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U.N. Committee Rebukes Iran

U.N. Committee Rebukes Iran

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The U.N. General Assembly's committee dealing with human rights – known as the Third Committee – has rebuked Iran over its deplorable human rights record. The panel's draft resolution was approved by a vote of 74 to 48, with 59 abstentions. The measure goes before the full General Assembly next month for almost certain formal adoption.

The resolution expressed "deep concern at serious ongoing and recurring human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran and expressed "particular concern at the response of the Government ... following the Presidential elections of 12 June 2009 and the concurrent rise in human rights violations." The violations listed by the Third Committee include increasing discrimination against religious, ethnic and linguistic minorities; harassment, including by arbitrary arrest, detention or disappearance of opposition members, journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders, academics, students and others exercising their rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression; denial of due process by the government's limiting access of defendants to lawyers; and reported use of forced confessions and abuse of prisoners, including rape and torture.

U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesman Robert Wood welcomed the resolution:

"In addition to longstanding concerns about the human rights situation in Iran, the resolution expresses deep concern about the brutal response of Iranian authorities to peaceful demonstrations in the wake of the June 12 election. It calls on the Government of Iran to abolish torture and arbitrary imprisonment, as well as any executions, including stoning, carried out without due process of law."

"This resolution demonstrates that the international community is deeply concerned over the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran and the government's failure to uphold its obligations under its own constitution and international human rights law," added Mr. Wood in a statement. "Those in Iran who are trying to exercise their universal rights should know that the world continues to bear witness and their voices are being heard."