Archive for the 'Cuba' Category

Today: UN to Hear from Venezuelan Protest Leaders, Cuban Dissidents

Testifying: Venezuelan student protest leaders Eusebio Costa & Alejandro Teppa; and Angel Carromero, driver in the suspicious crash that killed legendary Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá

GENEVA, June 17, 2014 – For the first time ever, the UN will hear testimony from leaders of the Venezuela protest movement, as well as from the survivor of the suspicious car crash that killed legendary Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya.

The hearings on human rights in Venezuela and Cuba, organized by a NGO coalition as an official event inside the United Nations Human Rights Council, will take place today in Geneva, Tuesday, June 17th. Continue reading ‘Today: UN to Hear from Venezuelan Protest Leaders, Cuban Dissidents’

UN to hear testimony of foul play in Cuban dissident’s death

Angel Carromero, driver in the suspicious crash that killed legendary Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá, to address UN Human Rights Council

Angel Carromero (inset) survived the crash that killed Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá
only to be accused by the Cuban government of vehicular homicide

GENEVA, June 16, 2014 – As world figures continue to call for an independent investigation into the July 2012 car crash that killed Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá, Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch is bringing Angel Carromero — the Spanish politician who drove the car that many allege was targeted by Cuban security agents — to testify before diplomats, rights activists and journalists at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Carromero’s first-ever presentation at the UN will take place tomorrow, Tuesday, June 17th, on a panel that will also featuring Cuban poet and former political prisoner Regis Iglesias.

UN Watch is organizing the event as part of a coalition of human rights groups that include the German NGO International Society for Human Rights, Iniciativa por Venezuela, Human Rights Foundation, Humano y Libre, and Directorio. Continue reading ‘UN to hear testimony of foul play in Cuban dissident’s death’

Cuba, Russia, Iran offer lessons of democracy, while attacking US

A workshop took place at the United Nations office in Geneva today on the so-called “unilateral coercive measures.” In UN-lingo this means Cuba’s efforts to attack the US and its embargo, under the guise of human rights. So no wonder that today’s proceedings were marred by extreme anti-American and anti-Western statements.

Indeed the anti-American discourse started with Cuba accusing the US of “genocide,” among other things. “The US blockade is the main obstacle to the economic development of Cuba and the main violation of human rights.” Of course, there was no mention of the one-party dictatorship that has ruled the island for decades now with no respect for civil and political rights. The Cuban diplomats added that the embargo “is an act of genocide and causes suffering to the people.”

Russia was soon to follow. It said it is “convinced that instead of such ineffective approaches, that only show the weakness of the countries imposing them, dialogue and cooperation should prevail.” In a lesson intended for the West, Russia said that such measures are “anti-democratic by their very nature.”

Jean Ziegler would not be absent from such an anti-American fest. This UN “human rights expert,” founder and recipient of the “Moammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize,” is known for his close ties with the Castro regime. So it did not come as a surprise to anyone that he presented a study on “mechanisms to assess the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights and to promote accountability.”

For this report, the UN had sent questionnaires to all UN member-states. The best responder? The Islamic Republic of Iran. According to Ziegler, “Iran has given extraordinary detail and clear figures. We are very grateful to Iran’s UN Mission for their reply.”

International organizations, activists and parliamentarians call on the UN Secretary General about Cuba

Geneva, January 27, 2014.

We, the undersigned human rights organizations,
Having listened to the Secretary General’s January 27th remarks upon arrival in Havana where he stated that he looked “forward to hearing views on key issues from peace and security to sustainable development and human rights” and that he looked forward to his “meetings with Cuban officials, including His Excellency President Raul Castro and many ministers” but made no mention of meeting with Cuba’s democratic opposition or human rights defenders,

China & Cuba elected to oversee UN democracy-building


Dictatorships China and Cuba just took their new seats on the Executive Board of UNDP, whose stated priority is “Building democratic societies.” The tyrannies will help oversee UN democracy promotion through 2016.

Iran’s murderous and misogynistic  regime is already a member, and will continue helping UNDP to “Empower women” through 2015.

Below: Watch Chinese dissident Yang Jianli and Cuban dissident Rosa Maria Paya oppose their countries’ election to the UN Human Rights Council.

