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News :: Human Rights : International : Media : Politics
Hanging from the brush...
by posted by F Espinoza
21 Jun 2007
"They are hanging from the brush and we took the stepladder"...
Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Cuban Victory in the Human Rights Council
The Human Rights Council (HRC), having concluded its fifth period of sessions in Geneva, decided to discontinue the mandate of the so-called Personal Representative of the High Commissioner on Human Rights for Cuba, thus putting an end to the manipulative efforts on the part of the United States in the subject of human rights against our country.
This decision of the body which will replace the discredited Human Rights Commission constitutes a historic victory in the struggle of our people to enforce justice and to put an end to the anti-Cuba exercise conceived by the United States precisely as a pretext to maintain and exacerbate its genocidal policy of blockade and aggression against Cuba.
With this decision, the Human Rights Council recognizes the unjust, selective and discriminatory nature of the actions which for two decades have been perpetrated against our country, and it vigorously denies the rumours about the resolutions and mechanisms which the American government has succeeded in imposing upon the defunct Human Rights Commission through coercion, threats and blackmail.
Support from the members of the Non-Aligned Movement and other Third World countries has been essential in order to achieve this result. Even the European Union countries, permanent allies of the United States in its actions against our country within the framework of the former Human Rights Commission, had no other option than to accept the discontinuation of the discredited mandate against Cuba, as the only way to attempt to give credibility to the Council whose first year of existence is being celebrated today.
This result constitutes an act of essential justice for the valiant and generous Cuban people, whose sons and daughters contributed in the past to the disappearance of colonialism and Apartheid in Africa, and who today offer themselves modestly and selflessly to the realization of human rights for millions of people in more than 100 countries where today the solidarity of more than 42 thousand Cuban doctors, nurses, teachers, sports trainers, engineers and technicians has made its presence felt. It is an act of justice for the people who today train more than 30 thousand young people from 118 countries in their universities, totally free of charge, and who have returned the gift of sight to almost 700,000 people from 31 countries.
It constitutes recognition of Cuba’s prestige and labour and of her Revolution whose undeniable efforts in the promotion and protection of all human rights for all, and in the creation of a society that is ever more just, more egalitarian, more human, cannot be ignored or distorted.
It is a well deserved recognition of Cuba’s defence of Third World interests, of her denunciation of and resistance to the United States' plans for imperial domination, to the Cuba which, because of her worth, was elected founding member of the Human Rights Council by 135 votes, more than two-thirds of the members of the UN General Assembly, despite pressure by the governments of the United States and the European Union, who actively worked in opposition to Cuba’s candidacy.
The result of the process of the Council’s institutional construction, recently concluded, in spite of the shortages and deficiencies from which this body continues to suffer, is favourable to Third World countries, organized and bonded by the Non-Aligned Movement under the Chairmanship of Cuba. The Movement played an active role and saw to it that the Council Agenda includes matters of particular importance to the countries of the South, such as the "situation of human rights in Palestine and occupied Arab territories", "the right to development", and "racial discrimination and xenophobia".
Now, it remains to be seen if the industrialized countries, who were using the old HRC as an instrument to attempt to impose their ideas and their political vision, are truly ready to work on a basis of principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity, non-selectivity, constructive dialogue and cooperation, and to avoid the double standards and politicization which led to the discrediting of the late Human Rights Commission, which had been transformed into an inquisitional tribunal of the countries of the South.
Cuba, who in her capacity as Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement has played an important role in this process, will continue to do battle in defence of the truth, of our sovereignty, and of the interests of Third World countries.
Havana, June 19, 2007
"Year 49 of the Revolution"
Havana, Jun 20 (Prensa Latina) Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said on Wednesday that the United Nations Human Rights Council"s decision to cancel the mandate of the so-called special rapporteur on Cuba is an indispensable act of justice with the Caribbean island.
At a press conference at the headquarters of Cuba"s Foreign Ministry, Perez Roque said that the UNHRC"s decision, approved by all 47 member countries, is also "a resounding, undisputable and historic victory of Cuban diplomacy." The decision is an indispensable act of justice that the international community owed to the people of Cuba, said Perez Roque, adding that it is an end to 20 years of US manipulation of the human rights issue in the former UN Commission.
At the conclusion of the fifth session of the new Geneva-based committee, the members put an end to the mandate of the personal representative of the UN High Human Rights Commissioner, France"s Christine Chanet.
Perez Roque dedicated what he called a splendid victory to President Fidel Castro, who, he said, "with his teachings and leadership taught us to resist on the basis of truth, on the basis of principles, without getting down on our knees or yielding." He also lauded the Cuban people"s sacrifice for more than 15 years of economic hardships, called Special Period, and added that the result has the additional value of having occurred "amid brutal pressure by the US government." According to the Cuban foreign minister, a cycle is over and Washington lacks pretexts to maintain the economic, financial and commercial blockade imposed on Havana for nearly half a century.
"They are hanging from the brush and we took the stepladder", he said, paraphrasing a popular Cuban saying.
The Cuban foreign minister pointed out that the countries of the European Union did not dare break the consensus and voted for Cuba, which was initially backed by more than 20 delegations, to which he expressed gratitude for their solidarity.
Perez Roque added that the current situation in the European Community is curious, as they agree that there are no reasons to justify a UNHRC rapporteur on Cuba, so new rectifying steps are expected in the future.
In that regard, he noted the need to abolish the so-called common stance of the European Union, adopted in 1996 at the request of then Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar, and the sanctions imposed in 2003 and suspended since 2005.
CUBA EU Takes One Small Step
Havana, Jun 20 (Prensa Latina) Cuba called the vote of support by the European Union at the UN Council for Human Rights a "necessary rectification," to discontinue the abuses of the so-called personal representative of the UN High Commission for Human Rights.
Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque commented that new steps of rectification are awaited in the future, and said relations between Cuba and the EU cannot be normal as long as the "common stand" exists, which he said is "abnormal."
He pointed out the lack of European independence in rubber-stamping, at the behest of then Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar, a US State Department script that "does not establish a logical and adequate framework for relations," and then labeling that script a "common stand."
"The idea that the EU can have relations with Cuba on the basis of imposition and conditions will forever be contra to international law and our determination to not permit this from anyone," Cuba's top diplomat asserted.
Questioned about a recent document approved by EU ministers in Brussels, Perez Roque said the offer of dialogue with Havana is another "necessary rectification" and will receive an official response at the appropriate moment.
However, he said, it is "not sufficient" as it does not "definitively eliminate the common position or sanctions."
CUBA Favors Parley for Colombia Conflict
Havana, June 20 (Prensa Latina) Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque confirmed the presence of Colombian guerrilla leader Rodrigo Granda in the Island, and ratified his government's willingness to contribute to a negotiated solution to Colombia's armed conflict.
"Granda is in Cuba after the Cuban Government agreed to a request, not only from the Colombian Government, but also from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)," the diplomat said in a news conference Wednesday.
The guerrilla leader also traveled to Havana at his own request, noted Perez Roque, who considered this decision is "in line with Cuba's longstanding view of trying to contribute to a negotiated solution to the Colombian internal conflict, based on respect for Colombia's sovereignty."
He recalled that, in this spirit, Cuba has offered its territory for peace negotiations between Bogota and the National Liberation Army (ELN), which have been taking place in Havana since December 2005.
The role of Cuban authorities has been "discrete, without any aspiration of prominence or political advantage," he said, explaining "Cuba's role has been limited to creating conditions so that talks are held in an atmosphere of privacy, which can lead to their success."
Rodrigo Granda was released on June 4 under an amnesty granted by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, which also benefited other Colombian insurgents.
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