Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Honduras envoy says "ordered out" of U.N. rights body

GENEVA (Reuters September 15, 2009) - The Honduran ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva said on Monday he had been ordered out of the U.N. Human Rights Council after other Latin American countries said he represented an "illegal" regime.

After a day of confusion which stalled the start of the three-week session of the 47-nation Council, the envoy -- J-Delmer Urbizo -- left the hall declaring loudly in English and Spanish: "We will be back! Volveremos!"

The dramatic scenes came after Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Cuba insisted that Delmer Urbizo, who has served as ambassador in Geneva for the past three years, could not stay unless he was approved by ousted president Manuel Zelaya.

The Human Rights Council's Belgian president Alex Van Meuwen told the envoy he could not speak in response since Honduras is only an observer in the forum, and said he should leave while his credentials were checked.

"I was ordered out. They have put security guards on me to make sure I left," Delmer Urbizo told reporters as blue-shirted U.N. police stood alongside. "But we will be back, make no mistake, and these people will see what they have done."

The envoy said he and other diplomats from the country's mission in Geneva -- where he has declared his support for Honduras' de facto ruler Roberto Micheletti -- would return after elections set for November.

There was no rival delegation from Zelaya's government in exile in the hall, but no country spoke in Delmer Urbizo's defence. The U.N. General Assembly has called on its members not to recognise the Micheletti government, which took power after a June military coup.