PRESS RELEASE

Revealed by new UN Watch report

Also: Syria, Iran, North Korea took the floor today to sing Havana’s praises

GENEVA, May 1, 2013 – Today’s UN review of Cuba’s rights record was tainted by “massive fraud” committed by the regime’s use of an unprecedented 454 front groups to officially register 93 statements praising Havana’s policies and practices, as revealed exclusively in a new report today by UN Watch entitled “How Cuba Hijacked its UPR.”

According to Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights monitoring group, “Cuba used hundreds of front groups to hijack the United Nations compilation of NGO submissions and turn it into a propaganda sheet for the Castro Communist regime. While critiques of genuine NGOs do appear, they are overwhelmed by an unprecedented amount of submissions by fraudulent ‘NGOs’ that, if they do exist, are mere puppets of Cuba and its allies abroad.”

Recent UPR country reviews saw 23 NGO submissions on Germany, 32 on Russia, and, the highest, 48 on Canada. “For Cuba, however,” said Neuer, “the number soars to an incredible 454. This is fraud committed on a massive scale. Cuba is abusing the United Nations human rights system. As a result of its barrage of filings by hundreds of state-controlled organizations, numerous statements of praise taint the UN’s official summary, which now form a basis for Cuba’s review.”

In addition, the UN Watch report raised serious questions regarding the credibility of the submissions by the UN Country Team for Cuba, which is full of praise, and the UNESCO submission which, aside from a handful of exceptions, also gives “a free pass” to Cuba’s human rights record. Only three paragraphs in these two UN submissions offered any critique of Cuba’s human rights record.

Neuer added: “We also condemn Cuba’s resort to friendly tyrannies and non-democracies who took the floor today to deliver false praise of Havana’s abysmal record. The UN should not be a mutual praise society for the world’s worst regimes.”

Selected statements delivered at today’s UN Human Rights Council session:

Nicaragua: “We note the commitment to human rights Cuba has made despite the barricade.”

Pakistan: “Appreciate the excellent progress especially in the areas of health and education.”

Saudi Arabia: “Note the efforts made to promote and protect human rights. We wish every success to Cuba.”

Sri Lanka: “Congratulations on impressive strides made in the area of human rights despite the many challenges.”

Palestine: “Wish to express our appreciation to Cuba for its efforts in promoting and protecting human rights.”

Syria: “Wish to commend the important achievements Cuba has made in the field of human rights despite sanctions imposed on it by the United States.”

Bolivia: “Welcomes the fraternal delegation on Labor Day. Continue promoting and protecting human rights.”

China: “We congratulate progress made in promoting and protecting human rights. . . and welcome the progress made in health and education.”

North Korea: “Encourages Cuba to continue its positive efforts.”

Iran: “We praise Cuba for its commitment to human rights,” and note “its efforts in promoting and protecting human rights.”

Click here for today’s UN Watch report.

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