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Ambassador Rice at U.N. on Iran, Burma, North Korea Human Rights

21 November 2011

November 21, 2011

Statement by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the Iran, North Korea, and Burma Human Rights Resolutions in the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural), November 21, 2011

The United States welcomes decisions by the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee to highlight human rights abuses in Iran, Burma, and North Korea.

This year’s resolution on Iran, which passed this afternoon by a record margin, underscores the ongoing, systematic targeting of human rights defenders by the Government of Iran. Lawyers, journalists, Internet providers and bloggers have been harassed, intimidated, interrogated and arbitrarily detained as a consequence of their exercise of speech and the press in Iran. The Government of Iran continues to violently repress women, minority groups, and broad sections of civil society. We share the General Assembly’s deep concerns about such abuses and join its call for the Iranian government to cooperate fully with the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights.

On North Korea, the General Assembly has noted the government’s continuing refusal to cooperate with the Secretary-General’s Special Rapporteur for human rights and “the persistence of continuing reports of systematic, widespread and grave violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.” This includes cruel and degrading treatment, including public executions and extrajudicial and arbitrary detentions, as well as profound restrictions on freedom of thought.

On Burma, the General Assembly has welcomed recent talks between the government and Aung San Suu Kyi and opposition parties, reflecting the international community’s hope for progress in the country. Today’s resolution calls on the government to lift all restrictions on the freedoms of assembly, association and movement and the freedom of expression, and expresses continuing concern over violations of human rights.

Today’s votes show that the international community will continue to side with the UN’s founding values, as articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and against violators of human rights.

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/iipdigital-en/index.html)