I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this statement.
We thank Morocco for bringing this draft resolution to the General Assembly. We must however express concern as regards the proliferation of initiatives on interreligious and intercultural dialogues outside of the Third Committee.
The EU opposes all forms of incitement to violence or hatred, and hate speech, online and offline, while preserving the full articulation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
According to the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech, hate speech covers “any kind of communication in speech, writing or behaviour, that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language with reference to a person or a group on the basis of who they are, in other words, based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, colour, descent, gender or other identity factor.”
We regret that the draft before us only looks at hate speech in the context of religious intolerance. Only a comprehensive approach, tackling all aspects and grounds of discrimination and violence, can have an effective impact.
We insist in this regard on the utmost importance to ensure respect for the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the right to access to information and the right to privacy, which are interlinked. Attempts to restrict or violate those rights can only fuel violence and hatred. For this reason, the EU made several proposals aimed at reflecting these rights in the text. We are disappointed that there were not all taken on board.
The final text also includes unclear concepts that aim at questioning the rules-based international order and the universality of human rights. The EU reiterates its full support for multilateralism with the UN at its core. We reaffirm the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Finally, the EU recalls its principled position against the proliferation and duplication of international days.
* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.