Human Rights Panel at Vienna Diplomatic Academy

UN Watch in partnership with UN Women (National Committee, Austria), the Vienna NGO Committee on the Status of Women and the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna recently held a human rights conference featuring dissidents from Cuba, Iran, and Mauritania. The event, which took place on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, was covered by the Austrian Press Agency , upon which is based the  following article. (Original German here.)

UN Watch human rights conference at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna

UN Watch’s Vienna Diplomatic Academy human rights conference featuring dissidents Abidine Merzough of Mauritania (far left), Marina Nemat of Iran (second from right), and Rosa Maria Paya of Cuba (far right). Moderated by Marta Halpert (second from left).

Marina Nemat: “Tehran’s leadership is a sheep in wolf’s clothing” 

Three dissidents and women’s rights activists from Iran, Mauritania and Cuba paint dreary picture of home

VIENNA, November 26, 2013 – Iranian human rights activist and author Marina Nemat has little confidence in the new president Hassan Rouhani, who she fears the West considers to be moderate and conciliatory, especially after the recent agreement in the nuclear dispute.

“The Iranian leadership is trying to show a moderate face,” Nemat said Monday night at a human rights panel organized by Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch.  The panel, “Three dissidents, three states,” took place during the UN’s annual International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

The Tehran leadership wants the international community to lift sanctions to ease suffering of the Iranian people, Nemat said, but “a change must come from within.”

Continue reading ‘Human Rights Panel at Vienna Diplomatic Academy’

How abusers trumpet their HRC election to silence dissent

On November 12, the UN General Assembly elected 14 new members for the Human Rights Council. Among the 14 elected were 6 countries that UN Watch evaluated as unqualified for membership: Algeria, China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Vietnam. Their newfound membership of the UN’s top human rights body will be yet another occasion for these abusers to spew propaganda and silence dissidents and civil society – often the only ones who dare to tell the truth about these regimes. Since Tuesday’s election, members of the respective governments and representative of their UN Missions have commented on the election explaining that their victories were due to the international recognition of their commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights.


“The Chinese government attaches great importance to the promotion and protection of human rights. It has made remarkable achievements and has vigorously developed international cooperation in the field of human rights …China is fully qualified to be elected as a member of the UN Human Rights Council. China’s election to the UN Human Rights Council Tuesday also serves as the international community’s acknowledgment of China’s significant achievements in the field of human rights.”

Wang Min, China’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, 13 November 2013 (Source)


“Cuba’s selection is nothing less than a recognition of its consistent stance of rejecting double standards and the persistent efforts by Western powers to use the Council for political ends, to manipulate the issue of human rights in service of its interests and to convert this body into an inquisitor tribunal for the nations of the (global) South who don’t submit to their designs.”

Anayansi Rodriquez, Cuba’s UN ambassador in Geneva, 13 November 2013 (Source)

Saudi Arabia

“The Kingdom’s election to the Human Rights Council for the third time in a row is yet another confirmation of its pioneering role in the council and the service of human rights issues.”

Abdullah bin Yahya Al-Ma’alami, Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, 12 November 2013 (Source)

“This election confirms the Kingdom’s efforts in the enhancement of justice, equality and the protection and promotion of human rights at both domestic and international arenas, as well as the Kingdom’s firm positions towards issues of fair human rights in the world … This election confirms the Kingdom’s prestigious status and international respect and recognition for its roles in the promotion and protection of human rights.”

Dr Al-Aiban, President of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, 13 November 2013 (Source)


“The UN election was a ‘good result.’ We will work in order to strengthen cooperation and dialogue and create constructive working atmosphere in the council.”

Gennady Gatilov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, 12 November 2013 (Source)

“This is sound evidence that the international community supports our country’s policy of strengthening the collective base of the U.N. work in encouraging and protection of the human rights.”

Russian Foreign Ministry, 13 November 2013 (Source)


“This determination reflects the Vietnamese Party and State’s view of human rights as a common aspiration of human being as well as their consistent policy of respecting and ensuring human rights, and enhancing international cooperation in this field … Vietnam’s election to the UNHRC with the highest vote is of great significance. It shows the international community’s acknowledgement and appreciation of Vietnam’s policies and achievements in its comprehensive renewal process, including the building of a state of law that offers a better guarantee of citizens’ rights.”

