A top U.N. official accused the United States of committing inhuman "atrocities" in Iraq and Afghanistan during a speech Wednesday to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.
"The aggressions against Iraq and Afghanistan and their occupations constitute atrocities that must be condemned and repudiated by all who believe in the rule of law in international relations," said U.N. General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann.
D'Escoto claimed that U.S. actions have directly led to more than a million Iraqi civilian deaths since 2003, a vastly inflated figure that does not correspond with the U.N.'s own estimates.
The U.N.'s health and medical agency, the World Health Organization, says 151,000 Iraqis have died since the 2003 invasion. IraqBodyCount.org puts the death toll between 90,000-99,245.
D'Escoto's fiery speech came on the day the Obama administration decided to take up observer status on the Human Rights Council, which the Bush administration had boycotted because it was unable to crack down on despots and human rights abuses.
D'Escoto urged the Council to put the human rights situation in Iraq on its agenda, accusing the U.S. of war crimes and a series of human rights violations. "These must be addressed to bring an end to the scandalous present impunity," he said.
The U.S. mission to the U.N. criticized d'Escoto for his comments and his overall conduct in office, though it stopped short of condemning or correcting his speech.
"Mr. d'Escoto has his facts wrong and seems like he's lost in some sort of time warp. Once again he has fallen short of his responsibilities as President of the General Assembly to lead in a credible, and unifying way," said Mark Kornblau, spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the U.N.
D'Escoto also used the forum to call on the U.S. to free five Cuban nationals being held in U.S. prisons. The group was convicted in a Miami court in 2001 on a range of charges including lying about their identities, trying to obtain U.S. military secrets and spying on Cuban exile groups.
D'Escoto, once the foreign minister for the Communist Sandinista government of Nicaragua, called the five "heroes" being held in "preposterous conditions."
D'Escoto said he was hopeful that the Obama administration would address his concerns and bring change to American policies concerning the imprisoned Cubans.
"The immediate ex-incarceration of the five Cuban heroes would help strengthen our confidence that the promised change is for real," he said.
FOX News' Ben Evansky contributed to this report.
Editor's Note: Comment from the U.S. mission to the U.N. was added to this report on Friday, March 6.