Cuba: Human-Rights Overseer?
Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Cuba's rise to the so-called action panel of the U.N. Human Rights Commission does not besmirch the U.N. body much. After all, the panel has long been discredited by the serial human-rights violators that stand among its 53 members. Cuba's appointment does reflect poorly, though, on Latin American leadership and U.S. diplomacy.
Eleven Latin American countries on the U.N. Human Rights Commission (Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru) chose Cuba as their regional representative.
This occurred despite the fact that six of those countries - Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Peru - voted last year to condemn Cuba for its human-rights abuses.
Cuba is certainly in noteworthy company. Also appointed to the panel were Zimbabwe, representing Africa, and China, representing Asia. Serving on the action panel will allow those countries to help evaluate and decide which human-rights abuse complaints the U.N. commission will investigate at this year's session, which begins in March.
Cuba's appointment to the action panel has been strongly criticized by the executive director of Americas division of Human Rights Watch, Jose Miguel Vivanco. "It's shameful that anyone would support Cuba to play any relevant role in the human rights machinery," he said. …