U.N. General Assembly expresses "deep concern" about human rights in Iran

19 December 2007

— The United Nations General Assembly yesterday adopted a resolution expressing "deep concern" about "ongoing systematic violations of human rights" in Iran.

Adopted by a final vote of 73 to 53, with 55 abstentions, the resolution took note of repression and persecution aimed by the Iranian government at groups ranging from women and women's rights defenders to the news media and labor groups, as well as various ethnic and religious minorities, including Baha'is.

"We are happy that the General Assembly, the most globally representative body of United Nations, has seen fit once again this year to call attention to the dire situation in Iran, where Baha'is and other groups continue to face oppression and persecution by the government," said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations.

"Our hope now is that the Iranian government will heed the opinion of the international community and stop the systematic violation of human rights directed against its own people," said Ms. Dugal.

The resolution, put forward by Canada and co-sponsored by 41 other countries, describes the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran, expressing "serious concern" about "confirmed instances" of "torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including flogging and amputations"; public executions, including stoning, and "arrests, violent repression, and sentencing of women exercising their right to peaceful assembly, a campaign of intimidation against women's human rights defenders, and continuing discrimination against women and girls."

The resolution, the 20th on Iran since 1985, also notes "increasing discrimination and other human rights violations against persons belonging to religious, ethnic, linguistic or other minorities" including Arabs, Azeris, Baluchis, Kurds, Christians, Jews, Sufis and Sunni Muslims and Baha'is.

Regarding Baha'is, the resolution notes particularly that there have been "attacks on Baha'is and their faith in State-sponsored media, increasing evidence of efforts by the State to identify and monitor Baha'is and prevention of (Baha'is) from attending university and from sustaining themselves economically; an increase in cases of arbitrary arrest and detention."

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