Third Committee delegates call for ‘renewed solidarity’ in addressing COVID-19 fallout, as concerns over human rights abuses stoke regional tensions

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) continued its debate on social development today, with delegates highlighting the ways in which COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated entrenched inequalities and calling for universal distribution of a vaccine, once available, at affordable prices.

To this end, the World Health Organization (WHO), donor countries and the private sector play a fundamental role, said Nicaragua’s representative on behalf of the Central American Integration System.

Eritrea’s representative emphasized that the pandemic has exposed the fragility of the dominant economic system, noting that the long-term socioeconomic consequences of the pandemic will be most profound in countries with inadequate social welfare systems. Along similar lines, the representative of Cabo Verde said COVID-19 should not be the cause of a new divide between developed and developing countries, expressing “hope for a renewed solidarity” and a better multilateralism.

Throughout the day, delegates emphasized that efforts to address — and recover from — the pandemic must consider the rights of women, children, the elderly, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable communities.

Italy’s representative drew particular attention to the rights of girls, who are exposed to such intersecting forms of violence as female genital mutilation, and early and forced marriage. In a similar vein, the representative of Haiti stressed that many developing countries have not attained gender equality and that violence against women has increased during the pandemic.

At the same time, other delegates expressed concern that temporary measures to contain the virus have been improperly used to curtail human rights, with New Zealand’s representative advocating for their transparent use in a justified and proportionate manner. Echoing that call, the United States representative expressed concern that authoritarian Governments are using the pandemic to justify unwarranted crackdowns on their citizens and civil society.

Still other speakers drew attention to specific human rights dynamics stoking tensions in their regions.

Pakistan’s representative pointed to India’s denial of the right to self-determination to people in Jammu and Kashmir, stressing that India has imprisoned Kashmiri political leaders, tortured youth, imposed collective punishment and burned entire villages. Yet, “not a single Indian soldier has been punished for these crimes,” he said. Exercising his right of reply, India’s representative said the world does not need lessons from a country that is known as a hub of terrorism and which has brought genocide to South Asia. He rejected Pakistan’s reference to Jammu and Kashmir, which is an “integral part of India”.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan’s representative said her country has been fighting to defend itself against attacks by a “foreign aggressor”, Armenia. Throughout the conflict, in which foreign mercenaries have been pressed into service, many people have been wounded and killed. “Impunity fuels violence”, she said, calling for perpetrators to be brought to justice. In turn, Armenia’s delegate, exercising his right of reply, referred to Azerbaijan as an “authoritarian regime” where corruption is rampant and the opposition is persecuted. The ongoing military aggression attests to its “genocidal intentions”, he said.

The Third Committee will reconvene at 3 p.m. on Thursday, 8 October, to conclude its general debate on social development.

General Debate — Morning Session

Throughout the morning, delegates highlighted the many ways in which COVID‑19 has disrupted socioeconomic gains and offered recommendations for turning the tide, with many drawing attention to the unique needs of women, children, the elderly, persons with disabilities and other communities often sidelined in decisions that affect them.

Setting a tone on these issues, the representative of Nicaragua, speaking on behalf of the Central American Integration System, called for universal distribution of a vaccine, once available, and other health technologies to address COVID-19, at affordable prices. To this end, the role of the World Health Organization (WHO), donor countries and the private sector is fundamental. Reiterating the group’s commitment to promoting women’s political participation, as well as equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of Government decision‑making, he likewise affirmed its commitment to equity, equality and the empowerment of women and girls. He underlined the importance of ensuring that health‑care decisions affecting older persons respect their dignity and autonomy and promote their human rights — including to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

The representative of Cabo Verde said COVID-19 should not be the cause of a new divide between developed countries, which have the means to mitigate the pandemic, and developing countries, which must cope with limited fiscal space and the shutdown of vital economic sectors. Expressing “hope for a renewed solidarity”, he issued a strong call for a better multilateralism, capable of helping countries to quickly recover, and the reduction of inequalities between and within societies. It is vital to enforce the rights of children, women, migrants, refugees, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, the elderly and young people, he said, stressing the need for universal access to medical supplies and vaccines. He reiterated Cabo Verde’s commitment to policies and legal frameworks that support gender equality, pointing to the adoption of the Parity Law and achievements in both health services and reproductive rights.

