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Cablegate: Zimbabwe: Spain Would Support but Not Lead in Unhrc

VZCZCXRO9894
PP RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHMD #0514 0790820
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 200820Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2120
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA PRIORITY 2544
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 0841
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0326

UNCLAS MADRID 000514

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DRL/MLGA FOR JULIETA NOYES
IO/RHS FOR DOUG ROHN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: UNHRC PHUM PREL ZI EUN SP
SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE: SPAIN WOULD SUPPORT BUT NOT LEAD IN UNHRC

REF: STATE 33357

1. (SBU) Poloff delivered reftel demarche to MFA
Sub-director General for Human Rights Fernando
Fernandez-Arias on March 19. Fernandez-Arias said that Spain
is appalled by the abuses in Zimbabwe and he noted that Spain
has issued a strong condemnation of the abuses on March 15.
(NOTE: Text of communique follows. END NOTE.) If a
resolution surfaces in the UNHRC, he said Spain would
definitely support it, although he underscored that Spain
would not take a leadership role, as Spain is not a member of
the UNHRC. Fernandez-Arias was pessimistic about such a
resolution's chances for success, noting that the African
group is currently the most powerful voting block in the
UNHRC. The group would be hard pressed to support a
resolution condemning Zimbabwe. He added that it would be
worse to propose a resolution and be defeated than to have
done nothing.

2. (SBU) Furthermore, Spain does not feel that the UNHRC
should be used as a tool to address the abuse-du-jour with
country specific resolutions, which it views as the downfall
of the previous Human Rights Committee. The Council should
be an instrument for long term analysis and action. As a
non-member, Spain has practiced restraint in its interactions
with the Council, but its goal remains the establishment of a
"universal periodic review mechanism."

3. (SBU) Fernandez-Arias acknowledged that groups are already
using the Council for country specific resolutions, such as
the Arab group's proposal of a new resolution on the
excavations at the Maghreb Gate in Jerusalem. He underscored
that responsible members ought not support such practice. He
said the UNHCR is increasingly being viewed as a "B-chamber"
for causes that cannot gain UNSC support, such as resolutions
on Israel. Spain would rather see it used for more profound
investigation and long-term work on human rights.

4. (U) (BEGIN TEXT OF MARCH 15 COMMUNIQUE:)

The Spanish Government expresses its condemnation of the use
of violence by the Government of Zimbabwe to repress, last
March 11, 2007, a peaceful meeting convoked by the Council of
Churches of Zimbabwe which was attended by leaders of the
political opposition with parliamentary representation and
members of civil society. The government also condemns the
violence against detainees while they were in police custody.

The Government offers its condolences to the family of the
member of the MDC opposition party killed by gunshots from
the forces of public order during the repression of the
Sunday meeting.

The Spanish Government demands the Zimbabwean authorities
bring to a close the appropriate investigations with the
greatest speed and diligence, and that the parties
responsible for these actions be identified. It also demands
of the Zimbabwean government that appropriate measures be
taken to avoid the commission of similar actions in the
future.

The Government is pleased by the fact that the opposition and
civil society leaders have been released today March 14 by
the judicial authorities of Zimbabwe due to the lack of
charges against them. (END TEXT.)

------------------------------------------
Visit Embassy Madrid's Classified Website;
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/madrid/
------------------------------------------
Aguirre

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