Nine NGOs Criticize Havana’s Rejection of UN Recommendations

The recommendations were made during the United Nations Universal Periodic Review

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio) Washington D.C., 26 March 2024 — Nine NGOs criticized Cuba for rejecting 28 of the recommendations in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which, among other issues, have to do with political prisoners and the repression of dissent.

The nine groups that sent reports for the UPR – including Cubalex, Article 19, Justice 11J and Pen International – released a statement on the same day that the final report of the Working Group of the UPR mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council was approved.

This UN document indicates that Cuba accepted 292 of the 361 recommendations made – mostly from other states – while it took note of 41 and rejected 28.

“Rejecting 28 recommendations related to the rights to freedom of expression and association shows the lack of commitment of the Cuban authorities to their international human rights obligations,” the NGOs stated.

It was recommended that Cuba allow “the access of independent observers to trials and prisons   

Among the rejected recommendations are the “liberation of people deprived of liberty for political reasons, the cessation of repression and the harassment against dissident voices.”

Likewise, Cuba was asked to allow “the access of independent observers to trials and prisons, and the development of ’free and fair’ elections,” according to the NGOs.

In their opinion, the rejection of these points acquires “special relevance” after the peaceful demonstrations on March 17 and 18 in several parts of the Island, where hundreds of people protested the prolonged blackouts and the shortage of food.

According to their records, “at least 14 people remain arbitrarily detained” after these events. The Cuban authorities have not offered data in this regard.

The NGO Prisoners Defenders, for its part, puts at 32 the number of people who remain in prison and could be added to its list of political prisoners in Cuba, which in its latest report numbered 1,066 people.

“We demand that the Cuban State recognize and guarantee the fundamental rights of people residing in the country, regardless of their political position, religious belief, profession, race, sexual orientation and gender identity,” the statement concludes.

The signatory groups are Cubalex, Article 19, Justicia 11J, Pen International, Artists at Risk Connection (ARC), Cuban Prisons Documentation Center, Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights, Cuban Youth Dialogue Table and Museum V.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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