30 NGOs Urge UN to Press Cuba on Political Prisoner

(Traducción al español en la parte inferior)

Urgent NGO Appeal for Cuban Human Rights Defender Nestor Rodríguez Lobaina, former Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience

4 March 2010

Dear Madam High Commissioner,

We urge you to intervene with the Cuban government to challenge its unlawful barring of human rights defender Néstor Rodríguez Lobaina from leaving the country and addressing this Monday’s 2nd Geneva Summit for Human Rights, Tolerance and Democracy.

As you know, Mr. Lobaina is president of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy, and one of the most recognized dissidents in Cuba. He was jailed for more than five years for the crimes of “disrespect,” “public disorder,” and “damage,” and became the object of a worldwide Amnesty International campaign to free him as a prisoner of conscience.

The global civil society organizers of the Geneva Summit invited Mr. Lobaina to be a distinguished panel speaker at their conference. He duly received all necessary approval from the Swiss authorities. However, the Cuban government has refused to grant Mr. Lobaina permission to exit, thereby preventing him from participating at this important gathering of human rights defenders.

Under Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.” Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights similarly guarantees that “Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.” This right “shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law, are necessary to protect national security, public order (ordre public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others, and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant.” In General Comment No. 27 (1999), the UN Human Rights Committee established that restrictions on the right to leave must be “provided by law, must be necessary in a democratic society for the protection of these purposes and must be consistent with all other rights recognized in the Covenant.” None of these conditions have been met by Cuba’s restrictions in the present case.

Article 5c of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, guarantees that “[f]or the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, at the national and international levels […] to communicate with nongovernmental or intergovernmental organizations.”

Travel restrictions such as those imposed on Mr. Lobaina unfairly and arbitrarily impair his ability and the ability of his organization to address international forums about human rights concerns in Cuba.

For these reasons, we urge you to intervene with the Cuban authorities to see that they immediately lift these restrictions against Mr. Lobaina. We also urge you to demand that the Cuban authorities ensure in all circumstances that human rights defenders are able to carry out their work without unjustified hindrances.

We look to you and the United Nations to reverse this counter-productive decision to block a human rights defender from conducting his work. We hope this travel ban will be lifted so that Mr. Lobaina can join fellow dissidents this Monday at the Geneva Summit, and thereafter travel without restriction.

Thank you for your urgent attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Paula Schriefer, Director of Advocacy, Freedom House
John Suarez, International Secretary, Directorio
Bart Woord, President, International Federation of Liberal Youth
Tashi Albertini, President, Associazione Ticino Tibet
Hillel Neuer, Executive Director, UN Watch
Maran Turner, Executive Director, Freedom Now
Nazanin Afshin-Jam, President and Co-Founder Stop Child Executions
Ahmad Batebi, Founder, Human Rights Activists in Iran
Gabriel Salvia, Chairman, CADAL
Gibreil I. M. Hamid, President, Darfur Peace and Development Centre
Jacob Mchangama, Head of Legal Affairs, Center for Political Studies
Phil ya Nangoloh, Executive Director, National Society for Human Rights of Namibia
Harris Schoenberg, President, UN Reform Advocates
Carlos E. Tinoco, President, A.C. Socrates de Venezuela
A. P. Gautam, Member Secretary, Nepal International Consumers Union
Aixa Armas, Secretaria General, Espacio Civil
Omar Lopez, Executive Director, Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba
Theodor Rathgeber, German Forum Human Rights
Catherine Waters, Main Representative, Catholic International Education Office
Jaime Vintimilla, Executive Director, CIDES
Kok Ksor, President, Montagnard Foundation
Anne Shay, Justice Contact, Presentation Congregation
Margarita Lacabe, Executive Director, Derechos Human Rights
Joan Powers, Coordinator, Presentation Sisters Victoria Justice Ministry
Tanja Mirabile, INCOMINDIOS Switzerland
Abdurashid Abdulle Abikar, Chairman, Center for Youth and Democracy
Forum Maghrebin Pour L’environneùent et Le Développement Morocco
Ted Brooks, Jr., Executive Director, Committee for Peace and Development Advocacy
Nguyên Hoàng Bao Viêt, Delegate, Vietnamese Writers in Exile Centre
Nguyên Lê Nhân Quyên, Delegate, Vietnamese League for Human Rights
Klaus Netter, Main Representative, Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations
Jeff King, President, International Christian Concern