The representative of Mongolia, aligning with the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, called COVID-19 “the greatest test we have collectively faced”. By triggering numerous human rights issues, it also presents an unprecedented challenge to development, hampering progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Mongolia has taken measures to prevent its spread through temporary tax exemptions, deferral schemes and increased social welfare benefits. He expressed support for the Secretary‑General’s Policy Brief on “Education during COVID-19 and beyond”, more broadly pointing to legal reforms that harmonize national laws with international human rights standards, and Mongolia’s close collaboration with human rights treaty bodies.

The representative of Oman said that, since 1970, her country has worked to provide health and education for all people, based on the principle of non‑discrimination. This orientation is outlined clearly in Oman’s Vision 2020 and 2040, with sustainable development efforts at its core. The Vision ensures an integrated system of laws and legislation geared towards protecting women, persons with disabilities, children and other communities, supporting them in ways that foster their participation in all aspects of life, she said, noting that women account for 40 per cent of the labour force.

The representative of Italy, associating himself with the European Union, said his country deeply values the role of civil society in reporting human rights violations. He likewise attached great importance to crime prevention and criminal justice, stressing that Italy is on the front line in the campaign for a universal moratorium on the death penalty and urging States to support the draft resolution to be tabled during the session. Efforts to recover from the pandemic must include the fullest promotion and protection of women’s rights, he stressed, pointing to the Beijing Declaration as well as children’s rights, particularly those of girls, who are exposed to intersecting forms of violence, including female genital mutilation and early and forced marriage.

The representative of Haiti said every issue on the Third Committee agenda must be tackled through the lens of COVID-19. Despite its limited means, Haiti has dealt with a number of natural disasters, such as the 2010 earthquake, Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and a cholera epidemic that left material damage in its wake. She stressed that many developing countries have not attained gender equality and that violence against women has grown during the pandemic. Haiti has made advances in gender equality, as manifested in the law on paternity and maternity or the law on cohabiting.

The representative of New Zealand expressed deep concern that, in some States, temporary measures to contain the virus have been improperly used to curtail human rights. All States should be transparent in their pandemic measures, which must be temporary, justified and proportionate, he said, stressing that COVID-19 measures must not be used as a pretext for infringing on fundamental freedoms. He advocated for collective efforts to protect people, noting that indigenous peoples and women have been disproportionally affected by domestic violence and economic insecurity. Warning against disproportionate use of force and Internet shutdowns, he reiterated New Zealand’s commitment to building an inclusive society for all where human rights are respected.

Several regional situations also emerged during morning debate, with the representative of Pakistan, citing Assembly resolution 2649 of 1970, stressing the importance of the right to self-determination — and that the denial of it amounts to a gross violation of the Charter of the United Nations. Yet, India has denied this right to the people of Jammu and Kashmir for seven decades. It initiated the final solution by ending Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood, imposing a siege and changing the demographic composition. India has imprisoned Kashmiri political leaders, tortured youth, summarily executed young boys, imposed collective punishment and burned entire villages. “Not a single Indian soldier has been punished for these crimes,” he stressed. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has urged India to restore the rights now being denied, while legislators in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and Europe have called for an end to its policies. Instead, India has responded with witch hunts against those daring to report these crimes. The international community must demand that India halt these violations against Kashmiris and agree to implement Security Council resolutions enabling the people of Jammu and Kashmir to exercise their right to self-determination.

The representative of Ukraine similarly recommended prioritizing ways to ensure the implementation of existing obligations and standards in extraordinary situations, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. These obligations should not be arbitrarily or politically changed. COVID-19 responses must uphold the dignity and human rights of all people, without discrimination. Ukraine has struggled to maintain its territorial integrity and sovereignty in the face of armed aggression and occupation. He objected to the Russian Federation’s unwillingness to uphold its obligation to provide medical assistance for COVID-19 in the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea. The United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has the tools to track violations there and in Donbas, notably by providing regular and timely information about the Russian Federation’s wrongdoing there. Noting that Ukraine’s President recently announced the establishment of an international office to counter disinformation and propaganda, he said journalists and indigenous peoples — notably Crimean Tatars — are among those targeted by the occupying Power. He also denounced coercive measures being carried out in Crimea, which are forcing people to renounce their citizenship and land. Until the occupation of Ukraine’s territory ends, it will be important for the Third Committee to adopt the resolution on human rights in Crimea.

