Washington, D.C., January 22, 2021.– The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has granted precautionary measures to Juan Antonio Madrazo Luna, Marthadela Tamayo González, and Osvaldo Navarro Veloz, three human rights defenders who are members of the Citizens’ Committee for Racial Integration (CIR, by its Spanish initials) in Cuba, having found that they face a situation of grave and imminent risk of irreparable damage to their human rights.
In its decision, the IACHR called upon the State of Cuba to adopt the necessary measures to guarantee the three activists’ rights to life, to personal integrity, to freedom of expression, and to carry out their work as human rights defenders without suffering violence or intimidation. These measures should be agreed upon in consultation with the beneficiaries.
The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights (Race and Equality) filed the request for these precautionary measures in response to the threats, harassment, surveillance, detentions, and violent attacks that the CIR has documented against Juan Antonio, Marthadela, Osvaldo, and other CIR members. In granting the precautionary measures, the IACHR called upon Cuba to report how it plans to investigate these incidents within fifteen days.
Persecution against the CIR
The culmination of the persecution facing the CIR was the arbitrary detention of Juan Antonio Madrazo Luna, its National Coordinator, on November 12, 2020. Agents of Cuba’s State Security forces raided his house in Havana and confiscated both personal and work-related materials from him and his sister. Juan Antonio was then detained and held incommunicado for over 18 hours.
Marthadela Tamayo González and Osvaldo Navarro Veloz have also suffered multiple incidents of repression, including being detained on November 22nd, 2020 during a peaceful protest in Havana’s Central Park. The protest was called to demand the release of Denis Solís, a musician and member of the San Isidro Movement who is being held as a political prisoner. Before being detained, the two were physically attacked by a pro-government group of civilians who disrupted the protest.
Race and Equality hopes that the State of Cuba will fulfill its international human rights treaty obligations by responding to the Commission’s requests and guaranteeing the safety of Juan Antonio, Marthadela, and Osvaldo. We also hope that the State will allow them to carry out their vital work as human rights defenders without suffering persecution, threats, or violence at the hands of police, State Security, or pro-government civilian groups.