An open letter to the EU demanding a response to the ongoing human rights crisis in Cuba

The independent human rights organization Civil Rights Defenders has written an open letter to the European Union demanding they respond to the ongoing human rights crisis in communist Cuba.

Open letter: The EU must respond to the magnitude of Cuba’s human rights crisis at the Joint Council

Dear High Representative Borrell,

Ahead of the forthcoming European Union (EU)-Cuba Joint Council on 26 May, our organizations are writing to urge you to ensure that human rights remain at the very centre of the EU’s relations with Cuba, at a crucial moment for the country’s human rights defenders.

Our organizations continue to document the Cuban authorities’ ongoing crackdown on the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association in the country, stifling dissenting voices and targeting human rights defenders. Cuban human rights defenders face harassment and repression by the Cuban authorities and remain excluded from spaces where international actors and the Cuban government take decisions that affect their work and the wider human rights situation in the country.

The Cuban government’s approach has long been marked by restrictive laws, censorship and intimidation tactics, with ever increasing machinery to control the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, while individuals defending human rights face unfair trials and arbitrary detention. This trend has only increased with the targeting of protesters since the demonstrations of 11-12 July 2021, when thousands of people took to the streets across the island to demand a change in living conditions in Cuba in a way that has not been witnessed in decades.

The Cuban authorities have refused to allow EU and member state diplomats, international media or human rights organizations to monitor the trials of those detained during the July 11 protests. Family members and detainees report various due process violations, while artists, intellectuals and others with alternative ideas are subjected to alarming levels of surveillance and restrictions on their freedom of movement. Peaceful protests as recently as in September and October 2022 are reported to have been met with police and military deployment to suppress them. Cuba has expanded internet access but as part of a government policy to continuously silence dissent, the authorities control and interrupt web access at politically sensitive times, regularly blocking messaging apps in contravention of international human rights law.

Three prominent activists, Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, Maykel ‘’Osorbo’’ Castillo Pérez and Jose Daniel Ferrer García, remain in jail in Cuba as of May 2023 solely as a result of their convictions and the peaceful exercise of their human rights. Justicia 11J, a group formed in response to the repression of protesters in July 2021, records 1,812 individuals arrested since the start of the protests, with 768 remaining in prison as of 11 May 2023.

Ahead of the Joint Council, Cuban civil society has likewise raised many of these concerns, including the situation of independent civil society, prisoners of conscience and others detained for political reasons, the respect of the rights to freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly and movement – as well as both political participation in Cuba and the participation of independent civil society in EU-Cuba relations.

Continue reading the letter HERE.

1 thought on “An open letter to the EU demanding a response to the ongoing human rights crisis in Cuba”

  1. Borrell will at most dispense some lip service or fake concern, but he’s a socialist and anything but averse to the “revolutionary” regime in Cuba. His knee-jerk response to the 11J protests was to blame Trump and the “blockade,” which is all anyone needs to know about him. In other words, he’s part of the problem.

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