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Cablegate: Demarche Request: Un Rapporteur On Torture,S

VZCZCXRO0503
OO RUEHMA
DE RUEHC #5369/01 3311544
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O P 261537Z NOV 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHMA/AMEMBASSY MALABO IMMEDIATE 0565
INFO RUEHLC/AMEMBASSY LIBREVILLE PRIORITY 4604
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID PRIORITY 0232
RUEHYD/AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE PRIORITY 8777
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 4882
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 3975

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 125369

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM SOCI EK
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE REQUEST: UN RAPPORTEUR ON TORTURE,S
FINDINGS IN EQUATORIAL GUINEA

REF: MALABO 136

1. (U) This is an action request. Please see paragraph 3.

SUMMARY
-------

2. (SBU) Summary: Department requests Embassy Malabo to reach
out to appropriate interlocutors to convey USG concern with
the findings of UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred
Nowak.
The Department recognizes the growing importance of
Equatorial
Guinea with respect to U.S. economic interests and regional
maritime security. However, we must continue to pursue a
strong human rights agenda that emphasizes respect for civil
and political liberties. The Department expects the GREG to
announce concrete steps it will take to address the United
Nations specific concerns and that failure to do so will
limit
the ability of the USG to be supportive of EG reform efforts.

A/DAS Wycoff has already conveyed the same points to the
Equato-Guinean Embassy in Washington (will be reported
septel).
End Summary.


OBJECTIVES
----------

3. (SBU) Department instructs Embassy to pursue the following
objectives:

--Underscore the U.S. interest in improving relations with
Equatorial Guinea (EG). While the U.S. is committed to this
relationship, EG must take the lead on improving its human
rights record as well as commit significantly to its own
development.

--Note that the U.S. was dismayed to learn of the UN Special
Rapporteur's finding that the Government of Equatorial Guinea
(GREG) uses torture systematically in its judicial system.
How has the GREG responded to these findings?

--Indicate disappointment that Special Rapporteur Nowak was
denied access to military detention facilities at Cogo
Military Camp and at Mane Ela Military Camp and repeat
access to the Central Police Stations in Malabo and Bata.
Ask why access was denied in these cases.

--Commend Equatorial Guinea for taking an important step
forward in inviting the Special Rapporteur, but highlight the
urgency for quick action to rectify the problems listed in
the Rapporteur's initial statement.

--Express the expectation that there will be no reprisals
against those in the police and prison system who spoke about
conditions.

--Commend EG for positive developments made within the penal
system such as the construction of several new facilities,
better hygienic conditions in some facilities, and a forward
leaning prison warden who promoted the humane treatment of
his
prisoners. Continuing these types of reforms will help EG
improve its image in the world.

--Indicate that Department will ask Embassy Malabo to
increase the number of prison and police station visits
that it makes. We hope that our staff is granted access.
We also appreciated the Minister of Justice's offer to look
into the cases of three disappeared persons considered by
many as political prisoners who were known to be held
(incommunicado) in Black Beach prison.

--Ask if any of the security officials trained by U.S.
company
MPRI were involved in torture or use of force to obtain
cooperation from people in their custody. If so, we need
to develop a joint plan of action to ensure that this never
happens again.

STATE 00125369 002 OF 002

--Urge Government of Equatorial Guinea to establish clear,
discernible human rights benchmarks, specifically on torture,
in response to this report. In the near term, there needs to
be a public plan of action with a firm timeline to eliminate
torture from the EG justice system and a mechanism to follow
up on implementation. In addition, we expect the GREG to
continue to make visible progress in releasing remaining
political prisoners, developing and strengthening civil
society, and taking other measures to further institute
the rule of law. To the extent the GREG is willing to
continue and strengthen its political reform program, the
USG is willing to continue its support. Given the likely
impact of the Special Rapporteur's report, it is critical
that the GREG take quick, visible, and effective actions
to demonstrate its intentions to deal positively with
criticism and implement concrete reforms.


BACKGROUND
----------

4. (SBU) During his mission to Equatorial from November
9-18 2008, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak
found that the GREG employed the "systematic use of torture"
on prisoners and detailed evidence of specific techniques
used to extract evidence or confessions from prisoners. He
also lamented lack of access to some detention facilities,
but also noted some improvement in prison conditions. Per
reftel, Nowak warned members of the diplomatic community
during his debriefing November 18 that governments were
walking a fine line in promoting good relations between
their governments and the GREG and being complicit in the
use of torture within the EG penal system.

5. (SBU) In light of the findings of the UN Special
Rapporteur on Torture on conditions in that country, we
invited Ambassador Ondo to the Department to emphasize to
her and to her government that the U.S., while a friend of
EG's, does not condone torture and that the Government of
Equatorial Guinea (GREG) must swiftly implement reforms to
improve its dismal human rights and development record
(separate cable with comprehensive readout will follow).
We plan to raise issue with Department officials.


REPORTING DEADLINE
------------------

8. (U) Embassy should report results of efforts by cable
to AF/C Madeeha Ashraf by December 2.


POINT OF CONTACT
----------------

9. (U) Please contact Madeeha Ashraf at (202) 647-2973
or via e-mail for any necessary further background
information or argumentation to meet our objectives.
RICE

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