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Iran's Rights Abuses Get Attention


Jafar Panahi is an award-winning filmmaker, sentenced to six years in prison.

The trampling of the Iranian people's human rights by the government of Iran continues, and the international community is taking notice.

The trampling of the Iranian people's human rights by the government of Iran continues, and the international community is taking notice.

Amidst news of long prison terms given to distinguished Iranian filmmakers, hunger strikes by political prisoners protesting deplorable prison conditions, the on-going arrest and incarceration of lawyers, students and journalists, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution expressing deep concern about the appalling human rights violations taking place in Iran.

The resolution, which was approved in late December, cited torture, violence against women, and repression of religious and ethnic minorities, as well as a lack of accountability for reported violations following the presidential elections of June 2009 among the abuses committed by the government.

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said approval of the resolution by the UN General Assembly showed that the international community is aware of the severity of the situation in Iran:

"Particularly the continued harassment, persecution and violent repression of political opponents, human rights defenders and a wide variety of civil society representatives, and it reflects our concern that an increasing number of Iranian political prisoners have had to undertake life-threatening hunger strikes in order to invoke their minimal due-process protections."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed the UN resolution saying it reiterated the need for Iran to permit credible and independent investigations of all allegations of human rights violations. In a written statement Secretary Clinton said, "To all those Iranians struggling to lift your voices and speak up for fundamental freedoms and human rights. You are not alone. The United States and the international community stand with you."

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