UN resolution sharply critical of Iran for continuing human rights violations

November 18, 2010

UNITED NATIONS, United States — A committee of the UN General Assembly today sharply criticized Iran for its continued and increasing violations of human rights.

By a vote of 80 to 44, the Assembly's Third Committee approved a resolution that "expresses deep concern at serious ongoing and recurring human rights violations" in Iran. There were 57 abstentions.

The vote came after Iran attempted a "no-action motion," aimed at blocking the resolution by calling for adjournment of the debate. The motion failed by a vote of 51 in favor to 91 against, with 32 abstentions.

In its specifics, the resolution takes note of recent reports of Iran's continued use of torture, an intensified crackdown on human rights defenders, "pervasive gender inequality and violence against women," and discrimination against minorities, including members of the Baha'i Faith.

"The wording of the resolution, which is the 23rd such condemnation of Iran since 1985, leaves no doubt that the world remains deeply concerned with Iran's continued human rights violations," said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations.

The five-page document echoes concerns expressed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who issued a report in October that criticized Iran's use of torture and the death penalty, its poor treatment of women, and repeated violations of due process of law, as well as its failure to protect the rights of minorities, such as the Baha'i, Sufi, Baluch and Kurdish communities.

The resolution also calls on Iran to cooperate with international human rights monitors and to allow them into the country.

"The Baha'i International Community strongly welcomes this resolution, not only for its clear-sighted view of what is happening in Iran but also for its call for increased monitoring," said Ms. Dugal. "As the resolution notes, it has been more than five years since Iran allowed UN officials into the country to investigate reports of human rights violations - something that is clearly unacceptable, especially for a country that claims to the world that it has nothing to hide."

Put forward by 42 co-sponsors, the resolution's passage today by the Third Committee virtually assures final approval by the General Assembly Plenary in December.

The resolution devoted an entire paragraph to Iran's treatment of members of the Baha'i Faith, cataloging an extensive list of recent incidents and attacks on Baha'is.

In particular, it noted "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 confiscation and destruction of their property,” and “the vandalizing of their cemeteries.” It also expressed concern over the recent trial and sentencing of seven Baha'i leaders, saying they were "repeatedly denied the due process of law."