In the framework of the 188th Session of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the International Institute for Religious Freedom (IIRF), the Observatory of Religious Freedom in Latin America (OLIRE), Outreach Aid to the Americas (OAA) and the Patmos Institute have requested the thematic hearing on “Protection of the fundamental rights of religious leaders’ victims of government repression since the social outbreak of July 2021 in Cuba.”
The situation of religious leaders in Cuba has become increasingly precarious, especially since the social outbreak of July 2021. The organizations that presented the request compiled information highlighting the vulnerability of religious leaders to government reprisals, which has intensified in recent months.
The Cuban government perceives religious leaders as a competing voice of authority, and as a result, those who do not adhere to the postulates or interests of the communist party are considered enemies of the State or “traitors.” This has led to several consequences, including the application of exorbitant fines, arbitrary accusations, demolition of places of worship, and confiscation of donations received by religious communities/churches. Additionally, complex bureaucratic procedures in the registration of some churches have led to the proliferation of unregistered churches, which are constantly sanctioned, closed, or fined. The constant monitoring and surveillance of religious leaders also constitute a direct transgression of their right to freedom of expression.
The organizations request a thematic hearing to highlight the necessary protection of the conventional rights of religious leaders in the repressive context of the Cuban government and to strengthen the democratic vision of the region based on religious plurality.
The IIRF and the signatory organizations believe that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights can play a fundamental role in guaranteeing the human rights of all the inhabitants of the region, without discrimination, especially without distinction based on their religious beliefs.
You can read the hearing request here.