US says anti-Nazi resolution at UN restricts free speech

"We condemn without reservation all forms of religious and ethnic intolerance or hatred at home and around the world,'' said US officials.

By: AP | United Nations | Published:November 18, 2016 8:49 am

The United States was one of three countries to vote against a UN resolution condemning the glorification of Nazism on Thursday, citing freedom of speech issues and concerns Russia was using it to carry out political attacks against its neighbors. The resolution entitled “Combating glorification of Nazism, Neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,” was approved by the UN’s human rights committee on Friday with 131 in favor, 3 against with 48 abstentions. Ukraine and Palau were the other no votes.

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“We condemn without reservation all forms of religious and ethnic intolerance or hatred at home and around the world,” said Deputy US Representative to the Economic and Social Council Stefanie Amadeo, explaining the US vote.

“However, due to this resolution’s overly narrow scope and politicized nature, and because it calls for unacceptable limits on the fundamental freedom of expression, the United States cannot support it,” Amadeo said.

She said the US also disagrees with the resolution’s willing to curb freedom of expression even while sharing its concerns about the rise of hate speech around the world.

“This resolution’s recommendations to limit freedom of expression, freedom of association, and the right to peaceful assembly contravene the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and must be opposed,” Amadeo said.

Unlike resolutions in the Security Council, resolutions in General Assembly committees are not considered legally binding.