Petition in response to the repression of social protest in CubaPublished: Jul 22, 2021 Reading time: 5 minutes
Fifteen organizations, members of the Coalition for Freedom of Association, sign a request to Ms. Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; the European External Action Service; and to the European Ambassadors for Human Rights (Germany, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden and the European Union):
The member organizations of the Coalition for Freedom of Association express our repudiation of the brutal repression carried out by the Cuban government in response to the peaceful protests which began last July 11.
The protests are the result not only of the current dramatic situation of shortages and health emergencies, but also of decades of authoritarian policies disrespectful of the most basic freedoms. We particularly point out the recent importance of claims led by groups of artists and intellectuals such as the San Isidro Movement and 27N, who, along with independent journalists, have paid a high price, suffering constant persecution, harassment, imprisonment, and even forced disappearances for days or weeks.
In light of this situation, we call on the international community to take concrete measures demanding that the Cuban government put an end to the repression, arbitrary detentions, and persecution of peaceful demonstrators who are peacefully demanding changes to their undemocratic government. We call for solidarity with the victims of political harassment by Cuba's one-party regime, through a political opening that allows the full exercise of the rights of association, expression, and peaceful protest of its citizens.
In this regard, we request the following:
(a) To Mrs. Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, that she arbitrate all necessary means so that the Cuban authorities allow the entry of officials from her office for the purpose of evaluating the situation and recommending the necessary measures for the full exercise of these rights.
Likewise, we respectfully point out the need to exercise, within the framework of its competencies, greater firmness in relation to the permanent and structural violations of human rights that are an inherent part of the authoritarian system itself.
These conducts of the Cuban government are neither isolated nor circumstantial and constitute a state policy that represses the exercise of human rights, as has been indicated in several reports of the inter-American and universal human rights protection systems.
In this regard, we urge the High Commissioner to demand that the Special Procedures be allowed to enter the country as soon as possible, especially the Rapporteurs on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, and Freedom of Expression, as well as the Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, to whom we also request that they submit the requests for on-site visits.
b) We request that the European External Action Service (EEAS), within the framework of the Dialogue on Human Rights with the government of Cuba, in accordance with the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement, commits itself to officially and openly holding meetings with independent civil society, making effective "Europe's commitment to civil society in external relations" adopted on September 12, 2012. At present, only pro-government organizations aligned with the Cuban government participate in this dialogue. Cuban legislation absolutely prevents the legalization of independent civil society organizations, therefore to have a full and complete knowledge of the situation in the country, it is essential that the European Union provides an official space for recognition and participation, and does not extend to our colleagues in Cuba the illegality to which they are subjected by their government.
c) To the European Human Rights Ambassadors (Germany, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Sweden, and the European Union) to condemn the repression of social protest in Cuba, request the release of peaceful demonstrators, demand respect for freedom of association, opinion and assembly, and express their repudiation of the incitement to violence and hatred by President Miguel Díaz-Canel.
As a member of the Human Rights Council, Cuba must comply with the provisions of Resolution 60 paragraph 9 of the UN General Assembly that "members elected to the Council shall uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights".
Given the current dramatic context suffered by Cuban citizens and, particularly, its independent civil society, it is essential that the authorities to whom we have appealed, as well as the entire international community committed to the defense of human rights, do not remain indifferent to the democratic aspirations of the Cuban people and the brutal repression exercised by the government of Miguel Díaz-Canel, which included both security forces and armed civilians.
Signing organizations of the Coalition for Freedom of Association.:
- People in Need, Czech Republic.
- Freedom House, United States.
- Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, United States.
- Civil Rights Defenders, Sweden.
- FUSADES, El Salvador.
- Programa Venezolano de Educación Acción en Derechos Humanos, Venezuela.
- Instituto Prensa y Sociedad, Peru.
- Programa Feminista La Corriente, Nicaragua.
- CADAL, Argentina.
- Instituto de Prensa y Libertad de Expresión IPLEX, Costa Rica.
- Fundación Ciudadanía y Desarrollo, Ecuador.
- CIVILIS Derechos Humanos, Venezuela.
- International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights, United States.
- Fundación Impulsos, Colombia.
- Fundación Patricio Aylwin, Chile.