UN passes anti-spying resolution

New York - A UN rights committee on Tuesday passed a "right to privacy" resolution pressed by Germany and Brazil which have led international outrage over reports of US spying on their leaders.

The resolution, without naming any countries, says that surveillance and data interception by governments and companies "may violate or abuse human rights".

The US and key allies Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand joined a consensus vote passing the resolution after language which suggested that foreign spying would be a rights violation was weakened.

The resolution said the UN General Assembly's rights committee is "deeply concerned at the negative impact" that surveillance and interception of communications "including extraterritorial surveillance" can have on human rights.

Germany and Brazil had wanted the resolution to say the assembly was "deeply concerned at human rights violations and abuses that may result from the conduct of any surveillance of communications, including extraterritorial surveillance of communications."

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff have reacted with fury to reports that the US National Security Agency has spied on their phone calls and office communications.

Germany's UN ambassador Peter Wittig said that while the resolution is non-binding it was an important "political message".

Wittig stressed that it was the first time that the UN has said that "unlawful and arbitrary surveillance domestically and extra territorially might violate human rights".

The resolution will now go to the full 193-member UN General Assembly for a vote.
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Eskom has considered continuous load shedding at Stage 2, instead of introducing it when the power system faces a crunch. What are your thoughts?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'm all for it - we're going to have power cuts regardless, so we might as well have some stability to better plan our lives
45% - 4161 votes
No thanks! I prefer having periods of no load shedding and we cannot normalise this crisis
55% - 5026 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.93
-1.8%
Rand - Pound
19.45
-0.0%
Rand - Euro
17.37
-0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.70
-0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.0%
Gold
1,643.66
0.0%
Silver
18.87
0.0%
Palladium
2,073.00
0.0%
Platinum
858.50
0.0%
Brent Crude
86.15
-5.0%
Top 40
57,110
-3.1%
All Share
63,417
-2.9%
Resource 10
56,319
-7.5%
Industrial 25
78,436
-1.2%
Financial 15
14,142
-1.6%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE