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Human Rights Council 39: UK Statement on Cuba

The UK recognises Cuba's positive steps in combating human trafficking, but remains concerned about restrictions to the freedom of expression and the treatment of prisoners.

Flags and Palais Geneva

Thank you, Mr President,

The UK notes Cuba’s continued engagement with the UPR, although we remain concerned by reports of human rights defenders being prevented from attending the pre-UPR NGO session. We hope Cuba will support our recommendations.

We recognise the positive steps taken by Cuba to combat human trafficking. We hope it will continue this work and accept our recommendation to criminalise all forms of human trafficking and address the reportedly coercive elements of Cuban labour practices and foreign medical missions.

We remain concerned about the restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly in Cuba. We urge Cuba to end these restrictions, the use of short-term detentions and overly broad criminal charges such as “dangerousness”.

We are also concerned by recent actions by the Government through Decree 349/2018 to further restrict cultural expression. We hope they will review this decree.

We noted Cuba’s statement that they ensure fair treatment for prisoners, but urge them to strengthen these protections. We call on Cuba to accept our recommendation to improve prison conditions through adherence to the Standard Minimum Rules on the Treatment of Prisoners.

We urge Cuba to ensure the right to a fair trial through ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and adherence to the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary and the Role of Lawyers.

Thank you, Mr President.

Published 21 September 2018