UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A U.N. General Assembly committee Tuesday accused Iran of serious human rights violations in a move that an incensed Iranian delegate said was orchestrated by the United States and its allies.
The resolution on Iran in the General Assembly's human rights committee was sponsored by the United States, European Union, Canada and other Western countries. It received 80 votes in favour -- six more than a similar declaration received last year -- 44 against and 57 abstentions.
The resolution said the assembly "expresses deep concern at serious ongoing human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran." Such violations include torture, flogging, amputations, stoning, and "pervasive gender inequality and violence against women."
It also voiced "particular concern" at what it said was the government's failure to launch a thorough investigation of alleged human rights violations in the wake of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's contested re-election in 2009.
The resolution called on Iran to end discrimination and religious intolerance and urged it to improve its treatment of practitioners of the Baha'i faith. It said seven Baha'i leaders detained since 2008 deserved legal representation and "timely, fair and open legal proceedings."
Earlier Thursday the Third Committee passed resolutions condemning the human rights situations in Myanmar and North Korea. All three declarations will be formally adopted by the General Assembly next month.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice issued a statement welcoming all three resolutions.
"By condemning three of the world's most egregious human rights abusers ... member states have stayed true to the founding values of the U.N. as articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," she said.
Mohammad Javad Larijani, secretary-general of the Iranian high council for human rights, told the General Assembly's Third Committee that the United States was behind what he said was an unnecessary and unfair move to single out Tehran.
"The United States of America is the mastermind and the main provocateur," Larijani told the committee, which includes all 192 U.N. member states. "It has nothing to do with human rights."
He also lashed out at Canada, which voiced its support for the resolution during the meeting. "Canada has a dismal record on minorities," Larijani said.
"You should reject this text outright," Larijani said, raising his voice. He added that Iranians "do not want a Western democracy."
Philippe Bolopion of Human Rights Watch said the resolution should be a "wake-up call ... (for) a serial rights offender which jails human rights defenders, imprisons journalists and executes its citizens, including political dissidents and juveniles, often without due process."
A number of developing countries criticized the decision to single out Iran over its human rights record. The non-aligned bloc of 118 nations issued a statement saying that human rights issues should be dealt with by the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council and not the General Assembly.
The New York-based Baha'i International Community welcomed the move by the Third Committee.
"The wording of the resolution, which is the 23rd such condemnation of Iran since 1985, leaves no doubt that the world remains deeply concerned with Iran's continued human rights violations," it said in a statement.
Resolutions criticizing the human rights situations in Myanmar, Iran and North Korea have become an annual ritual at the United Nations.
Editing by Stacey Joyce