The Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly’s strong approval of a draft resolution, condemning Iran for grave human right violations, is a welcome step in the continuing effort to put a stoplight on the country’s growing human rights crisis.
The General Assembly will formally adopt the resolution in December. UN human rights bodies should put in place mechanisms to hold Iran accountable for its rights abuses and toward implementing the resolution.
The resolution was passed with 80 votes in favor, 44 against, and 57 abstentions. During the proceedings, Iran’s highest human rights official, Mohammad Javad Larijani, who has traveled to New York to lobby against the resolution, filed a No Action Motion (NAM), a procedural move attempting to prevent the vote from taking place. But Iran’s maneuver failed glaringly with a vote of 91 against, 51 in favor, and 32 abstentions.
Passage of the Resolution will mark the seventh consecutive year the UN has cited Iran’s multiple failures to abide by human rights standards and urged cooperation with UN authorities to address them. But in an attempt to rally opposition to the measure, Larijani labeled it a political attack by the West and a “provocation.”
“Exhausted rhetoric cannot hide the fact that Iran’s inhumane treatment of its people has again aroused the condemnation of the member states,” stated Aaron Rhodes, a spokesperson for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
“Excessive numbers of executions, most without due process; juvenile executions; inhuman punishments including stoning and amputations; systematic torture; discrimination against women; the targeting of journalists and human right lawyers; the arbitrary detainment of thousands—all of these problems and more compel the international community to demand urgent improvements,” he said.
In recent years, Iran has continued to thwart all efforts to assist it in improving its human rights record. No UN Special Rapporteur has been allowed into the country since 2005, despite repeated demands by UN officials. Since the General Assembly’s 2009 resolution on Iran’s human rights record, the government has ignored all concerns raised therein and allowed the human rights situation in the country to further deteriorate.
More than 500 prisoners of conscience, who have been jailed solely for their opinions and beliefs following Iran’s tainted 2009 presidential elections, are languishing in prisons and subjected to ill-treatment. The Judiciary has handed down draconian prison and flogging sentences and fines to activists on the basis of trumped up national security charges. Numerous human rights lawyers, including Nasrin Sotoudeh and Mohammad Seifzadeh, have recently been arbitrarily arrested and prosecuted.
The Campaign has received credible allegations of dozens of group executions in Vakilabad prison, possibly adding hundreds to the annual number of executions in Iran, which are already the second highest in the world after China.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran welcomes the wide-reaching, cross-regional support for the Resolution, and urges Iran to begin a program of constructive cooperation with the United Nations to address the concerns raised.
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