Press Release

IACHR Makes Working Visit to Florida to Present a Report on Human Rights Situation in Cuba

August 6, 2019

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) conducted a working visit to Miami, Florida, in the United States of America on June 17 and 18, 2019. The purpose of the visit was to monitor, follow-up on, and promote work related to the human rights situation in Cuba together with civil society organizations and people who have been forced to leave the country.

The IACHR delegation was led by the president of the IACHR, Commissioner Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño; the second vice president and rapporteur for Cuba, Commissioner Antonia Urrejola; and the executive secretary, Paulo Abrão; who were accompanied by technical staff from the Executive Secretariat.

As part of its activities in Miami, the IACHR presented its report on the human rights situation in Cuba, which is included in Chapter IV B of the IACHR 2018 Annual Report.a The panel discussion to present the report was chaired by the IACHR and also included the Chief of Staff of the Secretary General of the OAS, Gonzalo Koncke; the Chair of the OAS Permanent Council, Ambassador Carlos Trujillo, who is the permanent representative of the United States to the OAS.

The IACHR took advantage of its visit to meet with civil society organizations in Florida that are made up of people were forced to leave Cuba. During the visit, the IACHR was also informed by civil society organizations whose work focuses on the situation in Cuba of the increased repression facing activists, human rights defenders, and dissidents, and the fact that these people are either prohibited from leaving the country through a mechanism known as “regulation” or are forced to do so against their will. It also received information on a series of violations of the rights to religious freedom and freedom of expression and the lack of access to economic, social, and cultural rights, among others.

“The information we have received on the escalation of repression against dissidents and human rights activists is a source of concern,” said Commissioner Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, the president of the IACHR. “We call on the Cuban government to cease its repression of people seeking to improve the human rights situation in the country.”

“The IACHR is continually engaged in monitoring and following up on the human rights situation in Cuba and to this end, we met with civil society organizations in Miami and listened to their concerns and ideas,” said Commissioner Antonia Urrejola, rapporteur for Cuba. “The IACHR calls once more on the state of Cuba to comply with the recommendations the IACHR made in its 2018 report on the country,” she added.

The IACHR also repeated its request for the state of Cuba to consent to it making its first on-site observation visits to monitor the human rights situation in the country.

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. 191/19