Several delegations took the opportunity to emphasize that the pandemic has exposed and exacerbated existing inequalities, with the representative of Indonesia noting that COVID-19 has revealed them not only between countries, but between communities within countries. He pledged to focus on ending violence against children during the pandemic, as well as strengthening women’s full and meaningful participation in civil and political life.

In a similar vein, the representative of Eritrea, associating herself with the Group of 77, the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said the pandemic has exposed the fragility of the dominant economic system. The global economic and political system perpetuates structural inequalities between States and is skewed against developing countries. Its medium- and long-term impact will be most profound in those countries with inadequate social welfare systems.

Meanwhile, the representative of Denmark, associating himself with the European Union and the joint statement by Germany on 6 October, likewise expressed concern over how the pandemic has amplified existing pressures on human rights, democracy, rule of law and good governance. This pressure is not new: push-back on human rights has been a cause for concern for a long time. There is increased pressure on sexual and reproductive health and rights, the shrinking space for civil society and the persecution of human rights defenders, he said.

Looking to the future, the representative of Kazakhstan said the challenge today is to overcome the pandemic. Her country is joining in solidarity to face a “new normal”, working to mitigate the turbulence, learn from mistakes and ensure that any potential vaccine is not politicized, and instead available for all. Kazakhstan has designated 2020 as the year of volunteers and hopes to designate an International Year to mobilize volunteers.

The representative of Venezuela, associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, rejected the imposition of unilateral coercive measures, which only impede access to medical teams, screening tests, fuel and other essential goods in the midst of the greatest pandemic suffered by humankind. He denounced the United States for using COVID-19 as a weapon against Venezuela in order to impact its economy. This policy is a crime to exterminate the people of Venezuela and contravenes the Rome Statute.

Echoing those sentiments, the representative of Iran said the insistence of the United States in continuing its illegal sanctions policy against his country is immoral. It contravenes international law and endangers the lives of people fighting the virus. Humanitarian goods and services are affected by the cruel sanctions, which have blighted Iran’s efforts to import medicine and medical supplies, denying Iranians the right to life. The irony is that the United States and its followers feel they can lecture Iran on human rights, he said.

The representative of Georgia drew attention to the occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, expressing alarm that, despite the Secretary-General’s call for global ceasefire, the Russian Federation has continued its destructive actions. She cited fortification of the occupational line, illegal detentions, the shooting of people for attempting to surmount barriers, violations of the right to health, and restrictions on native language use — all of which have turned into “a daily malpractice”. In recent weeks, iron fences were installed near a particular village. Limits placed on free movement have only exacerbated ground conditions, obstructing access to urgent care and medical evacuations. She also cited a refusal for patients to receive emergency treatment in Georgia’s territory on the basis of their ethnicity. It is alarming that, by 2022–2024, Georgian will be rooted out as an instruction language in both occupied regions, she said, blaming the occupiers for all such violations of universal human rights.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea also spoke out against measures taken by other countries against his own, stressing that Western countries “destroy and denounce” human rights situations in other countries, and at the same time scheme to table a Third Committee resolution on the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. This is the product of a political plot aimed at defaming his country, which he rejected. He also took serous issue with Japan, which should acknowledge and compensate for its crimes against humanity — including the genocide of 1 million people and sexual slavery of his country’s people in the past.

The representative of the United States expressed her concern that authoritarian Governments are using the pandemic to justify unwarranted crackdowns on their citizens and civil society. China is stifling freedoms and has transformed a local epidemic into a global pandemic. Its claim that it is providing “vocational training” in Xinjiang is concerning, given its State‑sponsored forced‑labour schemes. She condemned rights abuses by the “Assad regime” in Syria, noting that 11 million Syrians require humanitarian assistance. She also expressed grave concern over violations in Iran, particularly the death sentences imposed during unfair trials. Venezuelan citizens meanwhile suffer as the corrupt “Maduro regime” enriches its officials, commits human rights offences and blocks free and fair elections. She said she also is troubled by violence against the press, civil society, religious groups and the political opposition in the Russian Federation.

Also speaking were the representatives of Chile (on behalf of the Group of Friends of Older Persons), United Arab Emirates, Germany, Monaco, Malawi, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Albania, Bulgaria, Sudan, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Syria and Iran spoke on points of order.

