16 June 2010
Iran has been condemned by the United Nations Human Rights Council for its violent crackdown on unrest after the 2009 presidential election. Fifty-six countries endorsed a US-sposored statement voicing concern at Iran's arrests and executions of dissidents and calling on Tehran to uphold fundamental freedoms of expression, media and assembly.
"We were able to garner broad cross-regional support for this initiative, from all regions of the world, at a very crucial juncture for the people of Iran," US Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe told reporters. She added: "The brutality and violence committed by the Iranian regime against human rights defenders and peaceful protesters is sickening," she said.
The United States joined the Human Rights Council for the first time last year. "US leadership at the Human Rights Council matters. Without US engagement here, we leave a vacuum of leadership which will get filled by the priorities of others," she said.
Pakistan, speaking for the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), as well as African and non-aligned countries, backed Iran in the debate. The objection was to Iran's record, a "country-specific situation," being addressed under an agenda item on a landmark human rights meeting held in Vienna in 1993.
The United States and Norway had heavily lobbied countries to endorse the statement, saying the one-year anniversary of the violent protests should be marked. The text voices concern at "events including the violent suppression of dissent, detention and executions without due process of law, severe discrimination against women and minorities including people of the Baha'i faith and restrictions on freedom of expression and religion."
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