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The Third Committee of the UN General Assembly, which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural affairs, unanimously adopted the resolution, saying surveillance and data interception by governments and companies “may violate or abuse human rights.”
Brazil’s UN envoy Antonio Patriota said human rights should prevail “irrespective of the medium and therefore need to be protected both offline and online”.
“States should refrain from and be held accountable for any act that violate these rights, including the right to privacy,” he added.
The new UN resolution seeks to extend personal privacy rights to all people after reports of massive global spying by the US National Security Agency (NSA). Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff had earlier warned the US that there will be a “growing reaction” from countries targeted by the spying scandal.
The resolution adopted on Tuesday voiced deep concern over “the negative impact” that this kind of surveillance, “in particular when carried out on a mass scale, may have on the exercise and enjoyment of human rights.”
A total of 55 countries, including France and Russia, co-sponsored the resolution, which made a light reference to the US spying revelations as reported by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The resolution will now be put to vote by the 193-member General Assembly in December. Observers said the consensus on the resolution indicates it will be adopted easily at the General Assembly.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has termed the NSA surveillance program “economic espionage”, saying reports of the NSA intercepting communication of state-oil giant Petrobras have belied US claims of the PRISM program being directed to thwart terrorism.
With inputs from Agencies