Tuesday, November 27, 2007

UN Watch acusa al relator de la ONU, Jean Ziegler de ser complice del regimen de Castro

Earth Times

Geneva - The first UN rapporteur invited to visit Cuba in almost 20 years has hit back Tuesday at accusations of anti- Americanism. Jean Ziegler said he refused to meet a number of NGOs during his 10-day visit from October 28 to November 6 because it would have jeopardized a new spirit of "openness" signalled by Cuba.

The New York-based human rights organization, UN Watch, accused him of abusing his mandate and attempting to further "his extreme anti-American political agenda."

The special rapporteur on the Right to Food said he had been invited by a number of European Union ambassadors to meet the NGO's secretly within their embassies.

"To meet discreetly would have been an absurdity," Ziegler said. His programme had already been arranged and approved by the Cuban Government and he wanted to respect his mandate on the right to food.

"It would have been irresponsible for my part to, in whatever way even if humanly understandable, put in danger this openness," he added.

The Cuban Foreign Minister, Felipe Roque, said at a press conference, that Ziegler was "the first rapporteur, others will follow next year," Ziegler said.

It was also indicated that Cuba was ready to sign a UN pact on social, economic and cultural rights and a second pact on civil and political rights.

Ziegler also defended the timing of his visit which came as President George W Bush again hardened his line against Cuba. He said the invitation followed the controversial move by members of the UN Human Rights Council in March 2007 to end the country mandate for the special rapporteur to Cuba.

He said the invitation arrived in June and it took three months to organize the visit which he timed to take place straight after his appearance before the UN General Assembly in New York in October.

"There was no political ruse whatsoever on my part or that of the Cuban Government over the choice of dates," he said.

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