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UN committee chides Belarus, Myanmar for human rights violations

[JURIST] The UN General Assembly's Third Committee [official website] on Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs approved draft resolutions [press release] Wednesday denouncing both Belarus and Myanmar [JURIST news archives] (formerly Burma) for human rights violations. The Belarus resolution, introduced by the United States and passed by a vote of 70 to 31 with 67 abstentions, blames the Belarus government for rigged elections last year and state suppression of opposition candidates. The Myanmar resolution, passed 79 to 28 with 63 abstentions, condemns Myanmar for widespread human rights violations [JURIST report], including summary executions, torture, forced labor, sexual violence and recruitment of child soldiers. A Belarus-sponsored resolution critical of the US human rights record was roundly defeated 114 to 6, with 45 abstaining, and an Iran-sponsored resolution criticizing the human rights situation of indigenous peoples and immigrants in Canada was rejected 107 to 6, with 49 abstentions. Iranian-Canadian relations have been strained since the death in Iranian custody of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi [JURIST news archive] in 2003.

The same UN panel on Monday blocked a resolution [JURIST report] faulting Uzbekistan's use of force to quell a May 2005 uprising in Andijan [JURIST news archive], its closure of 200 non-governmental organizations [JURIST report], and the detention of journalists and human rights activists within the country. Last week the committee narrowly approved a draft resolution [text, PDF] introduced by Belarus and Uzbekistan directly calling for an end to politically motivated condemnations [JURIST report] of countries for human rights violations. Reuters has more.

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