General Debate — Afternoon Session

In the afternoon, delegates continued to shine a light on national efforts to improve living conditions for vulnerable groups, and more broadly explain their countries’ positions on the human rights–related dynamics fueling regional and international tensions.

The representative of Iraq, associating herself with the Group of 77, said efforts should be made to assist countries that are already facing security and economic challenges. Before COVID-19, Iraq was already grappling with a lethal pandemic: terrorism. “We were able to liberate our cities — however, the war against terrorism rages on,” she said. This is why Iraq joined the Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism last year. She went on to outline laws adopted to reject racial discrimination, and to criminalize the use of children in armed conflict. Iraq also supports international instruments that strengthen the rights of the elderly. She reiterated her country’s solidarity with Palestine, adding that an independent State would foster stability in the region.

The representative of Paraguay, associating himself with the Group of Friends of Indigenous Peoples and the Group of Friends of Older Persons, said the challenges of the pandemic have made it imperative to move “from words to deeds”. Noting that Paraguay devised a number of social development programmes to enhance protections for informal workers, the elderly and those living in extreme poverty, he said several agencies and institutions are working together to tackle gender-based violence and end infant abuse during confinement. A package of social development reforms was launched, and a national plan created to promote and protect the rights of indigenous peoples.

The representative of Chad, associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, outlined measures taken to ameliorate the lives of women and girls, including microcredit programmes and campaigns to educate girls. Chad has introduced a law to ban childhood marriage and raised the minimum age for marriage to 18. In an effort to advance gender parity in Government, since 2018, it has instituted a 30 per cent quota for women in elected office. Unfortunately, the country’s ability to fight the pandemic are curbed by its ongoing fight against terrorism in the Chad Basin. He underlined the need for “non-politicization” of human rights, adding that China’s sovereignty must be respected in relation to Xinjiang and Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, the representative of Austria stressed that many have pointed out that COVID-19 has exacerbated inequalities and had an adverse impact on women and older persons. All this is true, and worrying, but most of these challenges existed well before the pandemic. He went on to spotlight seven priority issues, the first of which is a collective discussion on country-specific human rights violations. The Human Rights Council has held urgent debates on the situation in Belarus and police brutality. He stressed the importance of strategies to counter xenophobia, anti-Semitism and discrimination against LGBTI people. Expressing worry about the worldwide pushback against women’s rights, he called for a “pushback against the pushing back”. Turning to issues of civil liberties, he stressed the importance of ensuring freedom of assembly, and the ability of journalists to work without the threat of harassment, calling it “unacceptable” that human rights defenders continue to be attacked around the world, despite resolutions passed by the Human Rights Council to protect them. Austria is committed to fighting transnational organized crime in persons and organs.

The representative of Azerbaijan, associating with the statement made by Cuba on behalf of 45 countries on Xinjiang, and 55 countries on Hong Kong, said that her country has been fighting to defend itself against attacks by a “foreign aggressor”, Armenia. In the ongoing conflict, in which foreign mercenaries have been pressed into service, many people, including women and children, have been wounded and killed. As many as 427 houses have been destroyed. The perpetrators must be brought to justice, as impunity fuels violence, she stressed. Attacks on Azerbaijan have targeted its second largest city, a hydropower project, and have, in a recent case, verged close to a pipeline of strategic importance, which transports oil from the Caspian Sea to Europe. This “true brutality” harkens back to a single night in 1992, when the entire population of a town was massacred, which has been recognized as genocide by several States. Recalling the Security Council resolutions passed on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in 1993, which called for the immediate withdrawal of occupying forces, she expressed regret that this “has not resonated with Armenia’s shortsighted leadership”. Despite the significant challenges posed by the conflict, Azerbaijan has launched a $2 billion social relief package in response to the pandemic.

The representative of Brazil expressed deep concern about the pandemic’s impact on the mental well-being of the elderly, the young and people with disabilities. In 2019, Brazil began cooperation with the United States, Hungary and Poland on family protection issues. “We must eliminate violence against women and girls,” he said. In order to counter growing threats to religious freedom, Brazil has joined an alliance mobilized against it. The pandemic’s impact on social development exceeds its impact on health. Brazil is committed to strengthening its health care provisioning to defeat COVID-19, for which it is vital to ensure timely access to affordable medicine. In order to address the large influx of migrants, particularly from Venezuela, Brazil has introduced “Operation Welcome”, he said, adding that Brazil is introducing a resolution, along with Germany, in order to address worrisome breaches in privacy in the digital age.

