The draft resolution expressed deep concern “at human rights violations and abuses that may result from the conduct of any surveillance of communications, including extraterritorial surveillance of communications.”
It does not name specific countries, but comes after former U.S. contractor Edward Snowden released details of global spying by the U.S. National Security Agency. It has been charged that the NSA monitored German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone.
The United States has said it is not monitoring Merkel’s communications and will not do so in the future, but has not commented on possible past surveillance.
Germany and Brazil introduced the resolution to the U.N. General Assembly’s Third Committee, which deals with human rights issues. The committee is due to vote on the draft later this month and it is then expected to be put to a vote in the 193-member General Assembly in December, diplomats said.
“Reports about mass surveillance of private communication and the collection of personal data have alarmed people all over the world,” German U.N. Ambassador Peter Wittig told the Third Committee on Thursday.
“They ask a legitimate question: Is their right to privacy still protected effectively in our digital world?” he said.
General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, unlike resolutions of the 15-nation Security Council. But assembly resolutions that enjoy broad international support can carry significant moral and political weight.