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GA/SHC/4331
26 October 2021
Seventy-sixth Session, Virtual Meetings (AM & PM)

Third Committee Experts Call for Stronger Laws to Uproot Legacies of Colonialism, Tackle Extrajudicial Killings Fueled by Racism as Delegates Support Prosecution

‘Reparation Cannot Be Handled by Humanitarian Aid’ Special Rapporteur for Justice Says, Urges Former Colonizers to Support Victims

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) continued its interactive dialogues on human rights today with experts calling for stronger international and national laws to uproot the entrenched vestiges of colonialism and gender-based discrimination, tackle extrajudicial and arbitrary executions, and end bias in the housing market.

Opening the day, Fabian Salvioli, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, said the discrimination, displacement and denial of landownership rights that persist today stem from violations committed by States with former colonies.  These trends must be reversed, he said, calling for public apologies and compensations.  Accountability and unfettered access to archives are necessary conditions for addressing the lasting effects on victims and their descendants.  “Reparation cannot be handled by humanitarian aid”, he stressed, urging former colonial powers to take measures to support victims.

In the ensuing dialogue, delegates expressed support for the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, with an observer for the European Union inviting all nations to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.  At the same time, several delegates pointed to the responsibility of former colonial powers, with the representative of the Russian Federation calling for perpetrators of ongoing violations to be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court.

The following speaker, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, Independent Expert on Protection Against Violence and Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, said “the perpetuation of inequalities rooted in gender norms has proven to be disadvantageous to most of the world’s population”.  In historical contexts and systems of patriarchal domination, gender determines people’s actions according to their categorization as men or women.  He advocated for women’s access to sexual and reproductive rights, trans persons’ legal recognition and intersex persons’ bodily integrity as a means to ensure their autonomy.

Reacting to his statement, several delegates praised the initiatives carried by their Governments to protect the human rights of LGBTI persons. The delegates included the representatives of Italy, Spain, Chile and Israel.  Speaking on behalf of the LGBTI Core Group, Canada’s delegate urged all States to protect women in all their diversity and fully protect LGBTI persons from harm, noting that 68 countries still criminalize on the basis of sexual orientation and sexual identity.

Turning to the issue of extrajudicial and arbitrary executions, Morris Tidball-Binz, Special Rapporteur on the topic, presented an overview of cases brought to his attention, including some involving assassinations of children.  He noted that thousands of silent deaths in custody go underreported and requested that all nations end the death penalty.  He cited the role of medical, legal and death investigation systems in preventing unlawful killings and underscored the importance of taking a victim-centred approach to resolving these issues.

Following the presentation, the representative of the United States expressed concern over persistent global impunity, condemning the murder of Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabia, as well as extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, Bangladesh and Libya.  Meanwhile, Egypt’s delegate drew attention to the extrajudicial killing of minorities and refugees, fuelled by discrimination and racism.

In the afternoon, Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, said discrimination in the context of housing is a global problem that affects many groups.  He pointed to the strong correlation between housing discrimination and access to basic social services, while more broadly thanking Madagascar, Algeria, Djibouti and Senegal for tabling a resolution on inclusive  social development policies and homelessness programmes.

Also addressing the Committee today were the Special Rapporteur on the right to food and the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity.

The Third Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 27 October to continue its consideration of human rights questions.

Interactive Dialogues ‑ Truth, Justice, Reparation, Guarantees of Non‑Recurrence

FABIAN SALVIOLI, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, said his report (document A/76/180) explores the legacy of violations committed by States with former colonies.  Highlighting the discrimination, displacement and landownership rights denials that local populations suffered at the time they were colonized, he pointed out that such domination persists today ‑ and must be reversed.  He also recommended that public apologies and compensation be made from these States.

He said the report’s second section focuses on the marginalization of ethnic groups, adding that accountability and unfettered access to archives are necessary conditions for addressing the lasting effects on victims and their descendants. The quest for truth and rehabilitation will facilitate the establishment of accountability mechanisms.  He noted that reparation cannot be handled by humanitarian aid and urged former colonial powers to take measures to support victims.  The visibility of victims should be a priority in order to ensure legitimacy in the reparation process.  Concluding, he expressed regret that national supremacy is still woven into domestic and international narratives and called for a better consideration of human rights violations in future discussions.