Pham Binh Minh, Foreign Minister of Vietnam, 13 November 2013 (Source)

Why Cuba should not be elected to the UN Rights Council – by Rosa Maria Payá

Today the UN will elect 14 out of 16 candidate countries to be new members of its top human rights body. UN Watch heads an international campaign of MPs and NGOs urging nations to oppose the election of Algeria, China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam. The other candidates are France, Macedonia, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tunisia, and Uruguay. Click here for UN Watch’s comprehensive report, analysis and comment.

Following are the remarks of Cuban dissident Rosa Maria Payá, delivered at UN headquarters on November 4, 2013, at a press conference organized by UN Watch and the Human Right Foundation.


On September 20, the Cuban government declared, in the Human Rights Council, that they would not allow democracy in my country. They reject democratic values, and they pretend to redefine them with twisted principles, in order to remain in power forever.

The Cuban mission declined all recommendations to stop political apartheid, and to ensure fundamental freedoms, among many rights requested by the Cuban people from the government.

My father Oswaldo Payá is the founder of the  Christian Liberation Movement. He won the Sakharov Prize from the European Parliament, and he struggled peacefully for the recognition, in law and practice, of the right of all Cubans to have rights. He promoted a referendum known as the Varela Project, which has the support of more than 25,000 citizens, more than the number requested by our Constitution. Ten years later, the Cuban government still refuses to answer this citizen call for a plebiscite, violating its own Constitution.

Continue reading ‘Why Cuba should not be elected to the UN Rights Council – by Rosa Maria Payá’

Top EU Legislators Appeal Against UNHRC Candidacies of China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam

Appeal Against Unworthy UN Human Rights Candidacies


We, the undersigned members of parliament, human rights activists and non-governmental organizations, call on you to publicly oppose the candidacies of Algeria, China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, for seats on the United Nations Human Rights Council, elections for which will be held on November 12, 2013. We urge you to take action to defeat these manifestly unworthy candidacies, which threaten to cast a shadow upon the reputation of the Council—and of the United Nations as a whole.

Candidates for the UN Human Rights Council, according to General Assembly Resolution 60/251, are supposed to be countries that “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.”

Yet it is widely recognized that Algeria, China, Cuba Russia, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam fail to meet these basic membership criteria. They have poor if not abysmal records on human rights protection at home, and on human rights promotion at the UN.

Rather than giving these non-democratic governments influence over vital decision on human rights, we urge you to introduce resolutions at the United Nations to hold these nations accountable, and to condemn their gross and systematic human rights violations.

Silence is complacency. For the sake of millions of victims worldwide who need a credible and effective international human rights body, please do not be silent.


Edward McMillan-Scott, MEP
European Parliament Vice-President for Human Rights & Democracy

Elmar Brok, MEP
Chair of Committee on Foreign Affairs, European Parliament

Guy Verhofstadt, MEP
Leader of Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)
Former Prime Minister of Belgium

Continue reading ‘Top EU Legislators Appeal Against UNHRC Candidacies of China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam’

Human Rights Politicized at UN: Hillel Neuer on CTV

Sounding the alarm:  in an interview on Canada’s CTV, UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer calls on the U.S. and the EU to end their silence over the UN’s planned election next week of the world’s worst abusers to its highest human rights body.

Front groups set tone for tomorrow’s UN review of China’s rights record

Cuba, Venezuela, Sri Lanka support phony Chinese NGO event

GENEVA, Oct. 21, 2013 – On the eve of the UN Human Rights Council’s review of China’s human rights record, a panel was held today at UNHRC headquarters by Chinese “non-governmental” organizations, who showered China with praise for its supposed civil society progress.

It has become commonplace at the United Nations for authoritarian governments to accredit front groups as NGOs, who then take the floor or organize side to influence UN debates on the country concerned. They are known as phony NGOs, or “GONGOs” — government-run NGOs.

Today’s phony NGO panel  was organized by “China NGO Network for International Exchanges (CNIE),” a UN-accredited NGO.

They were joined by the “China Association for NPO (non-profit organizations),” the “Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Hebei Province,” and the “China Association for Preservation and Development of Tibetan Culture and China Ethnic Minorities Association for External Exchanges.”

Panelists spoke of the “booming and changing” development of NGOs in China, claiming there are 506,000 social organizations and one to three million grass-roots NGOs active in China today. These promote economic development by focusing on education, social service, agriculture, ecological environment, law and religion, it was said. These organizations exercise autonomy as long as they work in accordance with the law and that the functions of the government are separated from those of social organizations.

