The U.N. General Assembly on Monday passed an annual resolution condemning human rights abuses in Iran with a record number of votes in support.
The assembly also passed resolutions condemning human rights in North Korea and
Myanmar. All received record high backing.
The resolution, which was introduced by Canada, “expresses deep concern at serious ongoing and recurring human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
The Iran vote came only three days after the General Assembly condemned an alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington – a plot which the United States accuses Iran of masterminding.
The 193-member assembly passed the resolution condemning “torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” by Iranian authorities with 86 votes in favor, six more than last year, 32 against, down eight from 2010, and 59 abstentions.
The resolution condemned “flogging and amputations” carried out in Iran and deplored a “dramatic increase” in the use of the death penalty, particularly against minors. Many human rights groups say events have deteriorated in Iran over the past year.
Iranian government representative, Mohammad Javad Larijani, an advisor to the country’s supreme leader, called the resolution “substantially unfounded and intentionally malicious” in a speech to the General Assembly’s human rights committee.
“The document is an onslaught on the good conscience of the international community and an unforgivable insult to the whole institution of the U.N.,” Larijani said.
Among the abuses listed in the resolution were torture, excessive use of the death penalty, discrimination against women, persecution of journalists and religious minorities, including members of the Baha’i faith, as well as the detention of key opposition leaders from the 2009 presidential election.
Larijani also attacked Canada, Europe and the United States for what he said were their “serious human rights violations.”
Among the examples he gave was “increasing discrimination against immigrants, Muslims and other people of foreign origin in Europe, United States and Canada.”
British Foreign Secretary William Hague welcomed the committee’s adoption of the nonbinding resolution on Iran, which will be confirmed with a second vote in a General Assembly plenary session next month.
“Iran has shown scant evidence of cooperation with the U.N. to improve its human rights record,” Hague said in a statement. “The fact that this resolution passed by a record majority shows the international community is strongly united in its condemnation of human rights abuses in Iran.”
Russia and China, which have vetoes in the U.N. Security Council, were among those that voted against the resolution, highlighting the divide between Moscow and Beijing, which have close commercial ties to Iran, and the West, which would like Tehran to face new U.N. sanctions over its atomic program.
Diplomats from several nonaligned developing countries criticized the annual ritual of adopting resolutions condemning a handful of individual countries.
Syria, which faces a special human rights vote on Tuesday over its deadly crackdown on opposition protests, spoke out strongly for its Iranian ally.
The North Korea vote was passed with 112 votes in favor, 16 against and 55 abstentions. On Myanmar the vote was 98 in favor, 25 against with 63 abstentions.
The assembly raised “very serious concern” over the “torture” and “inhuman conditions of detention, public executions, extra judicial and arbitrary detention” in North Korea.
It also condemned the “existence of a large number of prison camps and the extensive use of forced labor.”
The Myanmar resolution welcomed recent talks between democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the military-dominated government, the release of some political prisoners and other changes over the past year.
But the General Assembly said there were still “systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
It highlighted “arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, rape and other forms of sexual violence, torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.” It also raised concerns about the treatment of ethnic minorities such as the Karen people.
Western nations, which have sanctions against Myanmar, have sought to encourage the tentative reforms started by the government. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is to hold talks in Myanmar next month.