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U.N. rights forum encourages Iran, still critical

12:44 p.m. Apr 23, 1999 Eastern

GENEVA, April 23 (Reuters) - The United Nations main human rights body on Friday passed a Western resolution welcoming some developments in Iran but also expressing concern at "continuing violations" including executions in the Islamic state.

The 53-member U.N. Commission on Human Rights, holding its annual session in Geneva, approved the text by 23 votes to 16 with 14 abstentions.

The resolution was presented by 33 countries including several members of the European Union and the United States.

The text welcomed a "more open debate" in Iran on human rights issues and what it described as the Iranian government's commitment to promote respect for the rule of law.

But it also listed violations such as "the high number of executions, cases of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" and continued discrimination against religious minorities, especially members of the Baha'i faith.

It called on Iran to "end the use of torture and the practice of amputation, stoning and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment."

The motion also urged Iran to "continue its positive efforts to consolidate respect for the rule of law," renewed the mandate of the Commission's investigator for Iran for another year and put Iran on the agenda for next year's session.

©Copyright 1999, Reuters

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