In the ensuing dialogue, delegates expressed support for the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, with an observer from the European Union agreeing with the report on the challenges to addressing human rights violations many years after the crimes, inviting all nations to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.  The representative of the United States reiterated her support for the Special Rapporteur’s mandate and drew attention to ongoing human rights violations in Syria and Myanmar.

Additionally, several delegations pointed to the responsibility of former colonial powers in addressing human rights violations, with the representative of the Russian Federation calling for perpetrators to be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court.  In the same vein, China’s delegate invited these States to compensate victims, referring to the resolution adopted earlier this year by the Human Rights Council on the negative impact of colonialist legacies.

Switzerland’s delegate meanwhile underlined that criminal justice alone would not suffice to repair crimes, calling for both jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional measures.  She also underlined the importance of maintaining documentation of these violations using new digital tools.  In line with the Special Rapporteur, the representative of the Republic of Korea agreed on the importance of placing victims at the centre of the justice system to restore their dignity.

Also speaking were representatives of Argentina and Japan.

Mr. SALVIOLI replied that the drafting of the report was challenging as it touches upon the legacy of powerful countries.  He reaffirmed that the participation of victims in transitional justice was the only way to start a process based on trust, referring to the experiences of the Republic of Korea and Colombia, where the participation of victims has been a success.  Placing transitional justice within human rights obligations would be the best path to follow for victims, he added, echoing comments made by the Russian Federation’s delegate.  He likewise agreed on the need for jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional justice, considering that criminal justice remains an essential component.

By way of conclusion, he underlined that the reparation of the victims of colonization is not a matter of the past, due to the suffering of their descendants, who need to speak.  The United Nations has a major role in decolonization, but it is not enough to address it formally.  States accountable for these crimes should express apologies to the victims without excuses.

Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity

VICTOR MADRIGAL-BORLOZ, Independent Expert on Protection Against Violence and Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, introducing his report (document A/76/152), said that in recent historical contexts and systems of patriarchal domination, gender determines people’s actions according to their categorization as men or women.  Gender constructs create expectations for roles, forms of expression and behaviours, and it influences social, economic and political inclusion and participation.

“The perpetuation of inequalities rooted in gender norms has proven to be disadvantageous to most of the world’s population”, he said, noting that this pattern is at the root of power asymmetries, social inequality and fundamental violence experienced primarily by women and girls, including lesbian, bisexual and trans women.  The understanding of gender as a social construct has been incorporated in international human rights law, he stated, noting that his report analyses the exclusionary practices that aim to counter recognition of human rights standards on gender equality and sexuality.  Anti-gender narratives oppose sexual and reproductive rights, sexuality education and the rights of lesbian, gay, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) and gender-diverse persons.  “Such narratives resonate with conservative platforms and are increasingly used strategically to energize and galvanize political bases ‑ with results in national election campaigns around the world”, he said.  This discourse is not based on scientific evidence but is heavily reliant on stigma, misconception and anecdotal evidence.  It deliberately conflates the biological reality of sex characteristics with the social construct of gender to deny individuals any possibility of agency over their own destinies, he observed, which in turn maintains a status quo that is beneficial to very few.

“Human beings have sex characteristics, which are biological features; these are indeed a physical reality.  However, dominant roles, behaviours, activities and forms of expression attributed to this biological reality are constructs”, he said. “An individual must be able to ignore, shatter or subvert them in an exercise of their freedom.”  Anti-gender narratives are based on biological determinism and directly oppose international human rights law.  When a person is unable to make decisions over their own body, their autonomy will remain out of reach.  This is why women must have access to sexual and reproductive rights, trans persons must have their gender legally recognized by the State and intersex persons must have their right to bodily integrity respected.  Noting that intersex children are subjected to medically unnecessary surgeries to forcibly modify their appearance to bring it in line with societal expectations about female and male bodies, he called on States to protect the human rights of intersex children.  He also urged States to establish legal gender recognition based on self-determination by 2030 and to end conversion practices.

