U.N. rights panel didn't dare to investigate detainee situation in Guantanamo

The U.N. Human Rights Commission on Thursday rejected a Cuban attempt to force a United Nations investigation into the situation of detainees held at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo, Cuba.

Eight countries supported the resolution in the 53-nation panel, against 22 countries that voted against. Twenty-three abstained.

Cuba was joined by China, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Sudan, Malaysia, Guatemala and Mexico in voting for the resolution, which noted "serious concern" expressed by U.N. experts on the situation of the terrorist suspects held at the U.S. military base.

The resolution would have requested the U.S. government "to authorize an impartial and independent fact-finding mission" to Guantanamo.

Cuba introduced the resolution after the commission approved a resolution to continue reporting on the human rights situation in the communist island nation.

The European Union had already said it planned to oppose the Cuban bid, which would effectively have been a reprimand to the United States.

Juan Antonio Fernandez, the Cuban delegate who presented the resolution, expressed disappointment in the EU members.

"Not even one of them dared to challenge the threat of the hegemonic superpower," Fernandez said.

Former U.S. Senator Rudy Boschwitz, head of the United States delegation, welcomed the vote.

"Many of our friends here recognized that the United States is a leader in human rights," Boschwitz said. "We were very satisfied that those who supported our position talked about our judiciary and the independence of our judiciary."

Associated Press

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