Meanwhile, the representative of Syria denounced the use of unilateral coercive measures, which impinge on countries’ right to self-determination, and violate international law. “To continue to impose them during a sanitary emergency impacts countries’ ability to cope with the pandemic, and to deliver care to people who have been infected,” he stressed, welcoming the Secretary-General’s call for sanctions to be lifted. He went on to condemn the aggressions of “American and Turkish occupation forces”, stating that their crimes extended to the support of militias and terrorist groups, looting, murder and destruction. He condemned the “flagrant” acts of the Al-Nusra Front, which has attacked educational facilities and violated children’s rights. Turning to gender equality, he said that Syria is a pioneering country in this regard, having passed laws guaranteeing equal rights to women in education, work and political participation. “Unfortunately, the nine-year-long terrorist war and unilateral coercive measures have only increased the burden on Syrian women,” he said. He reiterated Syria’s support for the Palestinian people, and added, “We will recover the Syrian Golan sooner than later.”

Several Member States spoke about their political transformations, with the representative of Burundi, associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, noting that, following elections in 2020 and the establishment of democratic institutions, the new Government is now focused on combating poverty. He also opposed the singling out of countries in the Third Committee, as such practices politicize human rights.

Meanwhile, the representative of North Macedonia, associating himself with the European Union, likewise said his country has been through a political and institutional crisis that lasted several years. Justice reforms have now been set forth to ensure independence and transparency, while other efforts have been made to institute gender-responsible budgeting in all policies. The Government also introduced a new anti-discrimination law to address serious legislative deficiencies in recognizing the gender identity of transgendered persons.

Several other delegates highlighted vulnerable groups in need of particular attention. The representative of Thailand, associating himself with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Group of 77 and the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Government will continue to reach out to the most vulnerable: children, women, persons with disabilities and migrants among them. In addition, the cabinet has approved a bill that recognizes same-sex civil partnerships, which will need to be ratified by Parliament to take full effect.

The representative of Ecuador expressed concern over the impact of the pandemic on children’s access to education, food, security and health. He also expressed alarm about the risks that indigenous peoples have faced during the crisis.

The representative of Ireland, associating himself with the European Union, said the Government is particularly concerned by continued attacks on human rights defenders. Civil society space is restricted and under threat in many countries, he said, also denouncing attacks on journalists and media workers, arbitrary detentions and restrictions on peaceful assembly across the globe. Ireland has launched national strategies to protect the human rights of LGBTI persons, including children and young persons.

The rights of women and girls were a central focus of many delegates throughout the debate, particularly amid reports domestic violence cases have risen sharply during the pandemic.

The representative of Kuwait, associating herself with the Group of 77, recalled that 2020 marks 15 years since women in her country were given the right to vote and run for public office. In September, Kuwait issued a new law aimed at protecting women from domestic violence. The law also provides for a hotline for complaints, as well as restraining orders to prevent abusers from contacting their victims.

The representative of the Republic of Korea said the Government places particular emphasis on ending all forms of sexual abuse and harassment in conflict. It launched a women and peace initiative in 2018, and provides assistance to post-conflict survivors, in collaboration with United Nations agencies. As conflict-related sexual violence holds special meaning for the Republic of Korea, the Government works to restore the dignity of the “comfort women” victims of the Second World War.

Also speaking were the representatives of Guatemala, San Marino, United Republic of Tanzania, Andorra, Senegal, Jamaica, Nepal, Botswana, Fiji, Maldives, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Montenegro and Kenya.

The representatives of Cuba and Syria spoke in points of order.

Right of Reply

The representative of Syria, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, blamed some Governments for praising human rights in their own countries but then refusing the repatriation of their nationals, who are combatants for Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) in Syria. They have attempted to strip these people of their nationalities if they seek to return to their countries of origin. They are not holding them accountable or rehabilitating them. During recent Security Council deliberations on a draft resolution to this effect, Germany did not want to hold its nationals accountable, attempting to skirt its moral obligations. In addition, the United States has stolen 200,000 barrels of Syrian oil daily, along with cattle and wheat, all while devaluing Syria’s currency through coercive measures.