At the end of the presentation, as if on cue, diplomats from Cuba, Venezuela and Sri Lanka — major allies of the Chinese regime — took the floor to praised the Chinese GONGOs for their active civil society. Cuba reaffirmed the importance of having such a genuine dialogue about civil society in China, and commended the government and people of China for all that has been done in the field of human rights.

UN Watch hosts UN event on Human Rights in Cuba

On 17 September 2013, UN Watch, together with Liberal International and Directorio Democratico Cubano, hosted an event entitled “Cuba’s UPR: A Shadow Report.”

A view of the panelists

The panelists were:

  • OFELIA PAYA ACEVEDO: Widow of the Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya, who died in a suspicious car crash a year ago, leader of the Christian Liberation Movement.
  • YRIS TAMARA PEREZ AGUILERA: Human rights defender in Cuba, founder and leader of the Rosa Parks Feminine Civic Rights Movement, a women rights organization in Cuba.
  • OSVALDO ALFONSO VALDES: Former prisoner of conscience, Director of Misceláneas de Cuba, published in Sweden in collaboration with independent journalists in Cuba, Vice-President of Union Liberal Cubana and representative of Liberal International.

Continue reading ‘UN Watch hosts UN event on Human Rights in Cuba’

UN Clash: Cuba Overruled in Bid to Silence Widow of Dissident Oswaldo Paya

Also: for first time, an official UN document is published calling for inquiry into Oswaldo Paya’s death, signed by 125 world leaders

GENEVA, Sept. 17 – Cuba’s delegate to the UN Human Rights Council today interrupted testimony by the widow of famed Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya, in a failed bid to block her from requesting an international inquiry into the death of her husband.

Ofelia Acevedo, who was invited to deliver testimony in the UNHRC plenary by UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights organization, was interrupted first by Cuba, which demanded that the Chair block her from speaking, and then by China, which supported Havana’s point of order.

But the U.S. immediately took the floor to defend UN Watch’s right to speak. The Chair effectively overruled Cuba’s objection by allowing Acevedo to continue her testimony.

“We commend the U.S. for being the only one today to defy Cuba’s bullying tactics and defend this courageous woman’s right to speak, and her right to find out whether the Castro regime killed her husband, a champion of non-violent reform who was Cuba’s Nelson Mandela,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

Timed with Acevedo’s testimony, UN Watch formally presented an international petition to the UNHRC demanding an inquiry into Paya’s death, circulated today to all delegates as official UN document HRC/NGO/3 under the council’s agenda item on “human rights situations requiring the council’s attention.”

Signatories of UN Watch’s appeal include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, European Parliament Vice-President Edward McMillan-Scott, Chinese dissident Yang Jianli, numerous former presidents, foreign ministers & ambassadors, MPs and human rights activists.

This is the first time that the demand for an inquiry into Paya’s death was published as an official UN document.

How Cuba Will Use UNHRC Nominee Jean Ziegler to Spread Lies, Propaganda

November 1, 2007, in Havana, Cuba: Jean Ziegler, UN Special Rapporteur on The Right to Food (L) is welcomed by Cuba’s Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque. Ziegler’s visit marks the first time in many years that Cuba has allowed a UN envoy to visit Cuba on human rights issues. “Ziegler shares the view of the ailing Cuban President Fidel Castro that it is a crime against humanity to use agriculturally productive soil for growing crops for biofuel production instead of for foodstuffs.” (Photo by Sven Creutzmann/Mambo photo/Getty Images)

Jean Ziegler, co-founder, co-manager and 2002 recipient of the Qaddafi human rights prize, is hoping to return to the UN Human Rights Council in September, thanks to the sponsorship and lobbying efforts of the Swiss government.

While Switzerland’s Note Verbale on Ziegler’s behalf invokes his prior work as a UNHRC expert, the truth is that his record there was marked by shameless politicization and propaganda for some of the world’s most autocratic regimes.

A classic example is Ziegler’s use of his UN mandate to propagandize for the Communist regime of Fidel Castro. Continue reading ‘How Cuba Will Use UNHRC Nominee Jean Ziegler to Spread Lies, Propaganda’

How Cuba Hijacked the UN Review of its Rights Record

Today the UN reviewed Cuba’s human rights record. But it tainted the process through fraud. A new report by UN Watch: How Cuba Hijacked its UPR.

