By Bobby Rajabi
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East
TEHRAN, Iran – On November 20 the United Nations rebuked Iran for numerous human rights violations. The violations allegedly took place in the wake of the disputed presidential election. The UN’s condemnation came int he form of a draft resolution approved by members of the UN committee on human rights. The resolution passed by a vote of seventy four to forty eight with fifty nine countries abstaining.
A resolution condemning Iran for their treatment of their own citizens is not rare for the UN. However, the current resolution expressed particular concern for the increase of human rights violations that followed President Mahomoud Ahmedinejad’s disputed re-election. Those who abstained from the vote were reportedly concerned with singling out specific countries for condemnation.
In a similar vote last year, Iran garnered slightly more support. Among those who removed their support from Iran was Saudi Arabia, who had voted “no” in 2008. This decision appears to be linked to Saudi Arabia’s displeasure with Iranian support for a Shi’ite rebellion in Yemen. The rebellion has reportedly spilled over onto Saudi territory.
The resolution expressed “particular concern at the response of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran following the Presidential election of 12 June 2009 and the concurrent rise in human rights violations.” Among the violations listed by the UN were “harassment, intimidation and persecution, including by arbitrary arrest, detention or disappearance, of opposition members, journalists and other media representatives, bloggers, lawyers, clerics, human rights defenders, academics, (and) students.”
Iran’s disputed election lead to street rallies that broke out after the vote. Protesters claimed that Ahmedinejad’s re-election came as a result of a rigged vote. Four thousand individuals were arrested. Among them were one hundred forty senior reformers and journalists who were later shown on television in mass trials. They were charged with seeking an overthrow of the regime.
Iran’s UN ambassador, Mohammad Khazaee, protested against the measure. He alleged that the resolution, introduced by Canada, showed the country’s “ill intentions.” He also criticized bringing such resolutions to the assembly as they have “created an atmosphere of confrontation and polarization.”
For more information, please see:
AFP – UN Blasts Iran’s Human Rights Violations – 21 November 2009
BBC – UN Condemns Iran’s Response to Post-Election Unrest – 21 November 2009
New York Times – In Draft Resolution, United Nations Rebukes Iran For Rights Violations Since Election – 20 November 2009
Reuters – UN Panel Condemns Iran For Post-Election Crackdown – 20 November 2009