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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tampering in affairs of other countries flouts principles guiding relations among nations

President Dilma Rousseff
United Nations
General Assembly
 Breaches International Law, declares President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil at UN General Assembly Debate
Excerpt by Carolyn Bennett

Harnessing the full potential of the Internet requires responsible regulation that ensures freedom of expression, security, respect for human rights

The UN General Assembly Debate offers the opportunity to reiterate the fundamental principles which guide my country’s foreign policy and our position with regards to pressing international issues

We are guided by the defense of a multilateral world, ruled by international law, by the primacy of peaceful solutions to conflicts and by the quest for a more compassionate and just order – both economically and socially.

U.S. Spying
ecent revelations concerning the activities of a global network of electronic espionage have caused indignation and repudiation in public opinion around the world.

In Brazil, the situation was even more serious, as it emerged that we were targeted by this intrusion.

Personal data of citizens was intercepted indiscriminately.

Corporate information - often of high economic and even strategic value - was at the center of espionage activity.

Also, Brazilian diplomatic missions, among them the Permanent Mission to the United Nations and the Office of the President of the Republic itself, had their communications intercepted.

Tampering in such a manner in the affairs of other countries is a breach of International Law and is an affront to the principles that must guide the relations among them, especially among friendly nations.

Breach of Sovereignty, Privacy Rights

A sovereign nation can never establish itself to the detriment of another sovereign nation. The right to safety of citizens of one country can never be guaranteed by violating fundamental human rights of citizens of another country.

The arguments that the illegal interception of information and data aims at protecting nations against terrorism cannot be sustained.

 …knows how to protect itself. We reject, fight, and do not harbor terrorist groups.

We are a democratic country surrounded by nations that are democratic, pacific and respectful of International Law. We have lived in peace with our neighbors for more than 140 years. As many other Latin Americans, I fought against authoritarianism and censorship; and I cannot but defend, in an uncompromising fashion, the right to privacy of individuals and the sovereignty of my country.

In the absence of the right to privacy, there can be no true freedom of expression and opinion, and therefore no effective democracy.

In the absence of the respect for sovereignty, there is no basis for the relationship among Nations.

We face … a situation of grave violation of human rights and of civil liberties; of invasion and capture of confidential information concerning corporate activities, and especially of disrespect to national sovereignty.

We expressed to the Government of the United States our disapproval, and demanded explanations, apologies and guarantees that such procedures will never be repeated.

Friendly governments and societies that seek to build a true strategic partnership, as in our case, cannot allow recurring illegal actions to take place as if they were normal. They are acceptable.

… will redouble its efforts to adopt legislation, technologies and mechanisms to protect us from the illegal interception of communications and data.

My Government will do everything within its reach to defend the human rights of all Brazilians and to protect the fruits borne from the ingenuity of our workers and our companies.

The problem, however, goes beyond a bilateral relationship. It affects the international community itself and demands a response from it. Information and telecommunication technologies cannot be the new battlefield between States.

ime is ripe to create the conditions to prevent cyberspace from being used as a weapon of war, through espionage, sabotage, and attacks against systems and infrastructure of other countries.  

Multilateralism a must –not 3 or 5 but 193 member-nation multilateralism

The United Nations must play a leading role in the effort to regulate the conduct of States with regard to these technologies.

For this reason, Brazil will present proposals for the establishment of a civilian multilateral framework for the governance and use of the Internet and to ensure the effective protection of data that travels through the web.

We need to create multilateral mechanisms for the worldwide network that are capable of ensuring principles such as:

1 - Freedom of expression, privacy of the individual and respect for human rights.

2 - Open, multilateral and democratic governance, carried out with transparency by stimulating collective creativity and the participation of society, Governments and the private sector.

3 - Universality that ensures the social and human development and the construction of inclusive and non-discriminatory societies.

4 - Cultural diversity, without the imposition of beliefs, customs and values.
5 - Neutrality of the network, guided only by technical and ethical criteria rendering it inadmissible to restrict it for political, commercial, religious or any other purposes.

UN General Assembly
Harnessing the full potential of the Internet requires, therefore, responsible regulation, which ensures at the same time freedom of expression, security and respect for human rights.

he history of the twentieth century shows that forsaking multilateralism is a prelude to wars and the consequent human misery and devastation. It also shows that the promotion of multilateralism brings benefits on ethical, political and institutional levels.

Thus I renew an appeal in favor of a wide and vigorous convergence of political wills to sustain and reinvigorate the multilateral system, which has its main pillar in the United Nations.

At its creation, much hope was raised that humanity could overcome the wounds of the Second World War. That it would be possible to rebuild, from the wreckage and bloodshed, a new world of freedom, solidarity and prosperity. . . We all have the responsibility of keeping this fertile and generous hope alive.

Sources and notes


President Rousseff 
A long history of political activism, Dilma Vana Rousseff acceded to Brazil’s presidency on January 1, 2011, the first woman elected to this office. Before the presidency, Rousseff was Chief of Staff to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2005-2010).

The Brazilian politician and economist took undergraduate and advanced credentials in economics at the Minas Gerais Federal University School of Economics, the Rio Grande do Sul Federal University, and the Campinas State University. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dilma_Rousseff

“At UN debate, Brazilian President urges protection of Internet users,” September 24, 2013, http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?ewsID=45955&Cr=General+Debate&Cr1=#.UkHyk2zD-1t

Top Image: President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil addresses the General Assembly. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas; bottom image: Wikipedia

UN General Assembly 68th Session September 2013, http://www.un.org/en/ga/


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