Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Criticizes Cuban Human Rights

IACHROn May 7th the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued its 2014 annual report containing “accessible, comprehensive, and relevant information concerning the Commission’s work and resources” in order “to promote compliance with the Commission’s decisions, ensure accessibility to victims, give an accounting of the petition and case system, and report on the human rights situation in the region.”[1]

Chapter IV.B of the report has special reports the Commission considers necessary regarding the human rights situation in those Member States with the most troubling human rights records, i.e., the so called “black list” of the Commission. There are only two countries on that list for 2014: Cuba and Venezuela.

The report’s 45 pages about Cuba (Report at 388-431) was summarized as follows in the Commission’s press release about the report:

  • “[R]estrictions on political rights, freedom of association, freedom of expression and dissemination of ideas, the lack of elections, the lack of an independent judiciary, and restrictions on freedom of movement over decades have come to shape a permanent and systematic situation of violation of the human rights of the inhabitants of Cuba. Over the course of 2014, the information available suggests that the general human rights situation has not changed. The above-mentioned human rights situations persist, along with severe repression and restrictions on human rights defenders. The [Commission] also received information concerning discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons and persons with disabilities in Cuba.”

The Press Release also noted that the Commission welcomed “the restoration of diplomatic relations between the governments of Cuba and the United States, while reiterating its concern about the negative impact that the economic and trade embargo imposed by the [U.S.] on Cuba has on the human rights of the Cuban population” and noting “that the embargo does not release [Cuba] of its international obligations established in the American Declaration [of the Rights and Duties of Man].”

Other parts of the report set forth a general overview of the Commission’s activities during the year (Ch. I); an accounting of how cases, petitions, and precautionary measures have been handled, (Ch. II); the activities of the seven Rapporteurships (Ch. III);[2] an overview of the human rights situation in the hemisphere with emphasis on citizen insecurity, discrimination on the basis of nationality, discrimination on the basis of ethnic and racial origin, and the situation of migrants (Ch. IVA); the status of recommendations issued by the Commission on Jamaica and Colombia (Ch. V); and the challenges the Commission faces in terms of human and financial resources (Ch. VI).

The discussion in Chapter IVA (pp. 366-72) regarding racial discrimination commented on the U.S. problems of police brutality with alleged racial bias, especially the notorious case of the shooting of black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri. Although the U.S. was seeking solutions to this problem, “there is still much to do” and the state and others in the region need “to continue and extend the studies and the police measures to eliminate racial profiling. ” Moreover, the report notes that the Commission has begun a Report on Criminal Justice and Race in the U.S. to analyze recent cases of alleged police racially motivated abuses and ways to prevent a situation that the Commission considers “very worrying.”

OASThe Commission is a principal and autonomous organ of the Organization of American States (“OAS”) whose mission is to promote and protect human rights in the American hemisphere. It is composed of seven independent members who serve in a personal capacity. Created by the OAS in 1959, the Commission has its headquarters in Washington, D.C.


[1] This post is based upon the following: Ayuso, Venezuela and Cuba remain on black list of human rights, El Pais, (May 7, 2015); IACHR, Press Release: IACHR Presents Its Annual Report (May 7, 2015); IACHR, IACHR Annual Report, 2014 (May 7, 2015). This blog contains many posts about various cases decided by the Commission.

[2] The Commission has appointed its seven members as Rapporteurs to focus on the following human rights in the hemisphere: indigenous peoples; women; migrants; the child; human rights defenders; persons deprived of their liberty; persons of African descent and against racial discrimination.

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As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

2 thoughts on “Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Criticizes Cuban Human Rights”

  1. Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is an organization set up by the US The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was created in 1959, with the compliance of Latin American countries in the OAS which at that time, 1950’s-60’s, the US government controlled via political, economic and military means.
    The issue in this case is the use of propaganda of the US through State Dept, USAID and other agency programs to pay journalists and agents to incite aggression against the Cuban and Venezuelan political systems to regain economic and political control of the island lost in 1959 after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution and the election of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in 1998. Also used were TV and radio programs from Miami called TV Marti and Radio Marti and privately owned stations in Venezuela.
    These programs fall under the Article 20 rule of the International Convention of Human Rights as “propaganda of war”. It is the only expression of free speech that has been outlawed by the international community in the International Convention of Human Rights except the US and a few other western governments.
    The reports of this “Human Rights” Commission are used for political purposes to gather academic, media and public support for CIA/USAID covert programs (Alan Gross, Zuzuneo smartphone, AIDS health workshops and Hip Hop concerts) and US policies such as the US Blockade of Cuba, undermining Venezuelan economy and social cohesion, etc. from the American Public, In itself these programs are violations of US law prohibiting use of taxes for propaganda influencing the debate for international aggression.
    It is an example of why the US case against Cuba and Venezuela for violations of press freedom has gained little traction with Latin American countries and why US violations of state aggression, immigrants rights and minority rights have had little traction in the Inter American Court in Costa Rica, the body created to enforce human rights laws in the Western Hemisphere.
    This gives me pause as to the reasons for this blog and it’s lack of research as to why the status quo system on which it reports does what it does. Why no analysis?

    1. I appreciate Greg’s providing other sources of information about these issues, but have not taken the time to determine whether his summary of them is fair.

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