United Nations

Germany, Brazil draft UN resolution calling for end to excessive spying

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 October, 2013, 6:22am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 October, 2013, 6:22am

Germany and Brazil are drafting a UN General Assembly resolution demanding an end to excessive spying and invasion of privacy, after a former US intelligence contractor revealed massive international surveillance programmes, UN diplomats said.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have both condemned the widespread snooping by the US National Security Agency. Rousseff called off a high-profile state visit to the United States over reports that the NSA had spied on Brazil.

In response to the spying disclosures, many of which came from fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the German and Brazilian UN delegations had started work on a draft resolution to submit to the 193-nation General Assembly, several UN diplomats said.

"This resolution will probably have enormous support in the GA [General Assembly], since no one likes the NSA spying on them," a Western UN diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

Assembly resolutions are non-binding, unlike resolutions of the 15-nation Security Council. But assembly resolutions that enjoy broad international support can carry significant moral and political weight.

On Friday, Brazil's Foreign Ministry confirmed that Brazil was drafting a UN resolution. "What I can tell you is that the Brazilian mission in the United Nations has drawn up a proposal calling for the right to privacy on the internet," said a ministry press officer, who declined to be named, citing regulations.

A diplomat with a major European nation, speaking on condition of anonymity because the draft resolution's language was in an early stage, expected easy passage in the General Assembly because the resolution would not have language that would be "offensive" to any nation, particularly the United States.

The diplomat said the resolution would expand the right to privacy guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which went into force in 1976.

The draft would be forwarded within the week to the General Assembly subcommittee that deals with social, humanitarian, cultural and human rights issues, and then to the full General Assembly for consideration in late November.

Additional reporting byAssociated Press