Did France vote with Ukraine against a UN resolution condemning Nazism?

Question asked by Charles on November 5

You are asking us about a vote that took place on Friday 4 November within the United Nations Organization (UN), around a draft resolution relating to the “combating the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”.

You are asking us if it is correct that France, Ukraine or even the United States voted against this text, as asserted in particular by François Asselineau, founder of the UPR (pro-Frexit political party), and Charles-Henri Galloispresident of the Generation Frexit movement.

The vote was on the draft resolution bearing the number L.5, considered during the 77th session of the Third Committee, responsible for social, humanitarian and cultural questions within the General Assembly of the United Nations. This resolution is first wanted by Russia, but also carried by several of its allies such as Cuba, Pakistan or Venezuela (16 States in all). “Under this draft resolution submitted by the Russian Federation, and adopted by 105 votes in favour, 52 votes against and 15 abstentions, the General Assembly would express its deep concern at the glorification, in whatever form, of the Nazi movement, neo-Nazism and former members of the Waffen-SS organization”, summarize the United Nations on their website.

“Height of hypocrisy”

As a reminder, the resolutions of the General Assembly of the United Nations – unlike those voted by the Security Council – are texts whose scope is only a declaration of intent, without a legally binding nature. Nevertheless, they retain a strong symbolic value and can serve as an argument for governments in their international action.

Among the 52 votes against are those of France, like the 26 other member countries of the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States and even Japan. The proceedings in the Third Committee were broadcast, in English, by United Nations Web TV (the speeches of the representatives of the States begin at 1:32:44, before the opening of the vote at 1:48:52).

Listening to diplomats, we understand better the reasons that led some countries to vote against the Russian draft resolution. The Ukrainian delegation to the United Nations saw this as the “height of hypocrisy”, believing “that this draft text has nothing to do with the title of the resolution, but is, on the contrary, a pretext used by Russia to justify its brutal war against its country and the abject crimes committed against humanity” , details the United Nations website. “Canada and the United States have, for their part, expressed their opposition to this draft resolution which aims, according to them, to legitimize a discourse based on disinformation. They were backed by Japan and the UK, with the latter finding that the “Putin regime” is carrying out the most devastating acts, similar to some of the worst regimes of the 20th century. […] Croatia said it voted against this text “for the first time in ten years”. In turn, Slovenia expressed its rejection of the approach defended by the text, as did Iceland, which, on behalf of a group of countries, rejected an “instrumentalization” intended to justify an aggression against a sovereign country.

A similar resolution every year since 2005

The delegation representing the European Union has also published a press release to explain the reasons justifying the opposition of its Member States to this resolution. This press release first reviews the context of the vote on the resolution: “Today, under the guise of fighting Nazism, Russia brought the horrors of war back to Europe, while reminding us that peace cannot be taken for granted. We strongly condemn the misuse of the anti-Nazism argument, and reject Russia’s inaccurate and inappropriate use of the term “denazification” to justify its inhumane, cruel and unlawful war of aggression against Ukraine. .” Then asserts that the position of the EU, which “has been advocating for years that the fight against extremism and the condemnation of the despicable ideology of Nazism not be hijacked and co-opted for political purposes that seek to excuse further violations and abuses of human rights », forced him to vote against.

If the opposition to this resolution has therefore increased in the context of the war unleashed by Russia in Ukraine, it is in fact not new. As reminded CheckNews in an article published in March, Russia tirelessly submits to the vote of the 193 members of the UN General Assembly, every year since 2005, resolutions having the same purpose. The text initially aimed to proclaim the “unacceptability of certain practices which contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”, and it was not until 2012 that the conviction of the “glorification of Nazism” appeared in its title.

Australia’s ‘concern’ over Russian text

In our March article, we already underlined, with supporting analyzes from historians and specialists of the Slavic world, that the submission of draft resolutions to the vote of the United Nations is at the heart of a “memory war” between Russia and the former states of the Soviet Union, in which the Russian authorities are trying to give themselves the best role. Thus, these texts would carry a rhetoric placing all opponents of Stalinism on the side of collaborators of Nazism. At the same time, since 2013, the content of the resolutions has become more coercive, urging States to take “measures to fight against any demonstration organized to the glory of the SS organization and any of its components”. A formulation likely to justify that Russia, in the name of the values ​​defended by the United Nations, enters into conflict with its neighbors, both Ukraine and the Baltic States.

The United States was the only country to consistently vote against each of these resolutions. In 2014, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, they were joined by Ukraine. Until then, the European Union, including France, preferred to abstain. Its member states had only voted against in 2011. From time to time, the American line was also followed by other members of the United Nations, like Canada between 2011 and 2015, but also Japan in 2005 and 2006. .

It should be noted that in addition to speaking out against the text, States have sought this year to modify its content. Thus, prior to the vote on the draft resolution as a whole, Australia (supported by Japan, Liberia and North Macedonia) presented a draft amendment, referenced “A /C.3 /77 /L.52”seeking to add to the text a paragraph according to which the General Assembly of the United Nations “notes with concern that the Russian Federation has sought to justify its territorial aggression against Ukraine by invoking the elimination of neo-Nazism, and stresses that invoking neo-Nazism as a pretext to justify territorial aggression seriously undermines the measures taken to effectively combat this plague”. The draft amendment was finally adopted by 63 votes for, 23 votes against and 65 abstentions.

Did France vote with Ukraine against a UN resolution condemning Nazism?