UN Watch criticizes UN’s praise of Cuba

UN Watch is a non-governmental organization based in Geneva whose mandate is to monitor the performance of the United Nations by the yardstick of its own Charter. The UN’s human rights chief should reconsider her praise of Cuba’s record and of the recent mission there by a UN official compromised by ties to the Castro regime, said UN Watch today.
What better gift on Valentine’s Day than to have an outside organization recognize the UN’s hypocritical stance on Cuba? Excellent, almost as good as Marta’s chocolate.
Here are the first few paragraphs of the excellent letter written by Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch:

The Honourable Louise Arbour
High Commissioner for Human Rights
UN Office Geneva
1211 Geneva 10
14 February 2008
Dear Madame High Commissioner,
UN Watch is deeply concerned by news reports quoting you on Friday as having praised Cuba for showing “unprecedented positive engagement with the UN human rights system,” and as praising Cuba’s hosting of UN official Jean Ziegler as an example of such engagement. With respect, we believe the facts show the very opposite.
1. Cuba should be criticized for its human rights record, not praised
We are concerned that your unqualified praise of Cuba regarding human rights may be misinterpreted and misused. Whatever international commitments it may sign on to on paper, Cuba remains a police state that has been widely criticized as a serial human rights violator. The government represses all forms of dissent through a state apparatus of prosecutions, surveillance, arrests and restrictions on movement. Cubans are systematically denied basic rights to free expression, association, assembly, privacy, and due process of law. Cuba’s prisons currently hold 234 prisoners of conscience, including many journalists who have languished behind bars since their arrest during the “Black Spring” crackdown of March 2003. We urge you to make clear your position on Cuba’s human rights record.
2. Cuba leads efforts to subvert UN human right mechanisms
Second, regarding Cuba’s actions within the UN human rights system, we urge you to recognize that among all the repressive regimes on the Human Rights Council, none has been more vociferous than Cuba in leading efforts to eliminate or subvert the few remaining mechanisms of human rights scrutiny and protection. Most notoriously, in June 2007, Cuba successfully put an end to the mandate investigating that country’s abuses. Prior to doing so, it had regularly insulted the Special Rapporteur, Ms. Christine Chanet.1 Indeed, Cuba routinely shows contempt for any UN human rights expert or non-governmental organization that dares to speak out for Cuba’s victims of violations.

Read the whole thing here.

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