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Top UN rights official appoints personal envoy for Cuba

Top UN rights official appoints personal envoy for Cuba

A long-standing member of a United Nations human rights panel has been named as the Personal Representative for Cuba of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

High Commissioner Sergio Vieira de Mello announced yesterday the appointment of Christine Chanet, a French judge specializing in criminal law who has been a member of the UN Human Rights Committee since 1996. In 1997 and 1998, she became the first woman in the panel's 20-year history to hold the position of president.

Ms. Chanet's appointment follows the adoption of a resolution last April by the UN Commission on Human Rights, which asked the High Commissioner to take the necessary steps to send a personal representative to cooperate with the Cuban Government's endeavours to achieve progress in the field of human rights, as well as civil and political rights, equal to that it had achieved in the field of social rights for the people of the country despite an unfavourable international environment.

Ms. Chanet is expected to present a report to the next session of the Geneva-based Commission, which opens 17 March.