“Everyone who has been arrested for exercising these rights [assembly and peaceful protest in Cuba] should be released immediately,” UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Elizabeth Throssell stated during a press conference in Geneva, on November 16, 2021.
Mexican journalist Gabriela Sotomayor was the one who asked Throssell about the Office’s position on the situation in Cuba after Archipielago called for a peaceful protest on November 15th.
Throssell also said that rights to freedom of expression, opinion, and assembly “are fundamental cornerstone rights in every society, restrictions that are imposed on rights of assembly, as well as the rights of freedom of expression and opinion, need to comply with principles of need and proportionality and have to be set out in the Law,” which is lacking in Cuban legislation.
In her statements, she expressed the Office of the High Commissioner’s concern over the arrest of people who exercise “their right to assembly and peaceful protest,” and advocated for the respect of due process for those who have been arrested, so that they have access to habeas corpus, a defense and are able to communicate with their families.
“In basic terms, the State has the obligation to create and guarantee an environment that works to protect human rights,” Throssell ended.
Attacks on activists, journalists and members of Cuban civil society who support or are members of Archipielago continued and were stepped up on 15N. Instead of protecting its citizens’ rights to protest freely, the Cuban State has stopped them from exercising this right and repressed any expression of dissent.
Hate rallies, interrogation, arbitrary arrests, sieges, harassment on social media along with other acts of persecution and the militarization of Cuba’s streets were State Security and the National Revolutionary Police’s strategy to prevent protests in the country.
The NGO Cubalex recorded 53 incidents where Cuban citizens’ human rights were violated by the Government on this day. Up until now, 56 arrests have been reported linked to 15N. Out of this total, 25 have been released and 9 were missing, including Daniela Rojo, one of Archipielago’s admins. Social media users discovered that Rojo’s Facebook profile had disappeared.
On November 11th, Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association and Peaceful Assembly reminded the Cuban government that harassing and intimidating organizers of the protest was a violation of its duties as the State.
Michelle Bachelet’s office said that it would remotely monitor “the human rights situation in Cuba”; because her organization has no power to monitor events on Cuban soil.
Two months before, on September 14th, Bachelet had presented an annual report to the Human Rights Council. At that time, the High Commissioner said nothing about the human rights violations committed by the Cuban Government…