UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday condemned Syria for widespread human rights abuses and expressed concern about such violations in Iran and North Korea, but it welcomed pledges by Iran's president to improve in some areas.
The resolution on Iran was approved with 86 votes in favor, 36 against and 61 abstentions, and the draft on Syria was adopted with 127 votes in favor, 13 against and 47 abstentions. The resolution on North Korea was passed by consensus, but some states publicly disassociated themselves from the text.
The resolutions on these countries have become an annual rite. They intensify international pressure and further isolate those states but have no legal consequences. All three countries lobby hard against adoption of the resolutions.
While the resolution on Iran expressed concern at serious ongoing abuses, it acknowledged pledges by Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, on human rights issues such as eliminating discrimination against women and members of ethnic minorities and promoting freedom of expression and opinion.
It also praised Rouhani's plan to implement a civil rights charter and encouraged Iran "to take concrete action to ensure these pledges can result in demonstrable improvements as soon as possible and to uphold the government's obligations under its domestic laws and under international human rights law."