UNITED NATIONS, (AP) – A U.N. General Assembly committee passed a draft resolution Tuesday expressing “deep concern” at ongoing human rights violations in Iran, which has ignored previous resolutions on the issue.
The assembly’s human rights committee approved the resolution by a vote of 72-50 with 55 abstentions. The draft now goes to the 192-member General Assembly for a final vote.
The document expresses “very serious concern” that despite previous resolutions by the General Assembly on the issue of human rights in Iran, there have been “confirmed instances” of violations including the use of stoning as a method of execution and various forms of degrading punishment and torture.
It also calls upon Iran’s government “to eliminate, in law and practice, all forms of discrimination and other human rights violations against persons belonging to religious, ethnic, linguistic, or other minorities.”
Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee initially had sought to block a vote on the draft. That motion was defeated by a single vote, with 79 against, 78 in favor and 24 abstentions.
In a statement before the vote on the draft resolution, Khazaee criticized Canada, the main sponsor among 41 others of the draft resolution, for resorting to “illusionary and nonexisting claims and allegations” to gain support for the vote.
He also accused the Canadian government of falsely portraying itself as a human rights leader “while certain parts of its own population, especially minorities, immigrants, foreigners and indigenous people suffer from” discriminatory treatment.
Canada’s U.N. Ambassador John McNee, in his statement, said the sponsors hope some day a resolution will no longer be necessary.
“We even look forward to the day where the government of Iran will simply acknowledge that it faces human rights issues. And one day, hopefully, the Iranian citizens themselves will be able to discuss and address human rights issues openly, without fear of persecution,” he said.
The representative from Libya charged that the passing of country-specific resolutions would increase the level of confrontation among nations.
Other opponents of the draft resolution, including Syria and Egypt, said the issue should be dealt with by the U.N.’s Human Rights Council.