When the floor opened for comments and questions, delegations took to the floor to highlight initiatives in their States to protect the human rights of LGBTI persons, with the representative of Italy noting its draft of a multi-annual strategy that offers protection from violence and discrimination.  Italy is also establishing refugee centres for LGBTI victims of domestic violence.  The representative of Spain said the Government has enacted a law protecting equal rights for transgender persons, which allows for the free determination of gender based on the will of the person, without the need for medical reports.  The representative of Chile similarly pointed to new legislation recognizing the protection of gender identity, while the representative of Israel, expressing strong support for the full inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in all legal frameworks, asked the Independent Expert for recommended steps in amending existing legal frameworks.

The representative of the United States registered alarm over the rise of leaders and groups that discriminate against people’s sexual orientation and gender identity and highlighted the intersectional discrimination faced by transgender women of colour and lesbians.  In a similar vein, the representative of Canada, speaking on behalf of the LGBTI Core Group, urged all States to take measures to protect women in all their diversity and fully protect LGBTI persons from harm, noting that 68 countries still criminalize on the basis of sexual orientation and sexual identity.  The representative of Japan asked for examples of partnerships among Governments, civil society, the private sector and others that have had a positive impact on ending violence against LGBTI persons.  The representative of the United Kingdom asked the Independent Expert for his views on the global anti-gender movement, while the representative of Iceland, speaking on behalf of the Baltic Nordic countries, said, “The fact that consensual same-sex relationships are still criminalized in 70 States is tragic beyond words.”  Violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity use systems of repression to sow the idea that diversity is somehow harmful to societies.  He asked about the steps Governments can take to dismantle these systems and to foster inclusion of LGBTI persons.

Also speaking were representatives of Argentina, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Malta, Poland, France, Czech Republic, Albania, Germany, Netherlands, Japan, Austria (on behalf of a group of countries), Thailand and Belgium, as well as an observer for the European Union.

Mr. MADRIGAL-BORLOZ responded that there is evidence that “LGBTI and gender-diverse persons around the world suffer unconscionable levels of discrimination and violence every day”.  On the impact of anti-gender narratives, he said they appear to stem from specific strategies aimed at countering the feminist movement.  These anti-gender narratives question the need for access to reproductive health care and sexual education.

He said it is important to recognize the intimate connection between legal recognition of gender identity and freedom from violence, while fighting criminalization in the countries where it exists today.  To look beyond the binary of men and women is not to deny the progress of the feminist movement.  Rather, it acknowledges that the binary does not cover the diversity of humanity today and recognizes “the creation of spaces where people can identify outside of the binary and still enjoy the protection of the law”.  The law should work for protection rather than as a mechanism for persecution, he affirmed.

Extrajudicial, Summary, Arbitrary Executions

MORRIS TIDBALL-BINZ, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, presenting his report (document A/76/264) said his mandate issued 67 communications to States and non-State actors.  The stark reality of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions is brought to his attention on a daily basis, he stressed, from massacres and indiscriminate killings, including of children, to assassinations.  He also examined the proportion of gender- and identity-based murders versus State-sponsored killings of dissidents and minorities, including thousands of silent deaths in custody reported worldwide every year, and the imposition of the death penalty in blatant violation of international law.  Calling for vigorous global action, he said the prohibition of the arbitrary deprivation of life is every State’s duty.

He said his report also highlights the vision that will drive activities carried out by his mandate over the next three years, including such strategic priorities as the role of medical, legal and death investigation systems in preventing unlawful killings.  Drawing attention to deaths in custody, femicide, and respect for human remains following unlawful killings, he went on to highlight lessons learned from the Ebola epidemic and the COVID‑19 pandemic.  He said his mandate also will look into the application of the death penalty and impact of that practice on people’s dignity, including during torture.  Pointing to the value of cooperation and the promotion of best practices, he underscored the importance of the 2016 Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Death, as well as of taking a victim-centred approach to addressing these issues.

When the floor opened for questions and comments, the representative of the United States expressed concern about persistent global impunity for extrajudicial and extraterritorial killings, condemning the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and assaults by Saudi Arabia against peaceful activists, dissidents and journalists abroad.  He also expressed concern over reports of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, Bangladesh and Libya, and asked how the international community can deter such violence.  The representative of the United Kingdom emphasized the importance of taking a victim-centred approach to the issues outlined in the report and asked how knowledge and use of the Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Death can be enhanced to ensure thorough investigations and hold perpetrators accountable.  Meanwhile, an observer for the European Union cited a finding in the report about many countries not implementing recommendations made by special procedures and asked how effective implementation of international human rights standards be better encouraged.  Further, he asked what States can do to prevent femicide from taking place.

