Starting on July 11, tens of thousands of Cubans in dozens of cities and towns throughout their country took to the streets to peacefully demand respect for their human rights and fundamental freedoms. In response, Cuban security forces violently repressed the protests, arresting hundreds of demonstrators simply for exercising their rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Demonstrators and human rights advocates have since been convicted in summary proceedings that lack fair trial guarantees. Some have reported physical abuse while in regime custody. Others remain incommunicado or are being held without formal charges.
Today marks the end of high-level general debate at the United Nations, where world leaders came together to address the General Assembly on the most pressing issues facing our peoples and nations today. Among these is the universal imperative to respect the human rights of all people. It is vital that the international community speak out against the repression and mass arrests of Cuban protestors; demand the release of those unjustly imprisoned there; and support the Cuban people’s desire to determine their own future. We urge the Cuban government, a member of the UN Human Rights Council, to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Cuban people, enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
Cubans deserve a chance to exercise their rights and voice their aspirations without fear of violence or imprisonment. The United States will continue to support the Cuban people, and will continue to take action to promote accountability for the Cuban government’s human rights abuses.