Skip to comments.Cuba, Russia in dock at rights meet, China escapes
Posted on 04/10/2002 2:47:16 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
GENEVA (Reuters) - China escaped censure on Wednesday at the United Nations human rights body but Russia, Israel and Cuba were back in the dock for alleged abuses.
Unlike in previous years, no country came forward with a resolution critical of Beijing before a deadline passed for presenting motions to the annual meeting of the Human Rights Commission in Geneva.
But Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe recently retained power in a controversial election, was singled out for possible condemnation for the first time in a resolution presented by the European Union.
Other states whose rights records will be put to votes next week include Iraq, Iran, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which are routinely scrutinised at the six-week session of the U.N.'s top human rights meeting.
China had been widely expected to avoid official criticism in the absence of the United States, which failed to win re-election to the 53-nation Commission in an upset vote in New York last autumn.
In past years, the United States had always sponsored a motion critical of Beijing for its policies towards Tibet and religious minorities, but no other country had been willing to take over the role in the absence of Washington.
Human rights activists lashed out at the European Union in particular for its reluctance to take China to task.
"The EU clearly neither possess the courage or political will to make an objective defence of the Tibetan people's rights," said Tsweang Lhadon of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy.
But diplomats said that Washington still made its diplomatic weight felt when Latin American states agreed to bring a motion attacking the rights record of the government of Cuban President Fidel Castro. .
Washington had brought pressure on the Latin American members, among them Uruguay, Peru and Guatemala, to criticise the Caribbean state after its usual ally, the Czech Republic, announced it would not present any resolution this year.
The resolution "invites Cuba to make similar progress in the field of human rights" to that made in the social rights of its people.
"This is treachery," snapped Ivan Mora, Cuba's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva. "They are serving the interests of the United States," he told journalists.
The EU's motion on Zimbabwe expressed "concern at the continuing violations of human rights and attacks on fundamental freedoms, often committed with impunity by agencies and supporters of the Zimbabwean ruling party".
However, diplomats said that it was uncertain whether the EU attempt to condemn Zimbabwe would succeed as it faced the opposition of African states on the Commission.
As in past years, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a focus of Commission debates, with the verbal exchanges sharpened by the deepening violence there.
Arab states presented a raft of motions condemning the Jewish state for its alleged abuses and proclaiming the Palestinians' right "to resist by all available means".
The EU had been seeking a deal with Moscow on how to refer to violence in the rebel region of Chechnya but after no accord was forthcoming, the bloc went ahead with a resolution attacking Russian policy.
While acknowledging Moscow's right to defend its "territorial integrity" against separatists and "fight terrorism", the EU said that it was deeply concerned at reports of continued violations of human rights and humanitarian law.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.