Meanwhile, the representative of Pakistan stressed that the right to life is being flagrantly violated, particularly during conflicts.  In illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, India’s occupation forces are engaged in a campaign of killing Kashmiris to silence the demand for freedom and self-determination, in gross violation of international law, including humanitarian law, human rights law and criminal law.  In India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the extrajudicial killing of civilians is an instrument used by the occupying Power and includes organized massacres, targeted killings, custodial deaths and enforced disappearances.  Since 1989, more than 100,000 Kashmiris have been killed extrajudicially, she said, adding that not a single Indian official has been punished.  The representative of India, noting that the right to life is the basis for all other rights, said the death penalty is exercised in the rarest of cases in his country, when the crimes committed are so heinous that they shock society.  He explained that India’s law provides for all procedural safeguards, including the right to a fair trial by an independent court and presumption of innocence.  There are specific provisions for the death penalty in cases of pregnant women and persons with mental disabilities, while juvenile offenders cannot be sentenced to death in any circumstance.  He blamed Pakistan for using a United Nations platform to propagate malicious propaganda against India.

The representative of Egypt drew attention to the extrajudicial killing of minorities and refugees, fuelled by discrimination and racism.  The right to life is a fundamental right that is recognized globally, he said, expressing concern over the increase in extrajudicial executions in armed conflicts by non-State actors, armed groups, terrorist groups and modern technology ‑ including drones, which “erase responsibility and attribution”.  States must have their legitimate right to use the death penalty as a legal means to carry out sentences, he added.

Also speaking were representatives of the Russian Federation, Armenia, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Sweden (on behalf of Nordic and Baltic countries), Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco and Azerbaijan.

Mr. TIDBALL-BINZ, responding, said the issue of prevention ‑ a central focus in his report ‑ is based on an interest in public health.  He described various means of interactive prevention at a primary level, for example, through vaccinations.  On extrajudicial and summary executions, gender-based violence or femicide, he said primary prevention is considered as involving State efforts to modify practices based on negative gender stereotypes.  He said some practices are yielding encouraging results around the world and outlined his intention to promote these good practices as much as possible.  Secondary prevention of femicide includes early identification of the signs or symptoms of domestic violence that might lead to extreme situations, including taking a person’s life ‑ for example, by restricting the access of the abuser to the victim.  Tertiary prevention of femicide is an investigation.  Unfortunately, in many jurisdictions, the investigation does not have what it needs to identify femicide per se.  If femicide is not identified as such, it is impossible to take the necessary measures to prevent or eradicate it.  An investigation must be effective, early, transparent and trustworthy, he said, citing the value of the Minnesota Protocol in this context.

Adequate Housing

BALAKRISHNAN RAJAGOPAL, Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, presented his first report (document A/76/408) on “Discrimination in the context of housing”, adding that that his second report would focus on spatial segregation.  He expressed regret that despite the special attention paid to the right to non-discrimination, such prejudice persists as a barrier to fulfilment of the right to adequate housing.  “Housing discrimination is a global problem that affects many groups”, he stressed, noting that there is a strong correlation between housing discrimination and access to basic social services.

Turning to homelessness, he thanked Madagascar, Algeria, Djibouti and Senegal for tabling a resolution on inclusive social development policies and programmes, noting that, in accordance with international human rights law, “no eviction should result in individuals being rendered homeless”.  The twentieth anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action ‑ adopted at the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance ‑ allows States to reaffirm their commitments and bring renewed urgency to the need to end formal and substantive discrimination.

He encouraged States to adopt “special measures to attenuate or suppress conditions that perpetuate discrimination”, pointing in particular to the lasting effects of slavery and colonialism in South Africa and the United States.  Indeed, examining history in local contexts is critical to understanding the historical legacies that led to inequalities.  Addressing systematic discrimination also requires focusing on its various forms suffered by vulnerable groups in specific contexts.  The report highlights a path for States to end housing discrimination through legislation at national and local levels, he said, adding that victims should be provided facilitated access to adequate housing.  Concluding, he advocated for the adoption of legislation, the collection of disaggregated data and the implementation of dissuasive fines to end such practices.

