Cuba wants seat on UN Human Rights Council while holding 1,000 political prisoners

The international community should be aghast at the thought of Cuba’s brutally oppressive and murderous communist dictatorship getting a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. But this is the United Nations.

An Op-Ed by Arturo McFields in The Hill:

Cuba, holding 1,000 political prisoners, wants to be on the UN Human Rights Council

Cuba, a dictatorship holding 1,000 political prisoners after 64 years in power, has announced its candidacy to join the UN Human Rights Council for the period of 2024 to 2026.

The Human Rights Council election will take place in October. Among the candidates are multiple countries that trample on democracy and disregard basic civil rights — Cuba, China, Russia and Côte d’Ivoire are among them.

The Cuban regime has been repressing, imprisoning and exiling its own people for 64 years. According to the Cuban Human Rights Observatory, in 2022, 5,499 attacks by the regime upon activists and dissidents were documented.

The dictatorships of Cuba and Nicaragua are leading one of the most vicious attacks on religious freedom in the Americas. Both regimes launched more than 1,400 attacks on preachers and parishioners last year. The goal is to strangle the prophetic voice of the church.

But it is a measure of this regime’s failure that it has to harass people of faith in this manner, and to confine so many political prisoners, more than six decades after it promised a workers’ paradise.

Prisoners Defenders, a human rights organization based in Spain, reports that the Cuban regime practices prison torture, including deprivation of medical attention, forced labor, solitary confinement, intentional disorientation and sleep disturbance, among other atrocities.

Cuba gets rid of independent activists by repressing and even killing them. It subjects human rights defenders to violence, harassment, surveillance, attempts upon their lives and — as in the cases of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero — murder.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights identified serious and sufficient evidence to conclude that state agents participated in the 2012 death of Payá and Cepero in a car crash. What happened to the victims was framed in the context of persecution and state repression that exists on the island.

Cuba is also one of the few countries in the world that implements capital punishment as a legally established standard of punishment. The regime even renewed this legal provision in its Penal Code approved in 2022.

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