Somos+, 20 March 2017 — During the last session of Academia 10/10, we were joined by renowned Prof. Moisés Rodríguez Valdés, a physicist by profession but one with ample knowledge of human rights and civil liberties.
He is the chief spokesperson in Cuba for Corriente Martiana. Attendees enjoyed this very valuable conference during which, among other important topics, he explained how to formally report human rights violations to the United Nations. The following are some of the major points he shared with us.
Report violations of human rights you have experienced to the United Nations.
Not doing so encourages the perpetrators’ sense of impunity, even if this is not your intention.
The process is easy and does not take much time, but the effect can be significant if everyone follows established procedures.
We hear reports on a daily basis, through Radio Martí and other broadcasters, as well as through digital and print media, of human rights violations against civil society activists not formally recognized, who are vilified and repressed and, occasionally, are subject to unjustified physical violence.
Using the media to raise public awareness is NECESSARY, BUT IS NOT ENOUGH. That is because UN resolution 1503 precludes the organization from considering complaints based on press reports (see annex, UN Res. 1503).
Some complaints are forwarded to international human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, among others. There is nothing wrong with it, but this is also NOT ENOUGH. UN Res. 1503 establishes that the complaint must be filed by the victims, their representatives or organizations located in the places where the actions were known to have occurred.
Furthermore, it is well-known that complaints by the European Union and even the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), while noteworthy, have proved to be inadequate in stopping systemic and institutionalized violations depicting a persistent situation, which is what triggers UN mechanisms.
Failure to communicate individual facts to this international institution means to forego the one institution that can compel the Cuban government to halt violations committed by state officials and institutions, which essentially means State Security agents.
It is not a question of resolving individual cases but rather that out of all the complaints made it will be possible to put members of the Cuban government on the stand, as was done until prior to 2006, when the Commission on Human Rights was replaced by the current UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
The fact that the Cuban government has served on Council three times, or that it is currently a member, does not preclude us from seeking redress from that government through other channels provided we report each violation we have personally experienced, or that others we know have experienced, whether they are civil society activists or the population at large.
For information on how to go about filing a complaint, we are attaching the text of Res. 1503, which you should review prior to initiating such communication, as well as the sample form to report violations to the so-called special procedures.
We suggest that you begin the process by emailing your written testimony to Corriente Martiana:
It will be reviewed and forwarded to the UN by people who have years of experience in dealing with these matters. They will also send you suggestions on how to format any future correspondence.
Do not fail to do so, for only in this manner will we contribute to increase the political cost to the Cuban government for its systemic, institutionalized violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, which keep the country in a continuous state of crisis, cause the steady exodus of fellow countrymen and keep the citizenry mired in an effort to survive amidst generalized fear and misery, which prevents them from acting as legitimate citizens but rather as accomplices due to their dependence upon the totalitarian regime imposed on our country.
Looking forward that you will carefully assess this suggestion, I remain,
Moisés Leonardo Rodríguez Valdés
Human Rights Advocate
This document was prepared and distributed by Corriente Martiana, an institution currently focused on the promotion of human rights through face-to-face teaching, distribution of information and teaching material, and implementing pressure strategies on decision-making individuals.
Address: Ave. 45 # 2410 e/ 24 y 26. Cabañas, municipio Mariel, provincia Artemisa. Cuba
Emails: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Web page: www,corrientemartianacuba.org @cubamartiana
Mobile phone: +53 5 3351152
Procedure contemplated in Res. 1503, reviewed (summary of the main points for purposes of this suggestion).
The fact that a communication is forwarded to the applicable government and an acknowledgment of receipt is forwarded to the author thereof does not mean any opinion as to the admissibility or merits of the communication. When the Working Group finds that there is reasonable evidence to the existence of a persistent sitatuon of manifest human rights violations, the matter will be referred to the Working Group on Situations for review. The Working Group on Situations will consist, as before, of five members designated by regional groups, and due attention shall be given to the rotation of its members.
The Group shall meet one month, at the latest, prior to the Commission’s meeting, in order to review particular situations referred to it by the Working Group on Communications, and it shall subsequently decide whether or not to refer some of those situations to the Commission.
Then, the Commission shall adopt a decision on each particular situation brought to its attention in this manner. Confidentiality.
All initial steps of the process are confidential until a situation is referred to the Social and Economic Council (ECOSOC). However, since 1978, the Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights has disclosed the names of those countries subject to review. Thus, if a situation of abuses occurring in a given country are not resolved during the initial stages of the process, it can be brought to the attention of the international community through the ECOSOC, which is one of the main UN bodies.
What are the admissibility criteria for a communication to be reviewed?
– No communication shall be admitted which is contrary to the principles of the UN Charter or which displays political motivations.
– Only one communication shall be admitted if, after having reviewed it, it is determined that there are reasonable grounds to believe –also having taken into account all replies sent by the interested country– that there is a persistent situation of manifest, conclusively proven violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
– Communications may originate from individuals or groups claiming to be victims of human rights violations or from those having first-hand, reliable knowledge of those violations. Anonymous communications shall be inadmissible, as well as those based on media reports.
– Each communication shall describe the events and indicate the purpose of the petition, as well as the rights which were violated. As a general rule, communications containing offensive terms or insulting comments regarding the State against which a claim is made shall not be reviewed.
– In order for a communication to be reviewed all internal remedies must have been exhausted, unless it can be convincingly proven that national solutions would be ineffective or would take longer than reasonable expected to be achieved.
THIS IS THE MOST COMMON COMMUNICATION MODEL USED, WHICH YOU MAY USE:
Communication to UN Special Procedures from CUBA.
(Read the instructions at the end prior to beginning your communication.)
i. Identification of individuals(s) victim(s):
2. Given Names:
3. Sex: M____ F____
4. Date of birth or age (at the time of being subject to the violation):
6. a) Type of ID (ID from your country, passport or similar).
7. Profession and/or activity (if there are grounds to believe that the violation of rights and/or freedoms bears any relation to it(them):
8. Current address:
II. Identification of violation’s perpetrators.
1. Date when violation occurred:
2. Place where violation occurred (please provide as many details as possible):
3. Alleged perpetrators of violation:
4. Are perpetrators members of any official institution? Which one?
III. Please provide a detailed description of events and circumstances under which the violation subject to the communication occurred (be brief and concise).
IV. Indicate which rights were allegedly violated during incident subject to the communication.
V. Identification of individual(s) or organization(s) filing the communication:
1. Name and surnames of individual(s) or name of the organization and representative’s name:
2. a) Address of the individual or the organization’s headquarters:
c) Telephone No. (landline):
d) Cell phone:
1. If you submit a handwritten communication, please use black or blue ink and write legibly, preferably in block letters.
2. Your communication shall not be reviewed if you use insulting language or political content.
3. Please limit yourself to describing the events in connection with the incident and clearly and concisely provide only the essential details. It is not a questions of evaluating or giving an opinion, only of describing the facts.
4. No anonymous communications shall be accepted.
To clarify any questions, you can contact Moisés Leonardo Rodriguez at:
Avenida 45 número 2410 entre 24 y 26, Cabañas, municipio Mariel, provincia Artemisa. CP 34100. Cuba.
Let’s do it! That way we will achieve a more favorable environment for the defense of Human Rights!
P.A. Mosés Leonardo Rodríguez
Original Corriente Martiana founder.
Translated by: Anonymous