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Top UN rights body adopts measures on Cuba, Belarus, Burundi and DR of Congo

Top UN rights body adopts measures on Cuba, Belarus, Burundi and DR of Congo

During its annual examination of the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in any part of the world, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights has adopted measures on the human rights situations in Cuba, Belarus, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Burundi.

Following an intense debate that lasted nearly two hours, the Geneva-based Commission on Friday adopted a resolution on Cuba urging Havana to allow a visit by Christine Chanet, the UN envoy charged with investigating questions related to the exercise of civil liberties on the island. The text was approved by a vote of 24 in favour and 20 against, with 9 abstentions.

Much of the debate concerned two proposed amendments to the resolution, both of which were eventually voted down. The first would have had the Commission express specific concern over Cuba's recent detention, prosecution and quick sentencing some 75 members of the political opposition. The second amendment would have called for an end to the economic embargo imposed against Cuba by the United States.

In other action, the Commission urged the Government of Belarus to dismiss or suspend from their duties law enforcement officers implicated in forced disappearances and/or summary executions, pending an impartial, credible and full investigation of those cases. That text, adopted by a roll-call vote of 23 in favour and 14 against, with 16 abstentions, also called for the release of journalists and other individuals detained for politically motivated reasons.

While the text on the DRC welcomed the various initiatives undertaken by the Congolese parties to promote the peace process in that war-torn country, it nevertheless called for the removal of all foreign troops from the territory, and condemned persistent human rights violations, including atrocities and massacres committed at the hands of rebel groups, recruitment of child soldiers and ongoing violence in the northeastern Ituri province.

The motion on the situation in Burundi was adopted without a vote and expressed the Commission's support of the political transition underway in the country. It also encouraged the Transitional Government to continue actions aimed at including all sectors of society in national reconciliation efforts and urged it to pursue the goal of ensuring the equal participation of women in Burundian society and improving their living conditions. The text did, however, express continued concern at the ongoing violence and the violations of human rights as well as the security situation in parts of the country.