UN rights chief welcomes Cuba's planned release of political detainees

9 July 2010

United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay has welcomed the announcement that Cuba plans to release 52 political detainees, her spokesperson said today.

She hopes that this will be “the start of a series of significant steps to advance the protection of human rights in Cuba,” Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), told reporters in Geneva.

Mr. Colville added that it will be particularly good news when the phased release of the 52 detainees has actually been completed.

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos and the Roman Catholic Church reportedly helped arrange the deal under which the detainees will be released and then head to Spain.

The High Commissioner also welcomed the news that Cuban human rights defender Guillermo Farinas has announced the halt, at least temporarily, of his hunger strike in response to the latest development, Mr. Colville stated.

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