Ambassador Munir Akram delivered Statement for the OCA Thematic Cluster-III on behalf of G77 and in national capacity

New York, 21 February 2022

Ambassador Munir Akram termed misuse of Information and Communication Technologies to spread disinformation and hate speech, particularly on online platforms, a cause for serious concern, in his statement on behalf of G77. He was speaking at the Our Common Agenda Thematic Cluster-III today in the General Assembly. "This could be used to mislead and to spread racism, xenophobia, negative stereotyping, stigmatization and, most dangerously, breach of individuals' right to privacy" he warned. In this regard, on behalf of Group of 77 and china, Ambassador Munir Akram emphasized the need to counter disinformation in a manner that complies with States' obligations under international human rights law.

Ambassador Munir Akram appreciated Secretary General and the President General Assembly for engaging with the states on the various proposals and concepts in the Report on 'Our Common Agenda'. He welcomed the efforts of the Secretary-General to promote international cooperation in countering disinformation taking note of the proposed "global code of conduct that promotes integrity in public information". However, he asked for further clarity regarding the formulation of this code of conduct and social media regulations.

"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", he said, calling for the full and effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.

As a Chair G77, he also noted 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.

The Group also appreciated the recommendations of the Secretary-General to improve digital cooperation, saying, 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.

He also urged 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".

In his National Statement by Permanent Representative, Ambassador Munir Akram remarked on the OCA Thematic Cluster-III, saying, the principal threats to international peace and security- as so visible today - are caused by inter-state disputes. He urged, reliance on the universal and consistent application of the principles of the UN Charter- non-use of force, respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, noninterference in their internal affairs, self determination of peoples-to preserve and build international peace and security and provide equal security to all States.

"The expansion and proliferation of military alliances to promote or preserve military dominance, is not the route to global or regional peace and security" he insisted. He therefore urged the Secretary-General to "do much more to promote international peace, especially by utilizing his authority under Article 99 of the Charter".

Pakistan also urged the UN to first focus on "upholding respect for the Charter; promoting peaceful resolution of the disputes; and addressing the root causes of conflicts, including the use of force, foreign intervention, occupation, xenophobia, Islamophobia and hate speech as well as poverty, inequality, and exploitation". Ambassador also suggested to evolve "a new consensus on disarmament, to address the "strategic risks". He also called for the Security Council to be enlarged through equitable geographical representation. "Adding new permanent members will further deepen the paralysis in the Council, and result in the creation of "new centers of privileges", in violation of the principle of sovereign equality of UN Member states", he said.

For the universal promotion and preservation of human rights, we need to (a) end the politicization of human rights, (b) eliminate double standards; c) promote implementation of the right to development, including through a binding international convention; d) follow a cooperative approach based on principles of non-discrimination and genuine dialogue; (e) promote the UPR as a state-led peer process, which is not exploited through partisan pressures; (f) promote universal accountability for grave human rights violations, especially in situation of foreign occupation" he insisted further. Pakistan also supported the work of peace building commission within its mandate and in accordance with the priorities of the countries where peace is to build.

Opening plenary meeting included a briefing by the Secretary-General on the cluster of proposals, followed by an informal plenary debate with the participation of Member States and Permanent Observers. Informal thematic consultation on the third thematic cluster, "Frameworks for a peaceful world - promoting peace, international law and digital cooperation, Cluster 3 - General Assembly", is a follow-up to the report of the Secretary-General entitled "Our Common Agenda", 76th session.

The President of the 76th session of the General Assembly, Mr. Abdulla Shahid is convening a series of open, inclusive, informal thematic consultations to provide the Secretary-General with an opportunity to inform Member States on the thinking regarding the follow-up to the "Our Common Agenda" report, and to allow Member States the opportunity to further consider the various proposals, options and potential means of implementation.