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Heated Debate Within Two Opposing Blocs in UNHRC over Working Papers and its Future

by AURELIA WIBAWA | 15 August 2021, 11:18 WIB | XINHUA | UNHRC

The delegates of UNHRC, during a moderated caucus


JAKARTA, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) – The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has progressed far into the working papers, leading a bright pathway to the draft resolutions. Two blocs within the council have made working papers with several different measures later discussed in the fourth committee session. The differences within the working papers highlighted how the opposing blocs have contradicting ways of tackling freedom of speech in the social media sphere.


The fourth committee session brought many points from each working paper highlighting actors involved, educational approach, conflict control, categorization, and monitoring system. In several points, both opposing blocs have different approaches and to what extent on how to achieve them inside the working papers, which brought the delegates to have reciprocal dialogues with each other, resulting in a “fruitful” discussion, as mentioned by many.


The delegate of the Russian Federation, one of the countries inside the bloc consisting of Myanmar, Philippines, Ethiopia, Singapore, China, Italy, and so on, used merry-go-round as a metaphor for the discussion in UNHRC. “The council has been debating in circles when it comes to stances and parameters. Hence, using the phrase of the merry-go-round in the hopes of being able to discuss more on solutions,” said the delegate of Russia from an exclusive interview. The phrase was justified as the councils have yet to agree on the problems they conversed on.


Denmark, one of the countries from the opposing bloc of Germany, Iceland, Senegal, the French Republic, Japan, and more, stated his opinion towards the differences between the working papers. “I think Myanmar and allies’ working paper is too general; in our working paper, we tried to stress our solution to be more specific,” he said in a private interview. Nevertheless, from the session, Myanmar and its allies have shown that proper elaboration could definitely be implicated later as a draft resolution due to it being a working paper.


The delegate of Russia expressed his opinion over the other bloc’s remarks on their working paper. “It is a working paper after all and not a draft resolution, so I did hope that parameters can be dated on and added as amendments later,” he said. However, he gave a positive remark over the debate “I am actually extremely glad that the other bloc has raised a working paper because it adds to a good debate and a good time,” he added.


With two countries from the opposing blocs giving different remarks, the committee session showed how the two blocs kept finding plot holes inside each working paper, such as on the usage of UPR (Universal Periodic Review) for monitoring, sanctions given, or standardization towards hate speech. Nevertheless, with the conference having only a day left for the council to meet both ways in finding a resolution, though heated, the debate brought a positive notion that UNHRC is leading its way to the end of the road.

Jakarta International MUN 2021