Friday, May 29, 2009

Cuba thwarts human rights debate on Sri Lanka

May 27, 2009 - 9:58 PM
Cuba thwarts human rights debate on Sri Lanka

European countries, including Switzerland, have failed in their attempt
at the UN Human Rights Council to ensure that human rights are respected
in Sri Lanka.

At the United Nations in Geneva on Wednesday, Cuba blocked any debate on
amendments put forward by Germany on a text submitted by the Sri Lankan
government on the situation in the country.

The Cuban representative accused the Europeans of "arrogance and
intransigence", saying the proposed amendments would completely
"rewrite" the Sri Lankan text.

Switzerland's ambassador, Dante Martinelli, protested strongly against
the Cuban motion.

He said there were "major gaps" in the Sri Lankan resolution. It did not
address the issue of granting humanitarian organisations rapid access to
people displaced by the recent fighting, nor the need for the Sri Lankan
authorities to investigate alleged human rights violations.

Earlier this month the Sri Lankan government declared an end to the 25
year war against Tamil Tiger rebels fighting for a separate state in the
north of the island. Hundreds of thousands of civilians were driven from
their homes and thousands were reported killed during the last stages of
the fighting.

The UN says nearly 300,000 Tamils are currently in displacement camps.
They are reported to be in need of humanitarian aid.

The Sri Lankan text adopted by the council meeting mentions only human
rights violations committed by Tamil Tigers.

Cuba thwarts human rights debate on Sri Lanka at Geneva meeting. -
swissinfo (28 May 2009)

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