UN condemns Syria, Iran rights record

Syria's permanent representative at the United Nations Bashar al-Jaafari during a press conference on the Syrian peace talks at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, on February 15, 2014 (AFP Photo/Philippe Desmazes) (AFP/File)

United Nations (United States) (AFP) - The United Nations on Tuesday strongly condemned Syria over its poor human rights record and also took aim at Iran in resolutions adopted by the world body.

A resolution condemning "the grave deterioration of the human rights situation" in Syria was adopted by a resounding vote of 125 to 13, with 47 abstentions in the General Assembly committee for human rights.

Condemnation of Iran's rights record was not as strong, endorsed by 78 countries, with 35 voting against and 69 abstentions.

The non-binding measures now go to the full Assembly for a vote expected next month.

Syria's Ambassador Bashar Jaafari criticised the resolution as biased and politically-motivated and suggested that the UN rights committee should instead target Saudi Arabia or Qatar over rights abuses.

"They align themselves against Syria as long as Saudi oil runs through their veins," he said.

The resolution condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria's nearly four-year war and deplored the use of torture in detention centers throughout the country.

It demanded that Syria put an end to attacks on civilians including those involving the use of barrel bombs.

Iran's representative called the resolution drafted by Canada with 45 co-sponsors as "pointless and counterproductive".

The resolution pointed to the surge in the use of the death penalty in Iran, with at least 850 people executed in the past 15 months.

China and Russia opposed both resolutions on the ground that they unfairly target a country in resolutions that have been dubbed the "name and shame" measures of the United Nations.