Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cuba: Cuba invites UN torture expert, then refuses to agree on dates

UN - The United Nations independent expert on torture said today he was deeply disappointed that he will not be able to visit Cuba to carry out a fact-finding mission this year because the country’s authorities declined to consent to any of the dates he had proposed for the mission.

“I regret that in spite of its clear invitation, the Government of Cuba has not allowed me to objectively assess the situation of torture and ill-treatment in the country by collecting first-hand evidence from all available sources,” said Manfred Nowak, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, whose mandate expires on 30 October.

The Cuban Government issued an invitation to the Special Rapporteur in February 2009 to conduct a fact-finding mission to the country before the end of this year. However, despite several attempts by Mr. Nowak to propose mutually acceptable dates, no agreement was reached with the Government.

His visit would have been the first mission to Cuba by an independent expert mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to specifically monitor torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Mr. Nowak serves in that role in an unpaid capacity.