The Third Committee of the UN General Assembly, which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural issues, has adopted a resolution expressing serious concern over human rights violations in Iran.
The resolution, sponsored by Canada and co-sponsored by the United States and 41 other countries, passed with a vote of 76 in favor, 35 against, and 68 abstentions. A vote on the measure before the entire General Assembly, like similar ones on North Korea and Syria, is expected in December.
The resolution on Iran was adopted after the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, submitted his latest report to the UN, in which he called attention, among other issues, to the country’s disturbing spike in executions: in the first nine months of this year alone, more than 690, the highest per capita rate in the world.
The resolution adopted by the Third Committee expressed serious concern over what it called the “alarmingly high frequency of, and increase in the carrying-out of the death penalty, in disregard of internationally recognized safeguards, including executions undertaken without notification to the prisoner’s family members or legal counsel.”
The resolution also urged the Iranian government to end “widespread and serious restrictions” on freedom of expression, opinion, association and peaceful assembly; to release individuals arbitrarily detained for the practice of these rights; to eliminate in law and practice violations against women and girls; to end restrictions on the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, and to stop the persecution of members of religious minorities.
In addition, among other matters, the U.N. called on Iran to address the poor conditions in its prisons, to eliminate the practice of denying medical care to prisoners, and to end the ”continued and sustained house arrest” of leading opposition figures from the 2009 presidential elections.
During Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s campaign in 2013, he pledged to improve the human rights situation in Iran. Tragically, this pledge remains unfulfilled.
“The United States,” as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power said in a statement after the adoption of the resolution, “remains deeply concerned about the human rights conditions in Iran and will continue to engage internationally and speak out forcefully in support of the fundamental rights of the Iranian people.”