Cuba accuses Human Rights Watch of being in US pay

GENEVA – Cuba’s U.N. ambassador in Geneva says Human Rights Watch and other groups are “mercenaries” paid by the U.S. government.

Juan Antonio Fernandez Palacios says groups criticizing Cuba in the U.N. Human Rights Council perform a “clown act.” The groups had accused Cuba of trying to silence critics.

HRW spokesman Philippe Dam said, “Human Rights Watch receives zero percent of its funding from public money, and 100 percent from private money. This is evidence that we are fully independent of any government, and that Cuba’s remarks are totally unfounded.”

The New York-based group says Cuba violates the right to fair trial, free expression and political association.

Several Cuban and Chinese groups praised Cuba’s human rights achievements Wednesday.

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