The U.N. Commission on Human Rights voted on Tuesday to condemn "systematic, widespread and extremely grave violations" in Iraq after Russia failed in an attempt to water down the motion.
The 53-member forum passed resolutions expressing strong concern over alleged executions in Myanmar and abuses, including arbitrary detentions, in Nigeria. It called on their military governments to restore democracy.On its main day of annual voting, the U.N. body also urged the Democratic Republic of the Congo to cooperate in investigating alleged mass killings.
But the morning debate was dominated by the text on Iraq, proposed by the European Union and co-sponsored by others including the United States.
Iraq's observer delegation took the floor to strongly reject the motion. It blamed international sanctions for the deaths of 1.5 million Iraqis since 1991 and said the commission was "overlooking the real crime of extermination taking place."
Thirty-two states backed the resolution against Iraq. None opposed it, but 21 abstained, including Russia and China, both permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.
Russia failed to rally support to remove paragraphs including the key phrase condemning wide-spread violations "resulting in an all-pervasive repression and oppression sustained by broad-based discrimination and widespread terror."
Russia's delegation argued that the draft failed to take account of changes taking place in Iraq but added: "On the whole, we feel in Iraq there is a large potential for improvement of the human rights situation."
The resolution on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, tabled by Britain on behalf of the European Union, was approved by 28-7, with 18 abstentions.
The text expressed "serious concern" at the circumstances leading to the halting of a U.N. investigation last week and called on Secretary-General Kofi Annan to report to the General Assembly on the next step in pursuing alleged violations.