On the night of December 16th-17th, the UN adopted the controversial resolution L32 on “human rights violations in Crimea” and “Russia’s occupation of this territory”. At the same time, 64 countries voted in favour of the resolution, 23 opposed it, and 86 states abstained.
Back in mid-November, the Ukrainian media wrote in enthusiastic tones that the draft document had passed the “fifth edition” and was going to the “final vote”, and in December the vote happened. The special interest of the Ukrainian press in this document is understandable. It is enough to indicate at least the initiators and, so to speak, the “collective of authors” of this work. The resolution was drawn up by representatives of Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia, Ukraine, Germany, the United States, Estonia, Poland, Japan, the United Kingdom and a number of countries that are no less “friendly” to Russia.
The Third Committee
But to understand how important this document is (in fact, it is not), we need to understand a little more about what the Third Committee of the United Nations is in general. Its full name is “Social, Humanitarian & Cultural Issues Committee“. I.e., it is a structure at the United Nations that oversees cultural, social and humanitarian issues. Despite the fact that the UN has committees for international security and special political issues and decolonisation. In general, departments that are directly responsible for geopolitical issues.
But the resolution on Crimea was initiated and passed only through the Third Committee, whose decisions in the geopolitical sphere are… well, let’s not belittle the authority of the United Nations. Still, the UN is a serious thing, and in general the main guarantor of at least some balance in international relations.
But as for the Third Committee, if you search the web, it turns out that many people, including foreign speakers, suspect that in recent years this UN department has often been used as a platform for all sorts of odious statements and political manipulations.
It’s just that representatives of other committees, even from states that are not exactly friendly to Russia, are afraid to take responsibility for categorically harsh and subjective statements. The consequences of the resolutions of the same International Security Committee can be much more serious -up to the aggravation of the military-political situation in a particular region. Well, “social, cultural and humanitarian problems” are still not a reason for the UN Security Council to make a decision on conducting a peacekeeping operation. Moreover, in this particular case, it would still be vetoed by our country.
As for why such a document as L32 was needed at all, Gennady Kuzmin, Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, spoke quite bluntly. According to the diplomat, “the purpose of the new UN resolution condemning the ‘occupation’ of Crimea and stating human rights violations on the peninsula is to vote against Russia”. At the same time, Kuzmin noted:
“Negotiations on these resolutions have not been held for a long time. The content of the documents becomes more and more detached from reality from year to year. The value of such resolutions is not even zero, but a deep minus.”
The diplomat also said: “Ukraine itself has arranged a comedy film about the violation of human rights in Crimea. Ukraine grossly violates the rights of residents of Crimea: they turned off water, turned off electricity, turned off transport services. Now let the UN answer why Ukraine violates human rights.”
The next important point is the distribution of votes and the very revealing words of our diplomat on this issue. Gennady Kuzmin, in particular, said that “I am grateful to all 130 states, the absolute majority of the full composition of the General Assembly, which in the Third Committee did not want to vote for this ‘masterpiece'”. I.e., Kuzmin also referred to those who “abstained” as “adequate”. A huge number of countries, namely 86, simply do not see a reason, on the one hand, to aggravate relations with “western partners”, and on the other – do not see any “occupation” and other “human rights violations”.
Here, for example, we can cite another resolution of the Third Committee, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly without any problems. Last year, on December 18th, the UN adopted a Russian resolution condemning Nazism. The votes there were distributed very significantly: 133 – for, 52 – abstained, 2 states were against. Do you know which ones? The United States and Ukraine. And if everything is generally clear with Ukraine and Nazism, then the United States with its tolerance, political correctness and BLM simply showed that their tolerance is not equal rights, not cosmopolitanism, it is Nazism and racism, just “contrariwise”. They showed it themselves, at the UN level. But this is a somewhat different topic. Here, voices and their proportions are more important for us. And the fact that when the Third Committee deals with its own humanitarian issues, it finds a much greater understanding and response from the UN member states.
And what about Crimea?
Well, the final, although obvious, but it seems necessary for pronouncing, thing: about the “occupation” of Crimea and the violation of human rights there. As for the “occupation”, it is again worth recalling that the peninsula was reunited with Russia following a national referendum, when more than 90% of the peninsula’s voters, with a turnout of 82.71%, voted to become an integral part of the Russian Federation.
As for the “violation of rights”, at the end of March 2020, i.e., let’s say, a “problematic” year for Russia and the Russian economy, the year when some citizens’ rights were somehow violated around the world in the name of sanitary safety, Russian Public Opinion Research Center conducted a survey on how Crimeans in general and Sevastopol residents in particular evaluate their choice of 2014 six years later:
The absolute majority of residents of the Republic of Crimea (93%) and Sevastopol (90%) positively assess the reunification of Crimea with Russia.
And here I would like to hint that if the rights of the inhabitants of the peninsula were systematically infringed and violated, there couldn’t be such percentages in principle. Never under any circumstances. Well, as indirect evidence here is, for example, the fact that upon request the Internet simply does not give specific figures for the number of human rights violations in Crimea. I.e., the international community shouts: “Ooooo … They are violating!”. But how exactly, in relation to whom and in what quantities – statistics in nature, it seems, do not exist. And this also says a lot about the real goals of the UN Third Committee’s Resolution L32.
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