Press Release

IACHR Grants Precautionary Measures in Favor of Fernando González Vaillant, José Pupo Chaveco, and Roilan Zárraga Ferrer in Cuba

February 14, 2020

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Washington, D.C. - On February 13, 2020, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) adopted Resolution 16/2020 (link in Spanish), through which it granted precautionary measures in favor of Fernando González Vaillant, José Pupo Chaveco, and Roilan Zárraga Ferrer, in Cuba. According to the request, the beneficiaries are human rights defenders and members of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unión Patriótica de Cuba, UNPACU), are currently deprived of their freedom in substandard conditions, and are being subjected to ill-treatment.

The IACHR noted that the beneficiaries were reportedly arrested in connection with their work as human rights defenders and the fact that they are perceived as political dissidents. It also drew attention to the fact that Fernando González Vaillant and José Pupo Chaveco were allegedly arrested while they were at the UNPACU headquarters. The IACHR also took into account the fact that Mr. Zárraga was allegedly left in incommunicado detention for a long period of time and that no information on his whereabouts was initially provided, and that the place where Mr. González and Mr. Chavaca are being held has yet to be confirmed. This is particularly important as it prevents their representatives and family members from gaining access to them and ascertaining whether their rights are being respected.

After analyzing the allegations of fact and law put forward by the the petitioners, the IACHR deemed that the information in question proves, prima facie, that Fernando González Vaillant, José Pupo Chaveco, and Roilan Zárraga Ferrer are extremely vulnerable as their rights to health, life, and personal integrity are at grave and urgent risk. Consequently, in accordance with Article 25 of the IACHR’s Rules of Procedure, the Commission requested that Cuba a) take the necessary measures to guarantee the rights to life and personal integrity of Fernando González Vaillant, José Pupo Chaveco, and Roilan Zárraga Ferrer, specifically by guaranteeing that their conditions of detention comply with the applicable international standards; b) that it determine the measures to be implemented in consultation with the beneficiaries and their representatives; and c) that it report on the actions it takes to investigate the allegations that led to the adoption of this resolution, so as to prevent them from being repeated.

The fact that this precautionary measure has been granted and its adoption by the state does not entail a prejudgment on any petition that may eventually be filed before the inter-American system to allege that the rights protected by the American Declaration and other relevant instruments have been violated.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 040/20