Appeal for International Inquiry into the Death of Oswaldo Paya

[Updated on March 22, 2013. The spokesman of UNSG Ban Ki-moon acknowledged the appeal in this UN briefing.]

Appeal for International Inquiry into the Death of Oswaldo Paya

An open letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, and Ambassadors of all Member States

12 March 2013


We urge you to support our demand for an international and independent investigation into the alleged murder of Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá, a world-renowned figure and recipient of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize, who died in a car crash in Bayamo, Cuba, on July 22, 2012, together with fellow activist Harold Cepero.

In dramatic new testimony by the driver of the car, Ángel Carromero describes, in a Washington Post interview dated 6 March 2013, how their vehicle was followed, harassed and ultimately rammed from behind by a car bearing government license plates. Mr. Carromero further alleges that, following the crash, he was drugged, mistreated and coerced by Cuban authorities into making a false confession.

The new revelations corroborate the claims made by the families of the victims and other witnesses, as well as the report by Spain’s ABC news agency about text messages sent contemporaneous with the incident from the mobile phones of Mr. Carromero and another passenger, Aron Modig, indicating that their car was chased and then hit, causing the crash.

Significantly, according to the family of Oswaldo Payá, state security agents had repeatedly threatened to kill him.

Mounting and credible allegations that the Cuban government may have been complicit in the murder of its most prominent critic, a leading figure in the human rights world, cannot go ignored by the international community.

The families of the victims, and the people of Cuba, have a right to know the truth, and they have a right to justice. This can only happen with the creation of an international and independent inquiry. We therefore respectfully urge you to support our call.

Continue reading ‘Appeal for International Inquiry into the Death of Oswaldo Paya’

Declaración de United Nations Watch, Dado por Rosa María Payá

Declaración de United Nations Watch, Consejo de Derechos Humanos, 22 ª reunión, el tema 4, Dado por Rosa María Payá, 12 de marzo 2013

Gracias, señor presidente.

Mi nombre es Rosa María Payá, del Movimiento Cristiano Liberación e hija su coordinador nacional Oswaldo Payá, líder opositor y Premio Sajarov del Parlamento Europeo.

Mi padre dedicó su vida a trabajar por los cambios pacíficos legales para que los cubanos disfrutaran de todos los derechos.

Promovió el Proyecto Varela, demanda de referéndum apoyada por más de 25 000 ciudadanos, que han desafiado la represión para exigir cambios en las leyes que garanticen la libertad de expresión, asociación, elecciones libres, libertad de los presos políticos  pacíficos y la posibilidad de tener empresas privadas. Hasta hoy el gobierno se niega a realizar este plebiscito y encarceló a la mayoría de sus líderes. Continue reading ‘Declaración de United Nations Watch, Dado por Rosa María Payá’

Cuba tries to block UN speech by Oswaldo Paya’s daughter

Statement by UN Watch to UN Human Rights Council, Agenda Item 4
Delivered by Rosa Maria Paya, 12 March 2013

Thank you, Mr. President.

My name is Rosa Maria Payá, member of the Christian Liberation Movement and daughter of its national coordinator, Oswaldo Payá, opposition leader and Sakharov Prize laureate of the European Parliament.

My father dedicated his life to working for legal and nonviolent change for Cubans to enjoy all basic human rights.

He promoted the Varela Project, a referendum supported by over 25,000 citizens, who have defied repression to demand legal reforms that guarantee freedom of expression, freedom of association, free elections, freedom of nonviolent political prisoners and the right to own private enterprises.

The government has so far refused to allow this plebiscite, and it imprisoned the majority of its leaders. Continue reading ‘Cuba tries to block UN speech by Oswaldo Paya’s daughter’

UN hijacked by Cuba’s “Right to peace” farce

This week the UN was diverted from real human rights problems for a week-long political exercise on the so-called “right to peace.”