In the ensuing dialogue, an observer of the European Union agreed with the Special Rapporteur on the need for special measures to address housing discrimination.  In line with the report’s recommendations, Algeria’s delegate said the principle of housing is deeply rooted in the country, praising the Government’s positive results to ensure decent housing to the population.  The representative of China reaffirmed her country’s commitment to a people-centred approach, which led to improved housing for over 200 million people.  China will continue to promote policies that respect the rights of all ethnic groups, she added.

On another note, the representative of the Russian Federation objected to the use of examples in his country which, he said, wrongly depict the situation, requesting the Special Rapporteur to exercise more caution when selecting such instances.  Finally, Syria’s delegate requested clarification on ways the international community can support the reconstruction of the country.

Also speaking were representatives of India and Morocco.

Mr. RAJAGOPAL, responding, thanked Member States for their contributions during the consultation phase.  To comments made by the Russian Federation’s delegate, he stressed that he remains open to interacting with States on a bilateral basis to discuss specific situations.

He went on to say data collection would be useful for implementing targeted measures, such as for disabled people.  Disaggregated data would also provide States with information about direct and indirect discrimination.

Turning to conflict settings, he encouraged States to adopt policies through a firm commitment, noting that many do not have laws prohibiting discrimination. He described acknowledgment of discrimination as a “first step”, to be followed by actions that address it.

Right to Food

MICHAEL FAKHRI, Special Rapporteur on the right to food, presenting his report (document A/76/237), said the unequal distribution of COVID‑19 vaccines is locking in inequality between and within nations.  Countries are experiencing difficulties in fulfilling their obligation to realize the right to food, especially in the context of the pandemic.  He reported on several missed opportunities for States to cooperate multilaterally and in solidarity to ensure fulfilment of the right to food for all, noting that the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit left many people and Governments feeling disappointed.  First of all, the pandemic was nowhere on the agenda.  After $24 million and two years, the Summit has offered Governments “nothing substantive” to help States address the impact of the pandemic and the food crisis it triggered.  It offered nothing to help people overcome their daily struggles.

“We must do better”, he emphasized, noting that how the international community responds will set the world on a path to more just food systems as soon as possible.  Even at the peak of the pandemic, the issue was not that food was unavailable.  The issue was one of access:  many people were not eating or were not eating well because they lost their livelihood or homes and could not afford food.  “We need policy coordination,” notably among the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), he underscored.  Internationally coordinated action is feasible ‑ and it is not too late to tackle the food crisis. “We have the institutional structures, the expertise, good ideas and good people,” he stressed.

In the ensuing dialogue, an observer for the European Union asked the Special Rapporteur for examples of State measures that respect, protect and fulfil the human right to food for all.  Recalling that human rights were not part of the preparatory process for the Food Systems Summit ‑ and that the lack of a rights-oriented approach until the Summit’s later stages may have led to the marginalization of several issues and groups, including indigenous peoples ‑ he asked the Special Rapporteur to share lessons learned from the Summit.

The representative of Cuba said it is unacceptable that in a world with so many resources, so much knowledge, technology and capacity to produce food, in 2020 there were 800 million people suffering from hunger.  Calling for a paradigm shift and a new, equitable world order, he condemned sanctions and unilateral coercive measures, including those imposed by the United States.  Hunger is an outrage and a violation of human dignity, he asserted.

The representative of the Russian Federation shared the concern of the Special Rapporteur that the business interests dominating the global food distribution market prevail over the needs of people.  Human rights are an integral part of any discussion.  However, topics as complicated as agroecology should be discussed on specialized platforms by special agencies, not by the Third Committee.

The representative of Syria said the terrorist war has damaged his country’s ability to provide adequate resources ‑ and only increased its reliance on food imports.  Pointing to the illegitimate, unilateral economic sanctions imposed on Syria’s food sector, and an exponential rise in food prices, he said Syria has allocated all its financial means to food production in the public and private sectors, with special concessions given to importers and food production companies.  She asked the Special Rapporteur how to avoid the negative impact of unilateral sanctions, particularly during the pandemic.