__________________________________

Llamado Urgente de las ONGs por el Defensor Cubano de los Derechos Humanos Néstor Rodríguez Lobaina, ex Prisionero de Conciencia de Amnesty International

Estimada Sra. Alta Comisionada,

La exhortamos a que intervenga con el gobierno cubano para desafiar la prohibición ilegal de viajar fuera del país que éste impuso al defensor de los derechos humanos Néstor Rodríguez Lobaina. El propósito de este viaje es dirigir una alocución este lunes a la 2ª Cumbre de Ginebra por los Derechos Humanos, la Tolerancia y la Democracia.

Como usted sabe, el Sr. Rodríguez Lobaina es el presidente del Movimiento Cubano de Jóvenes por la Democracia, y es uno de los disidentes más reconocidos de Cuba. Fue encarcelado por más de cinco años por los crímenes de “desacato”, “desorden público” y “daños”, y se volvió el centro de una campaña mundial de Amnesty International para liberarlo como prisionero de conciencia.

Los integrantes de la sociedad civil mundial que organizaron la Cumbre de Ginebra invitaron al Sr. Rodríguez Lobaina para participar como distinguido panelista en su conferencia. Para ello recibió acordemente los permisos necesarios del gobierno suizo. Sin embargo, el gobierno cubano se ha rehusado a otorgarle al Sr. Rodríguez Lobaina su permiso para salir del país, lo cual le impide participar de esta importante reunión de defensores de los derechos humanos.

Bajo el Artículo 13 de la Declaración Universal de Derechos Humanos, “Toda persona tiene derecho a salir de cualquier país, incluso del propio, y a regresar a su país“. El Artículo 12 del Pacto Internacional de Derechos Civiles y Políticos garantiza de forma similar que “Toda persona tendrá derecho a salir libremente de cualquier país, incluso del propio“. Este y otros derechos “no podrán ser objeto de restricciones salvo cuando éstas se hallen previstas en la ley, sean necesarias para proteger la seguridad nacional, el orden público, la salud o la moral públicas o los derechos y libertades de terceros, y sean compatibles con los demás derechos reconocidos en el presente Pacto.” En su Observación General No. 27 (1999), el Comité de los  Derechos Humanos de la ONU estableció que las restricciones sobre el derecho a viajar deben ser “previstas por la ley, deben ser necesarias en una sociedad democrática para proteger los fines mencionados y deben ser compatibles con todos los demás derechos reconocidos en el Pacto“. Las restricciones de Cuba en el presente caso no cumplen con ninguna de estas condiciones.

El Artículo 5c de la Declaración Sobre los Defensores de los Derechos Humanos, adoptada por la Asamblea General de la ONU el 9 de diciembre de 1998, garantiza que “A fin de promover y proteger los derechos humanos y las libertades fundamentales, toda persona tiene derecho, individual o colectivamente, en el plano nacional e internacional […] a comunicarse con las organizaciones no gubernamentales e intergubernamentales.”

Las restricciones de desplazamiento como las que se impusieron al Sr. Rodríguez Lobaina impiden de forma injusta y arbitraria sus posibilidades, así como las de su organización, de dirigirse a foros internacionales sobre los problemas de derechos humanos en Cuba.

Por estas razones, la exhortamos a que intervenga con las autoridades cubanas para lograr que levanten estas restricciones contra el Sr. Rodríguez Lobaina inmediatamente. También la instamos a que demande a las autoridades cubanas que se aseguren en todas las circunstancias de que los defensores de los derechos humanos puedan llevar a cabo su trabajo sin impedimentos injustificados.

