Remarks by representative of the Russian Federation, Director of the Foreign Ministry’s Department for Humanitarian Cooperation and Human Rights, and Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law Anatoly Viktorov during the vote on the draft resolution of 72nd UN General Assembly’s Third Committee on “Combating the glorification of Nazism, Neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” (A/C.3/72/L.56/Rev. 1), New York City, November 16, 2017
The draft resolution that has been submitted to the member-states deals with a subject that is now becoming increasingly topical.
Although Nazism was defeated over 70 years ago, and although the verdict of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal once and for all answered the question as to who represented the forces of good and the forces of evil during World War II, some people continue to doubt those great gains. However, no one can deny the fact that this was a victory over the ideology of racial supremacy and hatred for humankind. We have every right to be proud of this victory and must be proud of it.
Victory in World War II helped establish the today’s system of promoting and defending human rights. Such fundamental documents as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination came as the UN’s response to Nazi crimes and the policy of completely trampling human dignity.
Despite these obvious facts, attempts continue to be made to deny, revise or directly falsify our common history. These academic exercises can hardly be called harmless. This shows a striving to pave the way towards revising the foundations of the contemporary world order, to erode the principles of international law and security that evolved after World War II.
We would like to emphasise that this draft resolution concerns topical human rights issues. Racist and xenophobic rhetoric and calls to expel immigrants and “alien elements” are resounding more often against the backdrop of a global migration crisis that has primarily been caused by an irresponsible policy of meddling in the domestic affairs of sovereign states. Furthermore, relevant statements are being made under the smokescreen of slogans aiming to defend “freedom of speech,” which sounds particularly cynical with regard to fundamental principles of international law in the area of human rights.
Some countries have declared a war on monuments to those who fought against Nazism and fascism, and this evokes deep concern and indignation. Over the past year, this battle has become part of state policy, backed by related legislative measures, in a number of countries. Marches to glorify the Nazis and their accomplices and torch processions of neo-Nazis and nationalists clearly resembling similar rallies in Nazi Germany take place every year. They continue to desecrate the memory of those killed in the struggle against Nazism, including by unveiling memorials to those who fought alongside Nazis or collaborated with them and committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. These actions also include the renaming of streets, squares, schools and other social facilities in honour of Nazi collaborators.
The co-authors of this draft resolution consider it unacceptable to glorify accomplices to Nazi crimes, including efforts to whitewash former members of the SS and Waffen SS, organisations that were recognised as criminal by the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal. We condemn attempts to elevate those who fought against the Anti-Hitler Coalition or who collaborated with the Nazis to the rank of national hero and so-called hero of national liberation movements. It seems inexplicable, but this is often taking place in countries that were occupied by the Nazis during World War II and whose heroic peoples had made a weighty contribution to the defeat of Nazism.
This “food” for modern forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance is cause for deep concern. Moreover, it implies actions that are punishable by law under Article 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. We are confident that such actions are incompatible with the obligations of the concerned UN member-states under the UN Charter.
Over 70 years ago, our fathers and grandfathers managed to rise above the disputes, ideological and political contradictions dividing them to jointly counter a common evil and a common challenge to all civilised humankind. It was they who called themselves the United Nations after establishing the Anti-Hitler Coalition. The approval of this document is our duty before those who established the UN. This is our duty before succeeding generations whom the UN’s founding fathers were determined to save from the scourge of war.
We are grateful to all delegations for their constructive involvement in consultations regarding this draft document. We are especially grateful to the draft document’s co-authors and the delegations of those countries that have assured us of their invariable support for this document. In our opinion, this is evidence that this draft resolution has key significance for the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee and the UN in general.