UN General Assembly approves resolution expressing concern on human rights in Iran

20 December 2006

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations General Assembly yesterday adopted a resolution expressing "serious concern" over the human rights situation in Iran, including the escalation of violations against Iranian Baha'is.

The resolution, which had been initially approved on 21 November by a committee of the Assembly, passed on 19 December 2006 by a vote of 72 to 50, with 55 abstentions.

Put forward by Canada and co-sponsored by 43 countries, the resolution calls on Iran to "eliminate, in law and in practice, all forms of discrimination based on religious, ethnic or linguistic grounds, and other human rights violations against persons belonging to minorities, including Arabs, Azeris, Baha'is, Baluchis, Kurds, Christians, Jews, Sufis, and Sunni Muslims."

The resolution takes particular note of the worsening situation facing Iran's 300,000-member Baha'i community, noting "reports of plans by the state to identify and monitor Baha'is," "an increase in cases of arbitrary arrest and detention," and "the denial of freedom of religion or of publicly carrying out communal affairs."

The resolution also expresses concern over the "destruction of sites of religious importance" to Baha'is and "the suspension of social, educational and community-related activities and the denial of access to higher education, employment, pensions, adequate housing and other benefits" for Baha'is.