STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY AMBASSADOR MUNIR AKRAM, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PAKISTAN TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON THEMATIC CLUSTER-III, "FRAMEWORKS FOR A PEACEFUL WORLD - PROMOTING PEACE, INTERNATIONAL LAW, AND DIGITAL COOPERATION", AT THE INFORMAL THEMATIC CONSULTATIONS AS A FOLLOW-UP TO THE REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL ENTITLED "OUR COMMON AGENDA" (New York, 21 February 2022)
President of the General Assembly,
Under Secretary General Volker Turk,
1. I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of G77 and China.
2. At the outset, I would like to reiterate my gratitude to the President of the General Assembly for convening these consultations and to the Secretary General and his team for his commitment to continuously engage with the states on the various proposals and concepts in the Report on 'Our Common Agenda'.
3. As done during the previous consultations, I will try to summarize the written inputs that have already been shared with the President of the Assembly.
4. The Group believes that the misuse of Information and Communication Technologies to spread disinformation and hate speech, particularly on online platforms, is a cause for serious concern. This could be used to mislead and to spread racism, xenophobia, negative stereotyping, stigmatization and, most dangerously, breach of individuals' right to privacy. In this regard, the Group emphasizes the need to counter disinformation in a manner that complies with States' obligations under international human rights law.
5. The Group welcomes the efforts of the Secretary-General to promote international cooperation in countering disinformation and takes note of the proposed "global code of conduct that promotes integrity in public information". However, further clarity is required regarding the formulation of this code of conduct and social media regulations.
6. The G77 and China believes that racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance are a repudiation of humanity and regrets that millions continue to be victims of the same.
7. In this regard, we call for the full and effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.
8. The Group also acknowledges and profoundly regrets the suffering inflicted on millions of men, women, and children as a result of slavery, the slave trade, the transatlantic slave trade, colonialism, apartheid, genocide, and past tragedies, and calls upon those that have not yet expressed remorse or presented apologies to find some way to contribute to the restoration of the dignity of victims.
9. The Group welcomes the establishment of the Permanent Forum of People of African Descent as an advisory body and requests the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to strengthen the substantive support to the Forum for fulfilling its mandate
10. The Group also believes that the establishment of an international independent expert mechanism may promote a transformative change for racial justice and equality in the context of law enforcement globally.
11. The Group notes with concern that persons belonging to racial and ethnic minorities and to other groups, including Asians and people of Asian descent, especially women and girls, have been victims of racist violence, threats of violence, discrimination and stigmatization as a result of the pandemic.
12. The Group stresses the urgent need to prevent, monitor and address the disproportionate effects of the pandemic on older persons. In this context, we reaffirm the Political Declaration and the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, 2002, and supports global efforts towards an age-inclusive implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
13. The Group supports the Universal Periodic Review Mechanism (UPR), which is an impartial, objective, non-political and non-selective mechanism to review human rights of all countries without any distinction or discrimination.
14. We seek further information regarding the proposal to review the modalities of UPR mechanism as part of new guidelines.
15. The Group takes note with appreciation of the recommendations of the Secretary-General to improve digital cooperation.
16. The Group also emphasizes the importance of ensuring synergies and avoiding duplication across various entities working on digital cooperation.
17. For the Group, the important issues pertaining to digital cooperation remain: inclusive digital economy, access to digital networks and connectivity, technology transfer, investment in digital infrastructures, data protection, artificial intelligence, avoiding Internet fragmentation, countering the proliferation of disinformation and misinformation, and outlining shared principles for a digital future for all to achieve the 2030 Agenda.
18. It is important to avoid unnecessary politicization of technical issues to foster an open, fair, inclusive, and non-discriminatory environment for the development of digital technologies in developing countries.
19. The G-77 and China supports the role of the UN in promoting and protecting human rights. However, further information is required on the proposed new United Nations system-wide agenda for protection of human rights.
20. The Group reiterates that the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly is the sole Main Committee of Organization entrusted with responsibilities for administrative, financial, and budgetary matters.
21. In this regard, any budgetary, financial, and administrative matters, including those related to the establishment of a peacekeeping operation or special political mission, should be discussed solely in the framework of the Fifth Committee, in conformity with the UN Charter.