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Last Updated: Friday, 18 April, 2003, 21:19 GMT 22:19 UK
Cuba rejects call for UN envoy
By Stephen Gibbs
BBC correspondent in Havana

The Cuban Government has firmly rejected a call by the United Nations Human Rights Commission to allow an investigator to visit the island.

Human rights demonstrators outside the Cuban embassy in Prague
Human rights groups have been protesting the jailing of dissidents
Cuba, which recently imprisoned 76 political dissidents, says that there is no reason for such a visit.

It argues that the resolution passed by 24 votes to 20 in Geneva on Wednesday was nothing more than the result of US pressure.

Cuba's response to the resolution in Geneva has been uncompromising.

Moral victory

It describes all the 24 countries that voted against it - including some of its main trading partners - as unprincipled lackeys of the United States.

As for the call that a UN human rights investigator should visit the island, Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said he could not see the point.

"We feel that it is an injustice resolution," he said.

"We feel that there are not really reasons to justify the appointment of a special United Nations human rights representative to Cuba."

The Cuban Government regards as a moral victory the fact that the final UN resolution made no mention of its recent imprisonment of 76 dissidents, or its summary execution of three hijackers last week.

An attempt by Costa Rica to condemn Cuba for its actions failed.

Further repercussions

Mr Perez Roque says that is evidence that his government should be entitled to apply its own laws in the way it sees fit.

But there may be further repercussions.

There are reports that, in the wake of events over the last month, the United States is considering more punitive sanctions against its communist foe.

A defiant Cuba says that would be regrettable, but points out that after 44 years, its revolution has proved it can survive almost anything.

Cuba defends dissident trials
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11 Apr 03  |  Americas
US and Cuba's complex relations
09 May 02  |  Americas
Country profile: Cuba
11 Mar 03  |  Country profiles

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