Solicitamos que usted y las Naciones Unidas puedan revertir esta decisión contraproducente que busca bloquear a un defensor de los derechos humanos en el ejercicio de su trabajo. Esperamos que esta prohibición de viajar se levante, de modo que el Sr. Rodríguez Lobaina pueda unirse a sus colegas disidentes este lunes en la Cumbre de Ginebra, y que posteriormente pueda viajar sin restricciones.

Le agradecemos su atención urgente a este asunto.

Sinceramente,

Paula Schriefer, Director of Advocacy, Freedom House
John Suarez, International Secretary, Directorio
Bart Woord, President, International Federation of Liberal Youth
Tashi Albertini, President, Associazione Ticino Tibet
Hillel Neuer, Executive Director, UN Watch
Maran Turner, Executive Director, Freedom Now
Nazanin Afshin-Jam, President and Co-Founder Stop Child Executions
Ahmad Batebi, Founder, Human Rights Activists in Iran
Gabriel Salvia, Chairman, CADAL
Gibreil I. M. Hamid, President, Darfur Peace and Development Centre
Jacob Mchangama, Head of Legal Affairs, Center for Political Studies
Phil ya Nangoloh, Executive Director, National Society for Human Rights of Namibia
Harris Schoenberg, President, UN Reform Advocates
Carlos E. Tinoco, President, A.C. Socrates de Venezuela
A. P. Gautam, Member Secretary, Nepal International Consumers Union
Aixa Armas, Secretaria General, Espacio Civil
Omar Lopez, Executive Director, Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba
Theodor Rathgeber, German Forum Human Rights
Catherine Waters, Main Representative, Catholic International Education Office
Jaime Vintimilla, Executive Director, CIDES
Kok Ksor, President, Montagnard Foundation
Anne Shay, Justice Contact, Presentation Congregation
Margarita Lacabe, Executive Director, Derechos Human Rights
Joan Powers, Coordinator, Presentation Sisters Victoria Justice Ministry
Tanja Mirabile, INCOMINDIOS Switzerland
Abdurashid Abdulle Abikar, Chairman, Center for Youth and Democracy
Forum Maghrebin Pour L’environneùent et Le Développement Morocco
Ted Brooks, Jr., Executive Director, Committee for Peace and Development Advocacy
Nguyên Hoàng Bao Viêt, Delegate, Vietnamese Writers in Exile Centre
Nguyên Lê Nhân Quyên, Delegate, Vietnamese League for Human Rights
Klaus Netter, Main Representative, Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations
Jeff King, President, International Christian Concern

2 Responses to “30 NGOs Urge UN to Press Cuba on Political Prisoner”


  • Gershon Goldsteen

    Why am I not surprised by Van Meeuwen’s siding with Cuba ? This Council is just as bad as the previous one. Even before Durban I and II I knew this Council, in fact the entire body of the UN is a useless organisation, which actually encourages terrorism. Council members are in many cases the worst human rights oppressors and it only condemns Israel, which has yet to trample anyone’s human rights. It does not even discuss the violations by other countries, with the apparent exception of Sri Lanka. Israel is one of the few really democratic countries and was admitted as a member of the UN only a few years after the UN was founded, yet the UN is demonising Israel, working towards its declaration that Israel is an illegitimate country and has steadfastly prevented it from joining the various UN bodies. The UN was unable to prevent the genocide in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia because of its incompetence. What is the point of continuing with the UN when it is basically held to ransom by the Islamic and other dictatorially ruled countries of this poor world ?

  • Esto es muy bueno ver. Podemos hacer mas cosas como esta para otras familias. Nos estan protegiendo y que tenemos que apoyarlos en este camino. Lo siento si me he perdido algo en espanol, yo no soy muy bueno en este idioma

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