergovernmental expert group on the outcome of that meeting, as well as to the General Assembly.

The Committee next took up the draft resolution titled “Strengthening national and international efforts, including with the private sector, to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse” (document A/C.3/77/L.4), which the Chair noted contained no programme budget implications.

The Committee then approved “L.4” without a vote, by which the Assembly would note with concern the growing threat posed by “self-generated” child sexual abuse materials, where children are coerced into producing such materials, as well as linkages between child sexual exploitation and trafficking in children for commercial sexual exploitation.  It would recognize that the COVID‑19 pandemic has resulted in offenders and children spending more time online, increasing the need for safety measures mitigating the risks to children from online sexual exploitation.  It would urge Member States to criminalize all forms of child sexual exploitation and abuse, including online, to grant law enforcement agencies authority and provide tools to identify victims and bring perpetrators to justice.

Further to the text, the Assembly would request the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to assist Member States in preventing child sexual exploitation, to improve understanding of child sexual exploitation internationally and to foster cross-sector responses, including from Internet service providers.  It would also request the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to provide technical assistance, training in the use of digital evidence and material support to Member States in combating online child sexual exploitation.

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