United Nations Denounces 187 Victims of Enforced Disappearances in Cuba

Several agents arrest a demonstrator in Havana on July 11. (EFE/Ernesto Mastrascusa)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Mexico, 16 July 2021 — The United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) urged the Cuban government this Thursday to release information on the whereabouts of 187 people who are still missing after the demonstrations that began July 11 across the country, as well as on the identities of the “perpetrators.”

The Committee’s request for urgent action is in response to a complaint issued on the previous day by the organization Cuban Prisoners Defenders, which states that hundreds of people detained in over 15 cities since Sunday, have not had any contact with their relatives yet, and “there is no official documentation stating their whereabouts.”

In response to the complaint, the UN urges the regime to carry out an investigation on the whereabouts of the missing persons “taking an integral approach, ensuring that they can communicate with their relatives and their legal defense.”

The Committee also urged the government to provide “updated information on the actions they have taken to resolve this matter,” underlining that Havana has until July 30, 2021 to respond to these urgent actions.

Regarding the identity of “those responsible for the enforced disappearances of the 187 people,” the UN requests that “the Committee be fully informed about everything.”

“In the event that the 187 people are being held incommunicado,” a call was made to ensure they can communicate with relatives, lawyers or any person they choose, and that they are allowed to receive visitors.

On the other hand, the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights (OCDH) denounced on Thursday “the lack of legal defense for detainees and the hunt perpetrated against the demonstrators.”

“There is no justice, Cuba is in an undeclared state of siege or exception*, while the forces of repression continue repressing, organizing raids, raiding homes to arrest protesters with complete discretionary power and violence,” denounced the Madrid-based organization.

The Observatory also alleged that “police stations are not allowing entry to defense attorneys hired by relatives of detainees.” Furthermore, “Cuban court rooms will remain closed for a week, so during that time it will be impossible to present any arguments in favor of the victims of repression.”

Reports received by OCDH point out that several people in Bauta municipality, in Artemisa, “have taken refuge in the mountains, avoiding persecution … Buses loaded with workers from state agencies are leaving their provinces to repress in other areas where the people do not know them,” the Observatory warned.

In cities like Camagüey, “buses loaded with police are being used to detain and transport demonstrators who have been identified in videos of the protests posted on social media. Meanwhile, mothers and relatives are roaming the detention centers seeking information about their detained and/or missing relatives.”

In its complaint, the OCDH also revealed that observers on the island have reported that “prisons remain closed,” and that many detainees have been transferred to prison “as a precautionary measure” and have no communication with their relatives. Those who have been released “are being forced to remain in their homes,” and many have also been fined between 300 and 5,000 pesos.

*Translator’s note: Source: Cuban government website (translated): The “state of exception” is a mechanism included in the constitutional text of a country and is declared in the event of a situation that warrants extraordinary measures…

Translated by: Rita Ro


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