EFE (via 14ymedio), Washington, 1 October 2022 — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) requested this Friday that Cuba approve a visit to the country to review the situation of the Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White), to which the agency granted precautionary measures almost ten years ago.
The Cuban government, the IACHR alleges in a resolution, has not delivered to the organization a response that “indicates that it has been taking measures to protect the rights” of the members of the group. This is the first time that the IACHR has asked Cuba for a visit in person within the framework of precautionary measures.
The Ladies in White collective, made up of relatives of dissidents imprisoned by the government, has been subjected to harassment, death threats, house searches and arrests by state agents since the protection mechanism was granted in 2013, according to the document.
The IACHR explains that it has requested information from the Cuban state about the situation of the group at least four times in the last ten years and has not received a response, so it asks to “assess the situation of the beneficiaries” with a visit in person.
The commission’s request is disclosed almost two weeks after the opposition group’s leader, Berta Soler, was arrested — and released hours later — by State Security agents during the fourteenth arrest on the Sunday marches held by the women so far this year.
The Ladies in White, who founded the group in 2003, decided to march again on Sundays, after the pause imposed by the pandemic, to demand the release of the detainees in the mass protests that the Island experienced in July last year.
An “in situ” visit by the IACHR must be approved by the Cuban government, which has not allowed the agency to enter the country so far. The last time the commission was in a country was in January 2020, in Chile, as a result of the social explosion in the nation. In the same year, the IACHR tried to visit Venezuela, an ally of Cuba, but the government of President Nicolás Maduro banned the commission from entering the country.
Cuba is not part of the Organization of American States, having been expelled from the organization in 1962.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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