Explanation of vote of EU member states on draft resolution on Combatting glorification of Nazism
I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union to explain our position on the draft resolution contained in document L.69/Rev1.
The European Union would like to reiterate its steadfast commitment to the global fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Contemporary forms of all extremist ideologies, including neo-Nazism, are particularly abhorrent manifestations of racism and xenophobia and their strong condemnation and combat must be a common and consensual priority for the whole international community. All expressions of such ideologies should be tackled within the framework of the comprehensive efforts aimed at eliminating all forms of racism and xenophobia by taking effective measures at the national, regional and international levels in particular through the full implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). As the roots of racism and xenophobia are multifaceted and include prejudice and ignorance, they must be addressed through appropriate measures such as education, awareness-raising and the promotion of dialogue.
We continue to believe that all contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination xenophobia and related intolerance should be addressed in the resolution in a balanced and comprehensive way with a clear focus on the human rights perspective.
We strongly believe that it is the responsibility of each State to adopt a comprehensive approach, in line with international human rights standards, to address all manifestations of racism, racial discrimination and related intolerance in an inclusive and effective manner, and to ensure that those who have instigated racial or ethnic hatred or have committed racially motivated crimes are brought to justice.
Given our responsibility, towards all victims, past and present, we should avoid using, for extraneous purposes, divisive and selective approaches, thereby diluting the true significance of the fight against racism. Initiatives aiming towards our common goal of eliminating racism from our societies should serve to unite us and not to create additional tensions and divisions.
With reference to resolution L.69/Rev.1, the EU would like to express its appreciation for the efforts of the main sponsor and of the co-sponsors to organize informal consultations in an inclusive and transparent manner. As a result, a number of our concerns have been met.
The EU notes the reformulation of the title of the resolution, which, while still putting the focus on combatting glorification of Nazism, now addresses neo-Nazism.
We note with appreciation the important addition of references to “international human rights law” in the resolution and other changes made in the text, based on suggestions of the European Union and other delegations.
At the same time, the EU stresses that a number of concerns still remain and several essential proposals put forward by the EU were unfortunately not included in the final text.
First, the EU regrets that the resolution continues to put emphasis on issues which are far from being related to combating racism and related intolerance and still does not address all contemporary forms of racism in a comprehensive way.
Focusing the fight against racism around history teaching, monuments, memorials or erroneous reference to national liberation movements or any other politically motivated issues does not only fall outside of the human rights agenda, but also aims at monopolizing the fight against Nazism by providing one-sided interpretation of history, as the recent attempts to justify the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact indicate.
We pay our earnest tribute to the historic role of the allied forces and their sacrifices in the defeat of Nazism during the Second World War. However, likewise, we should remember that the Second World War brought about painful divisions in Europe and for many European countries the end of the Second World War did not bring freedom but more crimes against humanity committed against their people. In order to honour all victims of the war, the EU proposed to adopt a victims-centred approach in PP7bis. The EU regrets that this suggestion was not taken on board.
Similarly, education should be addressed in a comprehensive rather than selective manner, covering the range of racist and totalitarian ideologies in history which all deserve to be thoroughly studied.
Second, the EU would like to reiterate its concern at language which still addresses too restrictively the fundamental rights to freedom of expression and to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association as described in article 19, 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Also, we still have concerns with regard to States’ reporting on the implementation of the present resolution. We believe it is for States to decide what they wish to include in their reports for the universal periodic review and for the treaty bodies.
Furthermore, the request to the Special Rapporteur to specifically report on selected paragraphs of this resolution puts at risk his independence and obstructs a comprehensive reporting exercise. We also believe, for reasons of efficiency, that the Special Rapporteur should not be requested to produce two different reports to the General Assembly and to the Human Rights Council.
Finally, we are also strongly concerned by the attempts made by the main sponsor to misuse the important goal of fighting Neo-Nazism in the context of the ongoing crises in Ukraine. In 2014, the main sponsor has violated international law and the fundamental principles of the UN, leading to the illegal annexation of a part of a sovereign State, under the pretext of fighting neo-Nazism.
In closing, we reiterate the EU’s strong commitment to the global fight against contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. The EU is ready to engage constructively and in a spirit of transparency with the cosponsors on the above-mentioned concerns in order to address all manifestations of racism and racist ideologies in a comprehensive manner.
For all the reasons mentioned above, the European Union abstained on the resolution entitled “Combatting glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”.