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Torture: UN Special Rapporteur disappointed that visit to Cuba will not take place

GENEVA (9 June 2010) – The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, expressed deep disappointment after being informed by the Government of Cuba that it was unable to accommodate a fact-finding mission to the country before the end of his mandate, on 30 October 2010.

“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 the UN expert.

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

This visit was to be the first mission to Cuba by an independent expert mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor specifically torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Previous visits by the Human Rights Commission and Council envoys to Cuba have included the Special Rapporteur on the use of mercenaries (1999), the Special Rapporteur on violence against women (1999) and the Special Raporteur on the right to food (2007).

Manfred Nowak, appointed Special Rapporteur on 1 December 2004 by the former UN Commission on Human Rights, is independent from any government and serves in his individual capacity. Mr. Nowak is currently Professor of Constitutional Law and International Human Rights at the University of Vienna (Austria), and Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights.

OHCHR Country Page – Cuba: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/LACRegion/Pages/CUIndex.aspx