AI on Cuba’s Repressive Legal Framework
From Amnesty International’s periodic review, which was released last week:
Promotion and protection of human rights
With respect to advancing the promotion and protection of human rights, Amnesty International notes that Cuba’s repressive legal framework – limiting the rights to freedom of expression, association, assembly and movement – remains unchanged.
Cuba has also yet to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, both of which Cuba signed in February 2008. At the time of the Human Rights Council’s adoption of the outcome of Cuba’s first review, Cuba noted that it needed sufficient time to assess the provisions of the Covenants and its own political and judicial system to ensure their compatibility.
In practice, Amnesty International has noted that respect for fundamental human rights has not progressed in Cuba since its first review. In fact, during this period, repression of the peaceful exercise of civil and political rights has increased. Independent journalists, human rights activists and political opponents have often been harassed by state security services, and some have been detained and sentenced. Moreover, there has been a steady increase in the number of arbitrary detentions since 2009.
Cooperation with UN special procedures and treaty bodies
Regarding the recommendation supported by Cuba to strengthen its cooperation with UN Special Procedures and treaty bodies, Amnesty International acknowledges Cuba’s efforts to submit periodic reports to the treaty bodies.
However, Cuba has shown no commitment to working with UN Special Procedures; a visit of the Special Rapporteur on torture was agreed in 2009, but has not yet gone ahead. So far, Cuba has failed to issue an invitation to the Special Rapporteur on freedom of association and assembly, who requested to visit in 2003 and again in 2011, or to the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion, who requested to visit in 2006.
Application of the standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners
Amnesty International receives regular reports that could indicate a breach of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, including ill-treatment of common and political prisoners. The organization has concerns based on interviews with former prisoners of conscience who were released between 2009 and 2011; however, it is unable to verify the validity of current reports first hand. For this reason, Amnesty International believes that it is paramount that Cuba allows the Special Rapporteur on torture to visit the country and have unrestricted access to the prison population.