Bahai News - U.N. Committee OKs Iran Resolution Friday November 30 6:19 PM ET

U.N. Committee OKs Iran Resolution

By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press Writer

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - A key U.N. committee approved a resolution Friday expressing concern at continuing human rights violations in Iran, including a growing number of executions and crackdowns on freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

The General Assembly's Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee voted 71 to 53, with 41 abstentions, in favor of the resolution calling on the Iran to abide by its international human rights obligations.

The resolution received about 20 more "yes" votes than a similar resolution last year, which Iranian opposition groups attributed to the crackdown on human rights by hard-liners in the government who believe in strict adherence to the values of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Approval by the committee means that the resolution is certain to be adopted when it comes to a vote in the 189-member General Assembly in December.

The resolution "expresses concern" at the imprisonment of journalists and members of Parliament, the harsh reaction to student demonstrations, and the use of torture and other forms of cruel and inhuman punishment, "in particular the practice of amputation and the growing number of cases of public flogging." It deplored "public and especially cruel executions, such as stoning."

The resolution also expresses concern at the systematic discrimination against women and girls, and against minorities, especially Bahais, Christians, Jews and Sunni Muslims.

The resolution urged Iran to take further measures "to promote full and equal enjoyment by women and girls of their human rights," to eliminate religious discrimination, to end the use of torture, and to abolish the death penalty for crimes by those under the age of 18.

Hard-liners who control unelected key institutions, including the judiciary and police, have closed reformist newspapers and jailed dozens of reformist journalists and political activists, most of them without trial.

The reformist press supports President Mohammad Khatami (news - web sites)'s program of increased social and political freedom. But hard-liners accuse it of undermining the principles of the 1979 revolution.

Massoud Rajavi, president of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an opposition group, said that 4 1/2 years after Khatami took office there has been a serious backsliding on human rights.

He said the Iranian people in recent uprisings have showing their opposition to the hard-liners and their support for "the establishment of democracy" in Iran.

©Copyright 2001, Associated Press

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