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May 26, 2017

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UN slams Syria, Iran, N. Korea

UNITED NATIONS -- Tis' the season in the General Assembly for some serious if generally overlooked work and reports. The Assembly's Third Committee has soundly condemned the continuing human and political rights abuses in three global transgressors; Syria, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the quaintly titled Democratic People's Republic of Korea, aka North Korea.

The censure was clear and unequivocal in condemning the abuses in each of the countries. The Syria rights draft resolution, sponsored by Saudi Arabia and the United Stares, received 132 votes in favor, 12 against, and 35 abstentions. This year's ballot saw 10 additional states support censure, reflecting the deteriorating human rights situation in Syria in the midst of the civil war which has taken at least 30,000 lives.

Beyond the block of Western states condemning the Damascus regime, the resolution saw a surge of support by Arab and developing countries. Predictably opposition come from mainland China, Cuba, Bolivia, Iran, Russia and Zimbabwe among the few. Abstentions included India, Pakistan and South Africa.

The resolution "strongly condemns the continued widespread and systematic gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities and the government-controlled 'shabiha' militia." Equally it condemned "any human rights abuses by armed opposition groups," which in fact applies to both the Assad forces and the rebels which include Islamic jihadi fundamentalists.

Syrian U.N. envoy Bashar Ja'afari dismissed the resolution against his government as a ploy by "Western states to interfere, and we condemn this."

The rights resolution adopted on the Islamic Republic of Iran was drafted by Canada, Czech Republic, France, the U.S. among others and nonetheless saw a bumpier ballot in the committee. While 83 countries supported censure of Tehran, 31 were against and 68 states abstained.

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