Thursday, April 21, 2005

U.N. Rejects Bid to Probe Gitmo Treatment

Yahoo! News

U.N. Rejects Bid to Probe Gitmo Treatment

By ALEXANDER G. HIGGINS, Associated Press Writer

GENEVA - The U.N. Human Rights Commission rejected Cuba's attempt Thursday to force an investigation into the treatment of detainees at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay.

The vote on Cuba's resolution was 22-8, with 23 other nations abstaining. The other nations supporting the failed effort by Cuba were China, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Sudan, Malaysia, Guatemala and Mexico.

The resolution, which noted the "serious concern" expressed by U.N. experts about the conditions for terrorist suspects held at Guantanamo, would have asked the United States "to authorize an impartial and independent fact-finding mission" to the center.

Cuba introduced the resolution after the commission approved a resolution to continue reporting on the human rights situation in the communist island nation.

The European Union already said it planned to oppose the Cuban bid, which effectively would have been a reprimand to the United States.

Juan Antonio Fernandez, the Cuban delegate who presented the resolution, expressed disappointment in the EU members.

"Not even one of them dared to challenge the threat of the hegemonic superpower," Fernandez said.

Former Sen. Rudy Boschwitz, head of the U.S. delegation, welcomed the vote.

"Many of our friends here recognized that the United States is a leader in human rights," Boschwitz said. "We were very satisfied that those who supported our position talked about our judiciary and the independence of our judiciary."

Peruvian Ambassador Elizabeth Astete Rodriguez said she thought the resolution was not needed because actions by the U.S. courts and others had led to "measures to improve the situation."

"The case is already being addressed," she said, adding that the improvements were not reflected in the Cuban proposal.

Supporters of the United States also noted it has been regularly permitting visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross to check on the condition of the detainees.


Associated Press writer Bradley S. Klapper contributed to this report.