The United Nations General Assembly has issued a resolution condemning
widespread human rights violations in military-ruled Burma, and urging
its government to release all detainees and political prisoners.
resolution, which was passed on Wednesday and sponsored by the United
States, Australia, South Korea, Israel and many other European
countries accused the Burmese government of carrying out politically
motivated arrests, and not doing enough to improve human rights and
democratic conditions in the tightly controlled country.
urged Burma's military leaders to free Aung San Suu Kyi -- the
prominent opposition leader and head of the National League for
Democracy -- and all other political dissidents.
representative at the U.N. called the resolution a blatant interference
in its internal affairs. He also argued Burma had made significant
political strides toward democracy over the past year as it prepares to
hold general elections in 2010.
The resolution expressed "grave
concern" about the 2010 elections, noting that opposition politicians
and members of other ethnic groups have been barred from that process.
The resolution said Burma's political processes are not transparent, inclusive, free or fair.
assembly also expressed concern with the Burmese government's decision
to hold a referendum earlier this year that paved the way for the 2010
vote at a time of dire humanitarian need.
The referendum was
held shortly after Burma was hit by Cyclone Nargis in May. The deadly
storm left nearly 140,000 people dead or missing and about
800,000 others homeless.
The assembly vote was approved by
80 General Assembly members, while 25 countries opposed it and 45
others abstained. Unlike the more powerful U.N. Security Council,
General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding.
They do carry weight, however, because they reflect the views of the 192-member world body.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.