Well, believe it or not, the UN dares complain about Iran.
My Iranian friend, Frieda, writes:"By 71 votes to 54, with 55 abstentions, the assembly on Monday said Tehran restricted free speech, used torture, and persecuted dissenters. . . . I wonder who are those 55 nations with abstentions....How did they justify their abstentions? Amazing."
To be honest, I was amazed that they acted at all. I agreed with Robert McMahon who titled the article in which he gave a partial answer to Frieda's question, Iran: Country Faces New UN General Assembly Censure On Human Rights:
The vote followed a pattern familiar at UN human rights panels when single-country resolutions are proposed. European states, the United States, and Latin American nations supported the measure, while Islamic and developing states opposed it.
Opposing states said such"naming and shaming" resolutions are counterproductive and divisive for the committee.
Pakistani representative Billal Hayee, speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said the resolution will not serve to promote human rights.
"It increases the risk of generating confrontation and politicization at the international level on human rights issues by creating a gulf between the developed and the developing countries quite opposite to the very agenda of the United Nations," Hayee said.
Other states objecting to the practice included Turkmenistan and Belarus, which themselves face critical resolutions in the committee, and Sudan, subject to a UN investigation into whether genocide is being committed in the Darfur region.
But the Czech Republic's representative, Ivana Grollova, sought to stress the importance of such resolutions. She noted that 17 November was the 15th anniversary of events triggering the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia and the improvement of human rights.
"Please allow me today to express my honor that on behalf of my government I could today join those who care about the protection of the fundamental freedoms and human rights of everybody," Grollova said.
Forty countries co-sponsored the resolution, including the United States and 25 countries of the European Union. Countries voting against the measure included Russia, the five Central Asian states, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.
Can you believe that we will soon live in a world where these men have their finger on the nuclear botton?