Thursday, February 26, 2015

Amnesty International Denounces Increase in Arbitrary Detentions in Cuba

Amnesty International Denounces Increase in Arbitrary Detentions in Cuba
/ 14ymedio
Posted on February 26, 2015

14ymedio, Havana, 24 February 2015 — Short-duration detentions increased
considerably in Cuba in 2014, according to the annual report published
today by Amnesty International. The human rights organization, with
headquarters in London, emphasizes that the situation with respect to
freedom of expression, association and assembly, infringed on by
criminal prosecutions for political reasons, did not improve. Amnesty
International expects, nevertheless, that the announcement of the
re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the Island and the
United States may help produce a significant change in the matter of
human rights.

The report highlights the 27% increase in short-duration detentions last
year, according to data from the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and
National Reconciliation, which counted almost 9,000 brief arrests. The
Ladies in White organization suffers the most from this type of
repression, although Amnesty International also mentions the arrests
produced at the end of 2014 on the occasion of the Community Summit of
Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

The annual report, which offers an overview of the human rights
situation in 160 countries and forecasts trends in this arena for the
next year, addresses the issue of the control that Raul Castro's
government exercises over all means of communication and the
difficulties of accessing information on the Internet. Among the
harassments that independent journalists have suffered, the organization
cites the case of 14ymedio, which, on the day of its launch last May 21,
suffered an attack on its web page. Since then this digital daily has
been blocked on the Island.

The report dedicates a special section to prisoners of conscience and
notes that laws that classify "dangerousness" and the likelihood of
future offense as crimes have been used frequently to incarcerate
citizens critical of the Government. Also, they point to the restriction
on travel outside of Cuba imposed on the 12 prisoners of the Black
Spring who were released without a clarification of their legal status.

Amnesty International appreciates the immigration reform of 2013 which
has permitted Cubans to travel abroad but points out that the government
has confiscated materials and documents from opponents and critics on
their return to the Island. The international organization complains
that Cuba has not yet ratified the International Treaty of Civil and
Human Rights or the International Treaty of Economic, Social, and
Cultural rights, both signed in February 2008. Also, the Government has
not responded to the petition made in October by the special rapporteur
on torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatments and
punishments. Cuban authorities have denied Amnesty International access
to the country since 1990.

A "cruel" year on a regional scale

Amnesty International stresses that 2014 was a "cruel" year in all of
the Americas, characterized by outbreaks of protests and impunity for
criminal networks.

"Last year, insecurity and conflicts grew on the American continent.
Protests exploded in several countries, among them Venezuela, Brazil,
Mexico and the United States, often violently repressed by state forces.
We also were witness to the tragic increase in violence by criminal
networks that acted with total impunity," Erika Guevara Rosas, director
of the organization's program for the Americas, asserts.

"From the disappeared students in Mexico through the revelations about
torture at the hands of CIA agents in the United States and the shooting
of protesters by Brazilian police, 2014 was a shameful year in the whole
region," she adds.

Amnesty International warns that, if significant structural changes are
not put in place, the region will see an increase of protests and
demonstrations, while organized crime and violence will continue
devastating countries like Mexico, El Salvador and the English-speaking

The organization notes as positive the peace talks between the Colombian
government and the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) for the
purpose of putting a definitive end to the continent's oldest armed
internal conflict. Nevertheless, the report stresses that at the end of
last year both parties continued abuses and violations of human rights.

As for Venezuela, the report insists that security organizations
employed excessive force to disperse protests and emphasizes that dozens
of people were detained arbitrarily and denied access to doctors and

Amnesty International nevertheless harbors a certain hope that movements
in defense of human rights in the Americas may improve their form of
organization thanks to the help of new technologies and social networks.

Translated by MLK

Source: Amnesty International Denounces Increase in Arbitrary Detentions
in Cuba / 14ymedio | Translating Cuba -

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