Last July, Cuba presented a draft resolution on “The Right to Peace,” which recognized a “right to resist and oppose oppressive colonial foreign occupation or dictatorial domination.” We commented on it in this plenary speech:

According to experts, this could be seen as an avenue to legitimize terrorism. Countries such as Syria, Sudan, Belarus, China, Sri Lanka, Iran, North Korea, and Russia, supported the resolution, while countries such as the United States and the European Union did not. As the EU stated, they do not support the formation of the working group for many reasons including, but not limited to the fact that, “it is evident that there is no legal basis for the ‘right to peace’ in international law, either as an individual or collective right.”

Continue reading ‘UN hijacked by Cuba’s “Right to peace” farce’

UN Seminar on “International Cooperation”

On Friday, February 15, 2013, the OHCHR held a seminar on “International Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights.” The seminar was called for by a HRC resolution tabled by the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). It was yet another opportunity for oppresive regimes to attack Western democracies and the universal nature of human rights.

Iran, speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement, reinforced the idea that cultural diversity was essential for human rights. “Countries should be allowed to protect human rights while taking into account their own national conditions.” Furthermore, it argued “It is not practical or feasible for all countries to adopt the same model.”

During the Q&A period, Iran raised the issue of sanctions as an impediment to the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, hinting that the rights of Iranians were violated as a result of international sanctions. The Security Council has imposed sanctions on Iran due to their non-cooperation with UN mechanisms which monitor their nuclear program.

Cuba stated that it was a shining example of the progress that can be made in the field of human rights with meager resources. The Cuban diplomat explained that measures to strengthen cooperation in the international arena have failed, due to the “politicization and manipulation of human rights mechanisms.” He said that they had hoped that the Human Rights Council would be a “new dawn,” but that it has followed the same failed destiny of the Commission on Human Rights. The Cuban diplomat concluded by expressing his dismay that things have not changed since the days of the Human Rights Commission.

Upside Down U.N.: Cuba’s “Right to Peace” Resolution Supports Terror

This is how the U.N. Human Rights Council undermines the very principles it was founded to uphold. Today the Communist government of Cuba, a key backer of the Syrian mass murderer Bashar al-Assad, presented a draft resolution on “The Right to Peace.”

Not surprisingly, the resolution promotes a text by the council’s Advisory Committee which recognizes a “right to resist and oppose oppressive colonial, foreign occupation or dictatorial domination.” Experts say this can be read as legitimizing terrorism.

China, the main co-sponsor of the resolution, voiced strong support for the text. Iran also expressed support for the Cuban initiative. Russia welcomed it.

The Netherlands said “not every laudable goal can be phrased in terms of human rights”, and gave the example of the right to happiness. We need to set priorities and work on identifiable and distinguishable rights; establishing the right to peace would “come in the way of the establishing of existing rights.”

The U.S. stressed the importance of a spirit of “openness and flexibility”; we are “moving towards a divisive text rather than one that can build bridges within the Council.”

Latest U.N. Gobbledygook: “Gender Implications of International Solidarity”

Today’s announcement by the office of UN human rights chief Navi Pillay about an “Expert Workshop on Human Rights and International Solidarity,” which it will organize on June 7-8 in Geneva, provides a classic example of the gobbledygook emanating from the highest quarters of the UN:

[This will be] a workshop for an exchange of views on, inter alia, the gender implications of international solidarity, the impact of a right to international solidarity, the role of international solidarity in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and the realization of the right to development, with the participation of representatives from all interested States, the independent expert, the members of the Advisory Committee dealing with this issue, and civil society.” Continue reading ‘Latest U.N. Gobbledygook: “Gender Implications of International Solidarity”’

Communist Cuba Takes Leading Role at UN Rights Council

Three of yesterday’s UN Human Rights Council resolutions were sponsored by Castro’s Communist Cuba, which continues to exercise key influence in UN bodies, particularly as a leader of the 120-strong Non Aligned Movement.

One of the new resolutions will require the UN to hire professional staff according to “geographic balance” instead of merit. The US and EU said the move threatened basic standards of competence, qualifications and efficiency.

Another Cuban-sponsored text promotes the doctrine of “cultural rights,” often used at the UN by many Islamic, Communist and African governments to evade respecting their citizens’ universal human rights, and to justify the killing of gays in Iran, the execution of Christians for blasphemy in Pakistan, and the jailing of dissidents in China, Cuba and Zimbabwe.

