UN Committee Condemns Iraq, Iran for Human Right Abuses

Published November 10th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Condemning the use of "widespread terror" as a tool of repression, the human rights committee of the UN General Assembly called on Iraq to curb abuses by its military and security forces, while it expressed concern about executions and torture in Iran, calling on the country to respect due process of law. 

The committee voted by 89 to two Thursday for a resolution calling on the Iraqi government "to bring the action of its military and security forces into conformity with the standards of international law." 

Fifty-six member states abstained on the vote. Libya and Sudan were the only countries to vote no. Iraq itself is heavily in arrears on its contributions to the United Nations and is among a dozen countries, which are not allowed to vote in the General Assembly. 

The committee said Iraq should "abrogate all laws granting impunity to specified forces or persons killing or injuring individuals." 

It called for the repeal of "all decrees that prescribe cruel and inhuman punishment or treatment, including mutilation, and to ensure that torture and cruel punishment and treatment no longer occur." 

The resolution was the most harshly worded in a series on the human rights situation in several countries, which the General Assembly is expected to take up next month. 

It strongly condemned "the systematic, widespread and extremely grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the government of Iraq." 

The committee Thursday voted by 58 to 53, with 48 abstentions, for a resolution calling on Tehran "to ensure that capital punishment will not be imposed for crimes other than the most serious." 

It welcomed the latest report by the special representative of the UN Commission of Human Rights, Maurice Copithorne, who said "executions remain suspiciously high" in Iran. 

In Tehran on Thursday, the revolutionary court was asked to impose the death sentence on a former communist, Khalil Rostam-Khani, who is alleged to have organized an "anti-Islamic" conference in Berlin in April. 

Prosecutor Abdollah Sharifi said Rostam-Khani should be sentenced under Article 186 of Iran's penal code, which prescribes the death penalty for "waging war on God." 

The committee called on the government to "make efforts to ensure the full application of due process of law and transparent procedures by the judiciary." 

In particular, it said the authorities should "ensure the respect for the rights of the defense and the equity of verdicts in all instances, including the members of religious minority groups." 

The resolution now goes to the UN General Assembly, which is expected to vote on it within a month, a spokeswoman for the Assembly said. 

Behzad Naziri, a spokesman for the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said he did not expect Tehran to respond to the UN's call. 

He noted that the Assembly, the Geneva-based Commission and their sub-committees had adopted a total of 47 resolutions on Iran, and said "the regime turned a deaf ear." -- UNITED NATIONS (AFP) 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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