Press Release

IACHR calls on Cuba to Adopt Means of Integral Protection Against Gender-Based Violence

November 13, 2020

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses concern about the number of occurrences of gender-based violence in Cuba and urges the State to adopt comprehensive protection measures against gender-based violence against women, girls, and adolescents.

In the public hearing session “Gender-Based Violence and Human Rights of Women in Cuba”, held during the 177th Session Period, the IACHR received information regarding the prevalence of stereotypes that perpetuate gender-based violence in the country, including inter-partner and institutional violence, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as its disproportionate impact on afro-descendant and human rights defenders women. This is added to the deficiencies in technical capacity for the official registry about that type of violence which has motivated civil society organizations and independent journalists to recollect disaggregated statistics on gender-based violence in the country.

Additionally, according to the information for civil society, there have been failures by the State to act with due diligence with aimed  to prevent, investigate and sanction these acts due to the absence of mechanisms for reporting and lack of adequate training of security and justice agents, such as the absence of an adequate legal framework on gender-based violence, that covers in particular the prevention, investigation, sanctions, and reparation for femicides.

In this sense, the Commission urges the State of Cuba to adopt comprehensive, immediate and urgent measures to prevent, investigate, judge, sanction, and provide reparations for each murder and act of violence against women, girls, and adolescents. This includes the adoption of comprehensive measures developed based on an intersectional and gender perspective, including components oriented to eliminate stereotypes based on gender and on other grounds.

As a result, the IACHR urges the need to reinforce the training on gender perspective to agents and representatives of the State, within the policing, investigative or judicial instances, providing assistance to the victims of this type of violence, including family members of victims of femicide. These efforts should continue by looking at and effectively identifying the discriminatory nature of these crimes, protecting the victims and their family against revictimization, and sanction the actions with the penal definition of femicide, when this is the case.

Finally, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and taking into consideration its Resolution 01/20, the Commission makes a call to the Cuban State to incorporate the gender perspective from an intersectional approach,  in all answers adopted by State to contain the pandemic, particularly the development of protocols and strengthening the capacity of security agents and justice actors involved in the investigation and sanctioning of acts of gender-based violence.

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. 273/20