UN condemns ‘severe’ human rights violations in Iran
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UN condemns ‘severe’ human rights violations in Iran

General Assembly passes Canadian-drafted resolution singling out Islamic Republic’s discrimination against women and persecution of religious minorities

This Tuesday, April 15, 2014, file photo provided by ISNA, a semi-official news agency, shows blindfolded Iranian convicted man Bilal being escorted by officials and security to be prepared for his execution in public in the northern city of Nour, Iran. He was later pardoned moments before being hanged. (AP/ISNA, Arash Khamoushi)
This Tuesday, April 15, 2014, file photo provided by ISNA, a semi-official news agency, shows blindfolded Iranian convicted man Bilal being escorted by officials and security to be prepared for his execution in public in the northern city of Nour, Iran. He was later pardoned moments before being hanged. (AP/ISNA, Arash Khamoushi)

The UN General Assembly on Monday approved a resolution urging Iran to stop its widespread use of arbitrary detention and expressing serious concern at its “alarmingly high” use of the death penalty.

The Canadian-drafted resolution was adopted by a vote of 84 to 30 with 67 abstentions.

The resolution “strongly urges” Iran to eliminate discrimination against women in law and practice and expresses “serious concern about ongoing severe limitations and restrictions on the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief.”

It singles out violations including harassment, intimidation and persecution against religious minorities including Christians, Gonabadi Dervishes, Jews, Sufi Muslims, Sunni Muslims, Yarsanis, Zoroastrians and members of the Baha’i faith — and urges the release of religious practitioners including Baha’i leaders.

The resolution also calls on Iran to end “widespread and serious restrictions” including on freedom of assembly of political opponents, human rights defenders, labor leaders, environmentalists, academics, filmmakers, journalists, bloggers, social media users and others.

General view of the UN General Assembly on December 6, 2018. (UN/Loey Felipe)

While the resolution welcomes the elimination of the death penalty for some drug-related offenses, it expresses serious concern at the “alarmingly high frequency” of Iran’s use of the death penalty, including against minors.

After the measure passed a preliminary vote at the General Assembly’s Human Rights Committee last month, an Iranian diplomat dismissed the Western-backed resolution as a “political charade.”

Deputy UN ambassador Eshagh Al Habib said that while “deficiencies may exist,” he said it was “not for those who traditionally, historically and practically supported colonialism, slavery, racism and apartheid to lecture Iranians on human rights.”

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