UN gives final approval to resolution criticizing rights violations in Iran

December 18, 2009

UNITED NATIONS, United States — The United Nations General Assembly gave its final stamp of approval today to a strongly worded resolution condemning Iran for a long list of human rights violations.

By a vote of 74 to 49, with 59 abstentions, the General Assembly confirmed an earlier vote by its Third Committee in November on a resolution that expresses "deep concern at serious ongoing and recurring human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations, said the resolution sends a stern message to Iran.

"Day by day, human rights continue to deteriorate in Iran," said Ms. Dugal. "This vote matters very much because the General Assembly has now fully, clearly, and powerfully expressed itself over Iran's flagrant abuse of human rights.

"Our hope is that the government will heed this call and begin to respect the universally recognized rights of its citizens.

"As a first step to that, Iran could allow independent UN special rapporteurs into their country, as called for by the resolution," she said.

The list of violations outlined this year was among the most extensive in some 25 years of UN resolutions on human rights in Iran.

Specifically, the resolution expresses concern about oppressive measures taken after the June presidential election, the use of torture, the repeated abuse of legal rights, the violent repression of women, and "increasing discrimination" against minority groups, including "Arabs, Azeris, Baluchis, Kurds, Christians, Jews, Sufis and Sunni Muslims and their defenders."

It makes extensive mention of the persecution of Baha'is, expressing concern over "attacks on Baha'is and their faith in State-sponsored media, increasing evidence of efforts by the State to identify, monitor and arbitrarily detain Baha'is, preventing members of the Baha'i Faith from attending university and from sustaining themselves economically."

The resolution also expresses concern over the continued detention of seven Baha'i leaders who were arrested in March and May 2008, stating they have faced "serious charges without adequate or timely access to legal representation."

Ms. Dugal noted that attorneys for the seven were recently informed their trial has now been set for 12 January 2010. Two earlier trial dates for the seven had been set but were postponed for various reasons.

"This year's resolution points out the degree to which Iran has abused the legal process and denied many of their citizens the right to a fair trial.

"We therefore remain gravely concerned about the likely trial of these seven innocent Baha'is, who have been wrongly accused and improperly held. The charges against them are utterly baseless, and they should be released immediately," said Ms. Dugal.