Freedom House Calls on UN to Investigate Cuba, Claims Rights Situation Deteriorating

New York

Freedom House, a leading advocate for democracy and freedom around the world, urged the United Nations to conduct a special investigation of human rights abuses in Cuba. Freedom House took this action at the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, where the organization has made publicizing the deteriorating human rights situation in Cuba a priority of its activities. In addition to urging that the UN appoint a special rapporteur to investiagte conditions in Cuba, the organzation:

  • hosted the visit to Geneva of several Cuban and Cuban-American human rights activists. They included former political prisoners Dr. Ricardo Bofill, founder of the Comite Cubano Pro Derechos Humanos, and Father Miguel Loredo; and Jesus Permuy, Director of the Center for Human Rights, and Rafael Sanchez-Aballi, Executive Director of the Institute of Democracy in Cuba;
  • held a briefing detailing the deterioration of human rights in Cuba, specifically citing the so-called "Law for the Protection of the Independence, Sovereignty and Economy" of Cuba (referred to by Cubans as the "muzzle" law) and the trial of the four dissidents recently condemned to prison terms of up to five years for "sedition" (Vladimiro Roca, Marta Beatriz Roque, Feliz Bonne, and Rene Gomez);
  • called upon the UN Human Rights Commission to approve a resolution calling on Cuba to restore civil and political liberties and to apoint a Special Rapporteur to monitor the condition of human rights in Cuba;
  • called upon the government of Cuba to: 1. release the four recently condemned dissidents and all political prisoners; 2. allow these Cuban citizens to remain in Cuba following their release and not force them into exile; 3. abrogate the so-called "muzzle" law; 4. allow the freedom of expression, freedom of association, and all other freedoms guaranteed under the UN declaration of Human Rights, of which Cuba is a signatory; and
  • met with numerous governmental delegations concerning Cuba.

The Freedom House delegations was led by Freedom House trustee Otto J. Reich, former U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, who represented the U.S. before the Human Rights Commission in 1991 and 1992. Other delegates from Freedom House included Lisa Davis, Director of Freedom House's Rule of Law Initiative/Global Human Rights Training and Support (RIGHTS) program; and Dr. Paul Marshall and Joseph Assad of Freedom House's Center for Religious Freedom.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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