Dissidents propose draft resolutions for world’s ignored emergencies

The Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy took place on March 13, 2012, organized by UN Watch and an international coalition of 20 NGOs. The Summit, which ran in parallel to the main session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, produced alternative draft resolutions for the Council to consider. These deal with urgent human rights situaitons that have so far been ignored by the international community. These are:

Cuba Slams UN Watch For ‘Undermining’ Human Rights Council, Interrupts Speech on Dissident Barred From Geneva Conference

30 Rights Groups Join UN Watch, Urge World Body’s Rights Chief
to Protest Cuban Restraint on Rights Defender


GENEVA, March 4, 2010 – Cuba created a stir at the UN Human Rights Council today when its envoy began banging his country name-plate on the table to interrupt a speech by UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer in support of a leading Cuban dissident, a former political prisoner who is being barred from attending a Geneva conference of dissidents, to be held by 30 NGOs this Monday.   Click here to watch 4-minute video of UN clash (requires RealPlayer).
Continue reading ‘Cuba Slams UN Watch For ‘Undermining’ Human Rights Council, Interrupts Speech on Dissident Barred From Geneva Conference’

Cuba and Sri Lanka Attack UN Watch & Other Human Rights NGOs

During today’s debate on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism at the UN Human Rights Council, a number of Western states voiced concerns about barriers to the full participation of legitimate NGOs in the UPR process, with the U.S. saying it is “troubled by practices of countries seeking to silence criticism by lining up friendly speakers. This has a chilling effect on the purpose and spirit of the UPR.” Continue reading ‘Cuba and Sri Lanka Attack UN Watch & Other Human Rights NGOs’

Cuban GONGOs Dominate NGO Speaker’s List

At the meeting to adopt the report on Cuban rights violations at the UN Human Rights Council today, of the ten slots allotted for NGO speeches, eight were awarded to GONGOs (“Government-backed NGOs,” i.e., front groups) that bestowed lavish praise on the Castro regime. Continue reading ‘Cuban GONGOs Dominate NGO Speaker’s List’

Cuban Front Groups Queue Up to Block Victim Voices

The U.N.’s human rights officers work hard at allowing NGOs to speak, but today the system failed. Theoretically, NGOs were to form a line outside the Human Rights Council chamber, to sign up to speak at tomorrow’s adoption of reports on the human rights situations in Cuba, Saudi Arabia and other countries. With only ten available slots for NGOs speeches on each country, queuing began at the early hours of the morning, though the sign-up only officially opened at 2:45 PM. Unfortunately, a series of mishaps raised serious questions about the fairness of the process in the eyes of several NGOs. Some claimed they had been told not to arrive at the U.N. before 8 AM (when NGOs are allowed to enter the building), yet reportedly found a line of GONGOs (“Government-backed NGOs,” i.e., front groups) already waiting by the desk long before. If Cuba’s GONGOs manage to take up the whole alloted time, the Castro regime will have blocked the voices of its victims.  Continue reading ‘Cuban Front Groups Queue Up to Block Victim Voices’

Cuba says racism most developed in industrialized countries

Speaking at the high-level segment of the Durban Review Conference on Tuesday, Cuba said that “in the industrialized countries you see racism most developed” and compared racism to the “growing gap between the rich and the poor.” It also encouraged reparations for the trans-Atlantic slave trade, decried anti-terror legislation as a form of racism, and stressed its support for the Palestinian people and solidarity with the people of the third World. Referring to the countries that stayed away from Durban II, Cuba complained about the “artificial allegations of a small number of countries who chose to isolate themselves from our efforts.”

UN Human Rights Council’s “Pretty Packed Schedule” Has No Time for Myanmar’s Starving Victims

At the initiative of the Cuban government, the UN Human Rights Council will convene on May 23, 2008 for an emergency “special session” to address rising food prices. Several EU states also added their names to the Cuban request.

The world food crisis is certainly an urgent issue, but few expect this meeting to achieve anything other than provide a platform for attacks against the West and free markets. All of which will distract the council from matters it could more suitably address, starting with violations that have a clear victim, perpetrator and remedy. But the countries that lock people up without fair trials prefer to change the subject.

And if “the right to food” were really their concern, why are council members failing to hold an emergency session on Myanmar’s unconscionable denial of that right for millions of its starving, post-cyclone citizens?

When this question was posed yesterday to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the reply was that “the Council had a very full programme. . .so it was a pretty packed schedule at the moment and it would be difficult to fit it in.”

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