On November 17, the Third Committee of the 71st UN General Assembly session in New York adopted a Russia-proposed resolution entitled “Combating glorification of Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”
The document was co-authored by Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guyana, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, India, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of South Africa, Rwanda, Serbia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunis, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. A total of 131 countries voted for the resolution, three against (Palau, the United States and Ukraine), and 48 abstained.
The vote has demonstrated the growing international support for this traditional Russian initiative, which was submitted to the UN General Assembly for the 12th time this year. The adoption of this resolution is especially important in the year of the 70th anniversary of the Nuremberg Tribunal verdicts.
The resolution again expressed serious concern over the spread of extremist movements and political parties based on ideologies of racial and national prejudice, and condemned the glorification of the Nazi movement and former members of the Waffen SS organisation, including by erecting monuments and memorials. The resolution draws attention to the deplorable practice of declaring those who fought against the anti-Hitler coalition and collaborated with the Nazi movement national heroes and participants in national liberation movements. It also expressed concern at recurring attempts to desecrate or demolish monuments erected in remembrance of those who fought against Nazism during the Second World War, as well as to unlawfully exhume or remove the remains of such persons.
The resolution includes several recommendations from the reports on contemporary forms of racism prepared by the UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur for the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur’s recommendation regarding the responsibility of political leaders and parties to condemn messages that incite racial discrimination or xenophobia and to refrain from forming coalitions with racist and xenophobic extremist parties. The Special Rapporteur has been instructed to maintain his focus on the concrete facts and elements of glorification of Nazism and former members of the Waffen SS organisation.
We regret and are disappointed by some delegations’ unwillingness to support the draft resolution submitted by Russia and a group of co-authors, which is growing with every passing year. Their attempts to explain their position by concern for the freedom of expression do not appear convincing, to put it mildly.
The adoption of this resolution is yet another clear signal sent by an impressive majority of the international community to those countries that need to take urgent measures to counter attempts to glorify Nazis, including former members of Waffen SS, and those who collaborated with the Nazis.