Press release | Press Releases | Writing

24.01.22

WASHINGTON – US Senators Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) urged the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) ) to prioritize the protection of at least 45 Cuban children who were imprisoned and unreasonably prosecuted following the July 2021 pro-democracy protests.

“We believe that the situation in Cuba deserves the full attention and condemnation of the international community,” writes the senators. “The Cuban authorities must know that their brazen actions have consequences and are unacceptable to any country that expects to be considered a legitimate member of the international community.”

“Given the agency’s child protection mandate, UNICEF is uniquely positioned to lead international condemnation of these unconscionable acts and demand the release of these young people. As more trials and convictions are expected in the days and weeks to come, we urge you to intercede on behalf of these children and their families, who are only seeking justice and respecting the basic human rights of Cuban minors.” , sued the senators.

Read the full letter here or below.

Dear Mrs. Russell:

Congratulations on your appointment as the next Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). As you take this important position, we urge you to prioritize the protection of at least 45 Cuban children arbitrarily imprisoned and prosecuted by the Cuban regime for their participation in the historic July 2021 protests. We urge you to demand their immediate release as one of your first actions in your new role.

The Cuban regime is prolific in its use of arbitrary detention as a tool of repression. In 2020 alone, the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights recorded 1,028 arbitrary detentions in Cuba. According to the independent non-governmental organization Justicia 11J, which documents the regime’s crackdown following the July protests, the Cuban regime has detained at least 45 minors between the ages of 14 and 17 for alleged “crimes”. Fourteen of these minors remain behind bars awaiting trial, according to Justicia 11J.

Human Rights Watch reports that those detained after participating in the July freedom protests were deliberately deprived of sleep, beaten, sexually assaulted, and held in cells without light for days. Many of those detained have also been charged with “sedition”, which carries a higher maximum sentence than murder. One of those detained, Kendry Miranda Cárdenas, is only 17, but Cuban prosecutors are asking for a sentence of at least 20 years.

Last November, UNICEF joined other international organizations in calling on Cuban authorities to provide more information on reported cases of children being detained in Cuba. Sadly, the call for more transparency has been met with numerous reports from the island, many from desperate family members on social media, of harsh sentences that continue to be handed down.

We believe that the situation in Cuba deserves the full attention and condemnation of the international community. The Cuban authorities must know that their brazen actions have consequences and are unacceptable to any country hoping to be considered a legitimate member of the international community.

Given the agency’s child protection mandate, UNICEF is uniquely positioned to lead international condemnation of these unconscionable acts and demand the release of these young people. As more trials and convictions are expected in the days and weeks to come, we urge you to intercede on behalf of these children and their families, who are only seeking justice and respecting the basic human rights of Cuban minors.

We appreciate your attention in this regard and look forward to your prompt action to demand the immediate release of the persecuted children in Cuba.

###



Previous post

Comments are closed.