Washington D.C., June 26, 2020 – The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights (Race and Equality) is happy to hear that today, June 26, the Cuban scientist and activist Ariel Ruiz Urquiola has ended his hunger and thirst strike after reaching an agreement that allows him to speak against the Cuban government during the plenary session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations. However, with respect to the article published by Cubanet on June 26, we would like to reaffirm and clarify the following points:
- Race and Equality is firmly committed to the defense and protection of the human rights of Cubans.
- We applaud that Ruiz Urquiola will be able to present his information to the plenary of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, alleging that the Cuban Government infected him with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
- Our legal advisor in Geneva, Tania Agosti, approached Ruiz Urquiola and his supporters with the sole purpose of concern for his state of health due to the hunger and thirst strike he had maintained since Monday, June 22 outside of the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights of the United Nations. Agosti did so with the full institutional backing of Race and Equality.
- At no time did Agosti pressure Ruiz Urquiola to convince him to end his hunger and thirst strike.
- Geneva social services was the entity that came to examine Ruiz Urquiola’s state of health, after Swiss authorities informed him they have an obligation to attend to and report on his mental and physical health.
- We regret the article published by Cubanet on its website and social media that accused our colleague of pressuring Ruiz Urquiola to end his hunger and thirst strike. Similar information was also published on the website and Facebook page of Cubanos por el Mundo. The articles were published before seeking our comment on the matter.
- We note that Race and Equality’s team is always available to provide statements to the media to express our position regarding human rights violations and to clarify our position as necessary.
Race and Equality enthusiastically supports Tania Agosti’s work towards the protection and defense of human rights. She is a dedicated and committed professional and we are fortunate to have her on our team. Agosti and Race and Equality’s staff approached Ruiz Urquiola with the genuine interest of providing him with support.
As an organization, we reiterate our commitment to the defense and promotion of the rights of Cuban civil society activists and organizations. We will continue to provide support and technical assistance to denounce human rights violations and demand justice before organizations such as the United Nations and the Inter-American System of Human Rights.