Third Committee Approves Text Titled ‘Right to Privacy in the Digital Age’, as It Takes Action on 18 Draft Resolutions
The draft, approved without a vote, would have the General Assembly call upon Member States to review their procedures, practices and legislation on the surveillance of communications, their interception and collection of personal data, including mass surveillance, with a view to upholding the right to privacy by ensuring the full and effective implementation of all relevant obligations under international human rights law.
Following the approval, some delegates stressed the need for agreed international human rights mechanisms in relation to ensuring privacy and freedom of expression. Some expressed regret over the lack of a specific reference to such mechanisms in the draft, while others applauded the consensus as a clear international reaction to the national and extraterritorial electronic surveillance activities conducted by the United States.
The Committee then approved, by a recorded vote of 148 in favour to 4 against ( Canada, Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 27 abstentions, a draft resolution titled “The right to development”. By its terms, the General Assembly would express deep concern about the negative impact on the realization of the right to development caused by the further aggravation of the economic and social situation, in particular that of developing countries, as a result of the ongoing international energy, food and financial crises, among other factors. The Assembly would urge developed countries that had not yet done so to make concrete efforts to devote 0.7 per cent of gross national product to official development assistance (ODA) to developing countries.
Speaking in explanation of position, the representatives of the United States and Canada expressed their respective concerns over attempts to create a legally binding instrument. Canada’s speaker said the right to development could be better implemented by sharing best practices and strengthening existing initiatives. The representative of the United Kingdom said it was the responsibility of States to create the necessary enabling economic conditions, while the provisions of the draft could also curtail political and civil rights.
The Committee then approved, without a vote, a draft resolution titled “Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism”. By that text, the General Assembly would take note of the report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, which referred to the use of remotely piloted aircraft. The Assembly would also note the urgent and imperative need to seek agreement among Member States on legal questions pertaining to the use of remotely piloted aircraft