Cuba to keep alive topic of US rights abuse at Guantanamo

Campaign News | Friday, 23 April 2004

Foreign Minister accuses US of sabotaging motion at Geneva

April 22: Cuba has promised it will keep alive the issue of US human rights abuses at the Guantanamo base and defended its right to bring it forward at any international fora it deems convenient to do so.

Cuban Minister of Foreign Relations, Felipe Perez Roque, denied emphatically that his delegation withdrew a draft resolution on the subject at the UN Human Rights Commission session in Geneva. He explained it was simply a postponement while the circumstances persisted to justify the document.

He also made it clear that Cuba did not demand voting on the resolution because a forced motion of no action was imminent on the part of the United States due to murky proceedural maneouvres, pressures and blackmail applied by the US delegation on other nations members of the UNHRC.

Perez Roque explained it was only as a result of this US attitude that member countries of the European Union (EU), other traditional allies and some Latin American countries announced they would not second the draft resolution or would block its discussion through the no action motion, which interrupts debate of any document.

By preventing the UNHRC to vote on the issue, he said, the EU, Australia and the rest of the US allies "have become accomplices to a terrible aggression on the world's moral conscience."

The Cuban official affirmed that US maneouvres to elude debate by the Commission on its prisoners in Guantanamo and the go-ahead they received on the part of the EU and other developed nations, reveal the double standard applied by the powerful on the human rights issue.

He added that the latest events in Geneva have also shown that it is impossible at the Human Rights Commission to denounce and condem human rights violations, when these occur in developed countries and, particularly, in the United States.

In that sense he stressed the need to reform the Commission based so that it really responds to the principles and objectives for which it was created.

In contrast with that judgement, he pointed that due to its firm stand on the Guantanamo detainees and other topics in the Geneva Agenda, Cuba has seen its authority and prestige strengthened, and demonstrated its sincere commitment to defend human rights.

Among the fora where Cuba could again demand to investigate the situation of the prisoners detained at a concentration camp in the US Guant namo base, he mentioned the General Assembly of the United Nations and the Economic and Social Council of the UN, as well as the next session of the Human Rights Commission in Geneva.


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