The representative of India condemned the baseless comments by the representative of Pakistan, stressing that the world does not need lessons on human rights from a country that is known to be a hub of terrorism and that has brought genocide to South Asia. It is shameless enough not to offer an apology for the horrors it has perpetrated, even after so many years. The country has also encouraged killing fellow Muslims because they belong to a different sect or region in Pakistan, he said, rejecting Pakistan’s reference to Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of India.

The representative of Cuba rejected comments by the United States representative, who had expressed her concern about human rights conditions in several countries, including Cuba. Rather than draw up unilateral lists — for which it has no moral authority or reason — the United States would do better to create a list of its own human rights challenges. He wondered how the United States planned to solve its own systemic racism problem, faced daily by people of African origin, or the salary gap faced by women.

The representative of Japan, replying to his counterpart from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, said there are no laws that allow discrimination against foreign residents in Japan. Japan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea should bring peace to Southeast Asia by overcoming mistrust, and he called on that country to work with Tokyo to achieve a bright future.

The representative of Venezuela rejected the crimes against humanity carried out against Venezuelans through unilateral coercive measures imposed by the United States. In addition, its sanctions against the International Criminal Court are a manoeuvre that has no moral authority. He also rejected the so-called Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela as an instrument of propaganda, which is selective, partial and lacking in intellectual rigour.

The representative of China, exercising the right of reply, assailed the United States statement as “irresponsible” and filled with baseless allegations against China. Delivering a “stern message”, he said that rather than play the “blame-game” against China, the United States delegate ought to take note of China’s successful control of the virus. China has controlled the virus, making it safe for its citizens to travel. It provides the fullest treatment to centenarians and newborn babies. In stark contrast, he said, the United States has 7 million cases of COVID-19 and has lost 210,000 lives. Just as the doctor Li Wenliang, who was mentioned in the United States’ statement, is beloved as a “martyr” in China, the United States ought to respect its own experts, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci. On Xinjiang, he said, it has 10 times the number of mosques as the United States, and its Uighur population has increased by 25 per cent in recent years. As many as 1,000 visitors have come to the region and have failed to see any concentration camps. Turning to Hong Kong, he said that it was being “ravaged by riots”, and that its residents now find it a safer place. The United States, which “unleashes wars and unilateral sanctions” has “no license to act like teachers on a high horse,” he said. “Ditch your cold war mentality and stop spreading lies and the virus.”

The representative of Armenia rejected the statement by his counterpart from Azerbaijan, noting that the country had failed to create a just, inclusive society. Quoting from a 2020 report by the group Freedom House, which characterized it as an “authoritarian regime” where corruption was “rampant” and the opposition was “persecuted”, he said, “the ongoing military aggression accompanied by targeted shelling of infrastructure attest to their genocidal intentions.” He went on to condemn the military involvement of Turkey in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which threatens the peace and security of the wider region.

The representative of Pakistan said the rise of fascism in India was not surprising, considering the reigning Government’s ties with the organization the RSS, “the longest continuous fascist movement in the world”. As a result, he said, “high-caste Hindus prey upon lower caste and minorities.” The country has expelled Amnesty International and denied the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) access to Jammu and Kashmir to “prevent the world from knowing it is a fascist State masquerading as a democracy”. “India can hide the reality of its brutal occupation, but when exhumed, the world can see who the real terrorist is,” he said, adding that Pakistan will support Kashmiris until they win freedom from Indian occupation.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea rejected statements by Japan and the Republic of Korea, which he characterized as a “politically motivated campaign”. He said Japan had committed “A-class crimes” against Koreans, including military sexual slavery. Korean descendants living in Japan are subjected to colonial discriminatory rules, he said, calling on Japan to officially apologize and provide due compensation for its past crimes.

The representative of Azerbaijan assailed “inflammatory statements” by Armenia’s representative, who was misusing the United Nations platform to “promote domestic fictions”. It is well-established that Armenia’s attacks were premeditated and organized, she said. For example, it had previously threatened to strike a dam, which it then struck on 4 and 5 October. It also launched a cross-border attack in a densely populated region of critical geostrategic importance.

 

 

Source: UN General Assembly