A Snow Roller in Cuba / Dora Leonor Mesa

A snow roller is a rare meteorological phenomenon in which large snowballs are formed as they are blown along the ground by wind. Unlike snowballs made by people, snow rollers are typically cylindrical in shape, and require special conditions to form. [Source: Wikipedia]

 The Machel Report With Recommendations for the Armed Forces

When speaking of childhood and military matters, it is indispensable to refer to the report from the expert Graça Machel, who assigns to the world’s governments the responsibility of providing resources and education in human rights to judges, police, security personnel, and the armed forces.

These training programs should be developed with the consultation and expertise of the International Committee of the Red Cross  and agencies of the United Nations such as the UN Refugee Agency, and should be disseminated broadly. The Machel Report advocates for humanitarian organizations to assist States [the term for “governments” in UN documents] in the education of children with respect to their rights through programs of study and other pertinent methods.

The initial report  on Cuba (2011), in referring to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC), indicates that in the programs of study in military learning centers can be found lessons concerning human rights and humanitarian law. However, the published information on the curriculum of these Cuban military schools is very terse and makes no reference to this topic.

In general, the government web pages report that the students are educated to master the material and be prepared as future officers of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (RAF) and the Ministry of the Interior (MININT). The lesson plans and programs of study are reported to be similar to those of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Cuba (MINED) for high school education, adequate to the specific and vocational interests of military life.

The expert Graça Machel’s recommendations are of particular importance in the current Cuban context because of the Island’s geographic and social situation. Cuba often suffers from natural disasters associated with hurricanes and earthquakes, which can create many victims and internal displacements.

The List of Issues and Questions relative to the Examination of the Initial Report on Cuba with regard to the Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict was completed by the Government of Cuba and is available to those interested on the Web page of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison

24 April 2015