Monday, February 2, 2009

Cuba in protest over UN rights report.


Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, acknowledged that her office found the number of NGO submissions "surprising." "Normally they come in dozens, not hundreds," he noted. But he insisted that the normal procedure had been followed. "Following the Cuban mission's protest, High Commissioner Navi Pillay answered in a letter that the drafting procedure for the report was rigorously the same as the one used for all countries," Colville added.

Reprinted from Caribbean Net Newscaribbeannetnews.com
Cuba in protest over UN rights report
Published on Monday, February 2, 2009
GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP): Cuba has protested to the UN about a report summarising the outlook of human rights campaign groups on the country, complaining that it did not adequately reflect praise, officials said Friday. The communist island is often criticised by groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch or journalists watchdog Reporters without Borders, alleging violations of basic freedoms and repression of political opponents. So eyebrows were raised at the United Nations human rights office when they received submissions from 326 "non-governmental organisations" (NGOs) ahead of the Human Rights Council's meeting next week to review Cuba's track record. The documents included some 2,000 pages of often repetitive praise about life on the Caribbean island from different NGOs, sources close to matter told AFP. Those accounts also emphasised the damaging impact of the US economic embargo on Cuba. The 10-page report on NGO submissions is meant to help the 47 member states on the Council get a balanced overview of what human rights groups think about the situation in Cuba before the review and public debate. But a UN rights spokesman said Havana formally lodged a protest about the way the report was compiled, complaining that it did not adequately reflect the praise given by the majority of the submissions.
Rupert ColvilleAFP PHOTORupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, acknowledged that her office found the number of NGO submissions "surprising." "Normally they come in dozens, not hundreds," he noted. But he insisted that the normal procedure had been followed. "Following the Cuban mission's protest, High Commissioner Navi Pillay answered in a letter that the drafting procedure for the report was rigorously the same as the one used for all countries," Colville added. During their "Universal Periodic Review" session on Thursday, the first time Cuba will be examined, the 47 members of the Human Rights Council will also have two other reports at hand: one based on UN sources, the other from the country under scrutiny.
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