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Rejection of recommendations to ensure human rights regretful – Amnesty International

Document – Cuba:
Rejection of recommendations to ensure regretful
Ai Index: AMR 25/006/2009

11 June 2009

Cuba: Rejection of recommendations to ensure human rights regretful

"It is truly disappointing that Cuba rejected so many recommendations
that could have improved respect for human rights in Cuba, a great
opportunity has been missed", said Amnesty International on Cuba's
adoption of the UPR.

The organization welcomes the acceptance by Cuba of some of the
recommendations formulated in the review, in the belief that if
implemented, they could contribute to the improvement of the human
rights situation in Cuba. In particular, the organization welcomes the
recommendations to conduct a study on the need for legislative and
administrative adjustments to the domestic implementation of human
rights, and to provide human rights training for government, and
judicial officials.

Amnesty International also welcomes the Cuban government's commitment to
cooperate with the UN human rights mechanisms. In light of the severe
restrictions on the right to of opinion and , Amnesty
International urges Cuba to facilitate without delay the visit by the
Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, the request for
which has been pending since 2003.

Amnesty International is disappointed, however, by the rejection of a
number of key recommendations related to the improvement of civil and
political rights. These included ensuring the right to a fair trial and
allowing greater for Cuban citizens, including to
leave the country.

The organization also regrets it was not able to make these statements
orally at the session as pro-Cuban governmental organizations dominated
contributions preventing civil society organizations from participating.
The manipulation of civil society's contributions to the process
seriously undermines the UPR.

Amnesty International regrets that some of the recommendations were
rejected on the basis that existing national institutions and
legislation offer full protection of human rights and do not require
further change. On thesegrounds, Cuba discarded the need to establish a
national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris
Principles, refused to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention
against Torture and rejected the recommendation to provide full access
to the International Committee of the Red Cross to prisons and to
establish a system of review of its prisons by United Nations and other
relevant international observers.

Amnesty International welcomes Cuba's support of a recommendation to
refrain from applying the death penalty. However, it is regrettable that
the government was unable to accept the recommendation to progressively
reduce the number of offences liable to the death penalty and to
consider further measures towards its complete abolition.

Amnesty International laments Cuba's outright rejection of
recommendations to ensure respect for the rights to freedom of
expression, association and assembly. The organization shares the
concerns, expressed during the review, about the of Cuban
citizens for peacefully exercising their human rights as guaranteed
under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which we note Cuba has signed
and indicated its intention to ratify. Amnesty International also
regrets that Cuba was unable to agree to release political prisoners and
to repeal or amend legislation that criminalizes legitimate activities
related to the exercise of freedom of expression, association and
assembly, such as Law No. 88 or Article 91 of the Penal Code.

According to information available to Amnesty International, at least 56
prisoners of conscience remain in detention, imprisoned solely for
expressing their conscientiously held beliefs, among them:
? Oscar Elías Biscet, a physician and of the unofficial
Lawton Foundation for Human Rights, on 6 December 2002 and
sentenced to 25 years in , and
? Julio César Gálvez Rodríguez, arrested on 19 March 2003
and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Amnesty International takes this opportunity to call on Cuba to
immediately and unconditionally release these individuals and others
arrested solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a mechanism of the UN Human
Rights Council under which it reviews, each four years, the fulfilment
by all 192 UN Member States of their human rights obligations and
On 5 February 2009, Cuba was reviewed in the UPR Working Group of the
Human Rights Council. During the review, member states made a number of
recommendations in relation to the human rights situation in the
country. Cuba accepted 60 of the recommendations, rejected several
others, and took under consideration a further 17 recommendations. The
11thsession of the Council, currently session, formally adopted the
review yesterday, 10 June 2009.

Document – Cuba: Rejection of recommendations to ensure human rights
regretful | Amnesty International

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