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Cuba? Come on!



Published: Tue, February 8, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Chicago Tribune: It is long past time to put the U.N. Commission on Human Rights out of its misery. It is ineffective and a public disgrace. It not only fails in its purported mission of promoting human rights, it dishonors the concept.

The latest blunder is the election of Cuba to an elite gatekeeper panel that will determine which complaints will be considered by the full 53-member commission next month. The distinction comes barely two years after Cuba sentenced 75 dissidents and independent journalists to prison terms of as much as 28 years.

This is all too bizarre. Six of the 11 members of the Latin American bloc that nominated Cuba -- Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Peru -- last year condemned it for human rights abuses.

Confidential

The gatekeeper subcommittee's deliberations are confidential. So complaints may or may not get a hearing, and in most cases neither the public nor the petitioners will get a reason. Doing selection chores, too, will be serial human rights violators such as China and Zimbabwe.

Cuba also has stipulated it will not abide by any recommendations or sanctions by the commission -- not even to allow representatives into the country for a look-see -- because to do so would violate its sovereignty. In effect, Cuba does not recognize the authority of the organization to which it belongs.




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