The Centrist Democrat International (CDI) has historically been committed to fighting in order to ensure Human Rights, as set forth in the documents of the International Bill of Rights, for each and every human being all around the world.
For the CDI the creation of the United Nations Human Rights Council was an important step in the search for a body to facilitate genuine dialogue between nations and transparent international cooperation on universally recognized human rights.
The re-election of the Republic of Cuba to the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2009, and in particular the contents of the aide-memoire presented by the Cuban government to the United Nations General Assembly member States in support of its efforts to join the Council for another three years, is of the utmost importance in light of the events that have taken place on the island recently, especially considering the contents of said public document, which states:
"Cuba reaffirms its will to continue working tirelessly towards achieving the common goal of having every person and all peoples of the world enjoy human rights, on the basis of respect for the United Nations Charter, agreed international instruments on human rights, and the Vienna Declaration and Plan of Action. Cuba reiterates its commitment to international cooperation in promoting and protecting human rights."
As part of this commitment to cooperate in universal mechanisms of non-discriminatory, non-selective and non-politicized human rights, the Cuban government will extend an invitation for Mr. Manfred Nowak, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments or punishments, to visit the country."
Finally, in its aide-memoire the Cuban government reiterated its "willingness to keep inviting other special members of the Human Rights Council to visit the country."
In light of the recent, avoidable and painful death of political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo as a result of the hunger strike he was staging to protest the inhuman and degrading conditions endured by political prisoners in Cuba, and in particular the grave states of health exhibited by 26 of these prisoners, as in the case of peaceful dissident Ariel Sigler Amaya, the Centrist Democrat International believes that it is time for the Republic of Cuba to take concrete steps to follow through on the public commitments adopted by its government before the members of the United Nations General Assembly.
Of particular importance are the following urgent actions:
- The release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, in particular of those detainees who are in poor health.
- Immediate arrangements for the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments or punishments to visit detention centers on the island so that he can personally and directly verify the countless complaints that have been registered regarding the "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment" being endured by Cuban political prisoners in particular and by the prison population in general.
- Extending invitations to the Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and to the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression.
- Allowing the International Red Cross to visit Cuban jails and ensure compliance by jail authorities with the "Basic Principles on the Treatment of Prisoners" adopted and proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, and with the "Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners" approved by the Economic and Social Council.
- The ratification by the National Assembly of People's Power of the International Charters on Human Rights, which the Cuban government signed in February 2009, the incorporation of their contents into Cuba's national laws, and the enactment of the corresponding modifications.
The Centrist Democrat International welcomes any immediate steps taken along these lines by the government of the Republic of Cuba and formally requests before this Council that Cuban authorities comply with the public commitments adopted before the United Nations General Assembly in the aide-memoire presented in 2009.