US, Ukraine vote against UN resolution against Nazism

51 countries including all members of the EU, Australia, News Zealand and Canada were among those who abstained from voting on the UN resolution asking members to eliminate all forms of racism and attempts to glorify Nazism. The resolution was passed with overwhelming support from the third world countries.

December 21, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
UN res against Nazism
The UN General Assembly.

On Wednesday December 16, the United Nations General Assembly passed its annual resolution on “Combating Glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” with 130 countries voting in favor and only two in opposition. As many as 51 countries chose to abstain out of a total 193 members.  

The US and Ukraine were the only two countries which voted in opposition to the resolution presented by Russia. The resolution demands the UN member countries to pass legislation to “eliminate all forms of racial discrimination” and condemn all attempts to glorify Nazism, xenophobia or  neo-Nazism. It also demands the countries to condemn all attempts to revise the history of the Second World War.   

Among the countries which abstained from voting were all the members of the EU, the UK, Australia and New Zealand, citing possible limitations on freedom of speech, assembly and association. However, activist groups allege that the EU’s reluctance to vote in favor of the resolution indicates the rising influence of right-wing politics there. Several European countries have right-wing governments or strong right-wing opposition sympathetic to neo-Nazi groups.

The US has voted against the resolution since 2005, arguing that it hampers commitment to the First Amendment which guarantees freedom of speech and right to peaceful assembly and association. It has also alleged that the resolution is a result of Russian attempts to paint the opposition to its interventions in East and Central European countries as pro-Nazi groupings. Ukraine’s ministry of foreign affairs also alleged a pro-Russian bias in the resolution as the reason for its vote against the resolution. However, Russia sees the abstentions and the votes against the resolution as assertion of right-wing pro-Nazi forces in these countries. 

Several human rights activists and left intellectuals have criticized the US and the EU for failing to stand up against the rising threats of Nazism and racism in their own countries. The West’s hypocritical stance has also come under heavy attack from human rights groups which argue that the failure to vote in favor of elimination of all forms of racism and the rising threat of Nazism is a way to encourage such acts and groups.  

Most of the third world countries voted in favor of the resolution, reiterating their commitment to fighting the rising threat of Nazism and racism, which led to its adoption.