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HRF asks U.N. to inquire into attack on journalist

Cuba: HRF asks U.N. to inquire into attack on journalist
[30-07-2014 11:13:48]
The Human Rights Foundation,

(www.miscelaneasdecuba.net).- NEW YORK. —The Human Rights Foundation
(HRF) has submitted a petition to the United Nations Special Rapporteur
on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and
expression (U.N. Special Rapporteur), requesting that he send an urgent
appeal to the government of Cuba regarding the brutal assault of Cuban
journalist Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez on June 11, 2014, and the
repeated threats on his life. Guerra, who is the founder and director of
the independent news agency Centro de Información Hablemos Press
(CIHPRESS) in Cuba, was attacked solely for exercising his right to
freedom of opinion and expression.
“In Cuba, there is a widespread pattern of repression, persecution, and
imprisonment of journalists who represent an alternative to the media
monopoly of the dictatorship, which is mainly devoted to government
propaganda. The case of Roberto Guerra is emblematic of these types of
systematic human rights violations,” said Sarah Wasserman, COO of HRF.
“For years, Guerra and the journalists at Hablemos Press have bravely
reported on these abuses, either through their modest website or by
distributing press releases they manage to print in the most rudimentary
form,” said Wasserman.

HRF’s petition includes an account of the attack on Guerra, points to
strong indications that the attack was ordered by Cuban government
agents, and documents the latest threats against other journalists at
CIHPRESS, including Guerra’s wife. The petition calls on the U.N.
Special Rapporteur to request that the government of Cuba “adopt
immediate measures to protect the right to life, security and physical
integrity of Roberto Guerra and that of his family.” It also asks the
rapporteur to request the government of Cuba “to take all necessary
measures to ensure the cessation of physical and verbal attacks on
Guerra, as well as to offer assurances and guarantees of non-repetition
with regards to these attacks.”

“These journalists have committed the ultimate offense in a totalitarian
state, which is to dare to report on facts that the Cuban dictatorship
has tried to hide for years. Those are, to name a few, the dreadful
state of public healthcare and education, the arbitrary arrests of
peaceful dissidents, malnutrition, lack of food safety, and the
continuous outbreaks of cholera and other diseases,” said Wasserman.
“These reports are deadly blows for a Latin American dictatorship that
has historically excelled in its ability to sell myths, like the ones
that praise Cuba for its ‘excellent’ public healthcare,” said Wasserman.

Retaliation against independent journalists is a common occurrence in a
country that ranks only “behind Iran and China as one of the world’s
biggest prisons for the media.” In 2012, in the infamous case of Calixto
Ramón Martínez Arias, the Cuban government arrested and imprisoned a
CIHPRESS journalist for seven months for reporting on the existence of a
cholera and dengue outbreak that the government attempted to conceal.

“The Cuban regime is required to comply with the rule of general
international law that establishes the obligation of ‘cessation and
non-repetition’ of acts or omissions that constitute internationally
wrongful acts. This means that Cuba must guarantee that attacks against
Guerra stop, and ensure that they never happen again,” said Javier
El-Hage, HRF’s general counsel. “Cuba may not be a state party to the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, but as a member of
the U.N., it can be held accountable for violations to the right of
freedom of expression of its citizens. This right is enshrined in
article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a binding
instrument of customary international law signed by Cuba in 1948,” said
El-Hage.

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit
organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a
focus on closed societies. We believe that all human beings are entitled
to freedom of self-determination, freedom from tyranny, the rights to
speak freely, to associate with those of like mind, and to leave and
enter their countries. Individuals in a free society must be accorded
equal treatment and due process under law, and must have the opportunity
to participate in the governments of their countries; HRF’s ideals
likewise find expression in the conviction that all human beings have
the right to be free from arbitrary detainment or exile and from
interference and coercion in matters of conscience. HRF does not support
nor condone violence. HRF’s International Council includes human rights
advocates George Ayittey, Vladimir Bukovsky, Palden Gyatso, Garry
Kasparov, Mutabar Tadjibaeva, Elie Wiesel, and Harry Wu.

Contact: Jamie Hancock, (212) 246-8486, jamie@thehrf.org

Source: Cuba: HRF asks U.N. to inquire into attack on journalist –
Misceláneas de Cuba –
http://www.miscelaneasdecuba.net/web/Article/Index/53d8b74c3a682e0bfc5062ea#.U9kBgPmSwx4

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