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United Nations: Third Committee Approves Draft Resolution Expressing Serious Concern About Human Rights Situation in Iran

Sixty-first General Assembly, Third Committee, 50th Meeting (Nov 21, 2006)


The General Assembly would express serious concern at the continuing harassment, intimidation and persecution of human rights defenders, political opponents, ethnic and religious minorities and other groups in Iran, as well as the country's persistent failure to comply fully with international standards in the administration of justice, by the terms of a draft resolution approved today by the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural).


The draft would have the Assembly call upon the Government of Iran to ensure full respect for the rights to freedom of assembly, opinion and expression and to eliminate the use of torture and other cruel forms of punishment, as well as discrimination based on religious, ethnic, linguistic and gender grounds.


The draft, one of six measures approved by the Committee today, passed by a vote of 70 in favour to 48 opposed, with 55 abstentions (See annex II).


In other business, the Committee approved by consensus draft resolutions on assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa; human rights and extreme poverty; the Subregional Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa; protection of migrants; and regional arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights.


Prior to the vote on the Iran draft, the representative of Iran tabled a motion of no action on the draft.  That motion was rejected by a vote of 75 in favour to 77 against, with 24 abstentions.  (See annex I).


The representative of Iran called the draft a politically motivated exercise which proved that United Nations human rights mechanisms had been abused and manipulated to address the political interests of a few.  Iran did not oppose the scrutiny of Member States by relevant bodies of the United Nations.  It had held four rounds of human rights dialogue with the European Union since 2002.  Adoption of the draft, however, could diminish prospects for cooperation and understanding on human rights, including that dialogue.


The representative of Finland, on behalf of the European Union, said that the international community could not be silent in situations where the violation of human rights was continuous, grave and widespread and where countries did not show a willingness to address those issues and engage in meaningful dialogue.  The situation in Iran met those criteria.  He added that the European Union would vote against any motion to close the debate on an item under discussion in the Third Committee, as such motions aimed at denying Member States their sovereign right to bring before the Assembly any concern they deemed worthy of its attention.


The representative of Canada, which sponsored the draft, said that he supported a cooperative approach, but when a country did not engage its own citizens, cooperate with the international community or address serious situations, then the international community had no choice but to express its views.  Procedural manoeuvres should not be allowed to thwart the Third Committee's efforts to engage in debate.


Speaking in explanation of vote, the representative of the Sudan said that he had voted against the draft because country-specific resolutions were aimed at settling scores and had nothing to do with protecting human rights.  Defamation was the main concern of the sponsors of such drafts, which targeted developing and Muslim countries.  The current draft took aim at Iran despite the spirit of cooperation and openness that it had shown by sending invitations to all individuals responsible for examining human rights issues to visit the country.


Several delegations argued that human rights issues should be dealt with by periodic reviews of the Human Rights Council, since all countries were subject to them.  The representative of Brazil said that she favoured that mechanism, which would eliminate selectivity and politicization from the process of examining human rights.  Country-specific resolutions were only appropriate in cases of such gravity that they required the international community's attention.  Despite several human rights concerns, that was not the case with Iran since it had worked with United Nations human rights mechanisms and other agencies.  For that reason, she had abstained on the draft.



The draft resolution on the human rights situation in Iran (document A/C.3/61/L.41) was approved by a recorded vote of 70 in favour to 48 against, with 55 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Bulgaria, Burundi, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kiribati, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Palau, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tonga, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Vanuatu.


Against:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brunei Darussalam, China, Comoros, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar, Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.


Abstain:  Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Suriname, Swaziland, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Zambia.


Absent:  Central African Republic, Chad, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Liberia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Somalia, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey.


Full report is available on United Nations web site.


... Payvand News - 11/28/06 ... --

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