UN Condemns Iran and Syria for Human Rights Abuses
A key United Nations committee passed on Tuesday resolutions condemning human rights abuses by Iran, Syria and North Korea, reported AFP.
A larger number of countries than last year backed a resolution against Syria but a reduced majority passed a condemnation of Iran's human rights record at the UN General Assembly committee, noted the report.
The annual vote on North Korea was passed by consensus for the first time, with not even close ally China voting against.
The resolution on North Korea, prepared by European nations, slammed the "systematic, widespread and grave violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights," in the nation.
It highlighted the use of torture and prison camps and draconian restrictions on freedom of movement.
North Koreans can be executed for trying to flee the country, according to activists. A UN special rapporteur on North Korea, former Indonesian foreign minister Marzuki Darusman, has estimated there are 150,000 to 200,000 people in North Korean prison camps.
Syria's isolation deepened with a resolution that attracted ten more countries than last year, when it was put to the UN for the first time since an uprising started against President Bashar al-Assad.
A motion condemning "widespread and systematic gross violations" by Assad's government forces and allied militias was backed by 132 nations and opposed by 12 with 35 abstentions, AFP reported.
A similar condemnation of Iran was passed with 83 votes in favor, 31 against and 68 abstaining. Last year, 86 countries backed the resolution and 32 opposed it.
The resolution, again prepared by Western nations, hit out at torture and executions in Iran, "widespread" restrictions of freedom and "pervasive" violence against women.
Iran's UN ambassador, Mohammad Khazaee, said the resolution was unbalanced and contained 150 "unsubstantiated" allegations. China, Russia and Syria were among those who voted against the resolution, AFP noted.
All the resolutions passed by the General Assembly's Third Committee, which concentrates on human rights, are non-binding, but they are also the subject of fierce diplomatic lobbying.
The resolutions will go to a formal vote in the General Assembly in December where they should be easily passed.