US votes against UN anti-Nazi Resolution

Key details: 22/11/2017 from Canada

This is a yearly resolution brought to the floor of the UNGA, so legally non-binding in nature. The US has always voted “no” on this resolution (including under the Obama administration) due to issues with freedom of expression. It is receiving heavy attention now due to the Trump administration’s failure to quickly condemn pro-nazi speech and neo-nazi violence taking place in America.

The resolution was written and sponsored by Russia, which might explain the US comments regarding the resolution being used for political motivations (as to why Ukraine has traditionally voted no).

Therefore it is having implications on how the US truly perceives “condemning religious and ethnic intolerance” without formally obliging itself to outlaw pro-nazi speech. Specifically, the resolution calls for the universal ratification of ICERD (operative clause 5), which the US does no accept obligations to that fall outside the US constitution’s idea of freedom of expression. Similarly, clause 9 calls for the issue to fall within the scope of ICCPR clause 20, which the USA has reservations for under its ratification.

Previously, these issues and legal loopholes were not an issue because the Obama administration quickly and succinctly condemned pro-nazi speech and protests, and declared many such groups as terrorist organizations. But now, due to the Trump administrations’s failure to do so domestically, it is having implications both domestically and internationally as to what limits can be placed on freedom of expression, and that not condemning hate speech could lead to further violence.