The representative of Malaysia said his country has implemented the national agrofood policy aimed at transforming the agrofood industry into a sustainable sector.  Malaysia is determined to end hunger and promote sustainable agriculture in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 2 (zero hunger), he said, noting that there are various measures it could adopt to ensure the viability of food systems.  He asked the Special Rapporteur whether the pandemic has exposed greater structural inequities within international governance mechanisms, which have the effect of widening the food insecurity gap.

Also speaking were representatives of Cameroon, Morocco, China, Algeria, Azerbaijan (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement) and Ireland.

Mr. FAKHRI, responding, echoed delegates’ frustration with unilateral coercive measures, stressing, “rarely have I seen unilateral coercive measures be based on any legal or moral argument”.  They are a huge issue, especially amid the pandemic.  Food sovereignty is at the heart of many Governments’ concerns, he said, noting that food sovereignty means that food producers and consumers have control over their own food system.  This, in turn, means that Governments have a relationship with people that is based on human rights.  Control, accountability and transparency are at the heart of any food system, he said, noting that each such system is complex and contextual.  This allows people and Governments to work together.  One core structural issue involves seeds, he said, stressing that “if we protect seeds, we protect biodiversity”.  In addition, there has not been a coordinated response to the pandemic.  Nor is there one international institution that can bring people together on a regular basis.  He encouraged the General Assembly to appoint one institution to this role so these complexities can be routinely addressed.  As to whether the Summit would be an appropriate venue for discussing human rights, he said people ‑ civil society ‑ demand that human rights are at the core of the Summit.  He went on to underline that food policies go hand-in-hand with trade policies, resulting in a need to protect food producers and food workers.  While indigenous peoples protect more than 80 per cent of world’s biodiversity, the Food Systems Summit has not done a good job addressing their needs, he observed.

International Solidarity

OBIORA C. OKAFOR, Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity, presenting his report (document A/76/176), said it focuses on economic security and insecurity.  Economic insecurity is induced by factors such as the crash in oil prices and the pandemic ‑ events that have left many people without adequate sources of income and occur against the backdrop of uncertainties in the international trade regime.  Economic security can be understood from a State perspective, where States protect their national economies, while from another vantage point, it describes the resources of individuals to support a standard of living.  In the report, the term is understood under the broader umbrella of human security, which includes access to health, education, social protection and work-related security.  Because external elements, such as shocks, have a direct impact on stability, the ability of certain people to protect themselves is limited in an ecosystem where social protection is non-existent, he said, invoking the crippling feeling of uncertainty premised on the lack of ability to plan a future.

He said vulnerable people are more prone to experience economic insecurity, citing women, people with disabilities, older persons, refugees, minorities and indigenous minorities, as well as certain racial and ethnic groups.  It also disproportionately impacts people in the global South, where there is limited access to social safety nets.  Stressing that international solidarity is needed, he said universal basic income is sometimes referred to as “citizen’s income”.  It eliminates economic insecurity and can reduce poverty for the most economically vulnerable.  Furthermore, it is cheap to administer and free of stigma, he said, noting that people who work in the informal economy or in low-income houses are not covered by unemployment.  Significantly greater levels of international solidarity are needed to combat economic insecurity faced by people around the world, he asserted.

When the floor opened for comments and questions, several delegates raised the issue of unilateral coercive measures in relation to international solidarity, with the representative of the Russian Federation expressing his regret that not all countries are ready to abandon their geopolitical agendas.  Instead, they continue to exert unilateral coercive measures on certain countries.  The representative of Cuba said that despite the economic blockade imposed by the United States, his country has sent medical help to many nations, including during the pandemic.  The representative of Azerbaijan, speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement, reiterated the bloc’s position against unilateral coercive measures, especially against developing countries, in contravention of the Charter of the United Nations.  The representative of Venezuela, noting that unilateral coercive measures condemn entire peoples to isolation, depriving them of health, food and education, asked about increasing the reach of the global campaign against unilateral coercive measures. The representative of China meanwhile pointed out that certain countries have doubled down on unilateral coercive measures, which undermines human rights.

Mr. OKAFOR replied that economic insecurity and its connection to the enjoyment of human rights is deeply tied to international solidarity.  He urged all States to continue to make every effort to demonstrate international solidarity in tackling the problem of economic insecurity.

For information media. Not an official record.