( AFP ) - A UN General Assembly panel on Tuesday passed a resolution strongly condemning the recent crackdown on anti-government protests by Myanmar's rulers but the vote was dismissed by the military-run country's delegate.
The non-binding text, adopted by a vote of 88 in favor, 24 against with 66 abstentions, "strongly condemns the use of violence against peaceful demonstrators who were exercising their rights to freedom of opinion and expression and to peaceful assembly and association."
It also expressed "grave concern" at the "ongoing systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms" and the "arbitrary detentions, including the use of physical violence, in response to peaceful protests, and the extension of the house arrest of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi."
But Myanmar's UN envoy Kyaw Tint Swe immediately brushed off the vote of censure saying: "We are not surprised by the result of the vote nor are we discouraged.
"Despite its power of bloc voting and despite the tremendous pressure (they) exert on a number of developing countries, the sponsors don't even have a majority," he told the committee.
The Myanmar envoy said he was satisfied at "being able to send a loud and clear message that exploitation of human rights for political purposes is not acceptable by Myanmar and many others."
The resolution, which was co-sponsored by European countries, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, is expected to be endorsed by the full 192-member General Assembly next month.
Voting against were China, Russia, India, Bangladesh, Cuba, Venezuela and some of Myanmar's partners in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN): Malaysia, Laos and Vietnam.
Other ASEAN members: Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Brunei abstained, while Cambodia did not take part in the vote.
Several member states, notably Singapore, expressed concern the resolution would jeopardize efforts by UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari and UN human rights envoy Paulo Sergio Pinheiro during recent visits to Myanmar to improve the human rights and political situation.
Pinheiro was allowed back into Myanmar earlier this month for the first time since 2003 by the junta, which has been criticized for its handling of the October protests.
Amnesty International has estimated that 700 people arrested during the protests were still in detention, although the government said only 91 of the 3,000 originally rounded up were still being held.
Meanwhile, Gambari said Tuesday he was "disappointed" by the decision to cancel his briefing to Southeast Asian leaders meeting in Singapore.
But Gambari, who has visited Myanmar twice since the regime violently suppressed pro-democracy rallies in September, insisted that ASEAN leaders had nevertheless issued an "extremely positive" statement on Myanmar.