un’s third committee expresses “very serious concern” at human rights in iran

After a “nail-bitingly tense” vote on a no-action motion (NAM) tabled by Iran—which failed by 1 vote—the UN’s Third Committee finally approved a resolution condemning the human rights situation in Iran. Thanks to Barney for the heads up and for some insightful commentary on the issue.

NEW YORK—A committee of the United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution today expressing “deep concern” about “ongoing systematic violations of human rights” in Iran.

Put forward by Canada and co-sponsored by 41 other countries, 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 Iranian Baha’is.

The resolution passed the General Assembly’s Third Committee by a vote of 72 to 50 with 55 abstentions on 20 November 2007. The vote essentially assures passage of the resolution in a final vote by the entire Assembly scheduled for December.

Its passage followed a call by Iran for “no action” on the motion, a vote that itself failed by 78 to 79, with 24 abstentions. That vote, also taken today, was seen as an important test of the General Assembly’s will to examine human rights issues in specific countries when warranted.

“We are pleased that the General Assembly did not shy away from its responsibility to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, as identified in the U.N. Charter,” said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations.

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