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Cuba - Universal Periodic Review

UPR 30, May 16, 2018.
Recommendations by Canada


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Thank you, Mr. President.

Canada recognizes Cuba’s increased World Wide Web access with establishment of over 600 public Wi-Fi hotspots and urges continued development, without usage controls.

Canada recommends that Cuba:

  1. Improve transparency and due process in the justice system by ensuring that anyone arrested is promptly informed of the reasons of arrest, has access to a lawyer of their own choosing, and a public hearing within a reasonable timeframe where he/she is presumed innocent.
  2. Adopt legislation providing legal status for non-governmental organizations and independent journalists.
  3. Immediately eliminate harassment and intimidation of activists, including arbitrary short-term and pre-trial detentions and house arrest.

Canada has noted Cuba’s 2008 signature of the International Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and we continue to urge Cuba to ratify and implement both agreements.


According to UPR Info, a non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO) that tracks the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, Cuba received 381 recommendations, of which 290 were accepted (an acceptance rate of 76%), in the first two cycles of the UPR. Canada’s previous recommendations to Cuba were related to lifting restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and association; releasing remaining political prisoners; ensuring that prisoners and detainees are treated with dignity and humanity; ratifying and implementing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR); increasing transparency and due process in the judicial system; and opening doors to cooperation with human rights and humanitarian organizations.

Since its last UPR in 2013, the Government of Cuba has taken steps to improve access to the internet. In the last three years, more than 600 public wifi spaces have been created in Cuba, active social media users have increased by over 300% and active social mobile users have also increased by over 300%.

Cuba has also taken steps to increase freedom of religion and respect of LGBTQ identities, and to improve space for expression, organization and sharing information. However, there is limited progress in tolerance of independent media.

Although Cuba has accepted the recommendation on ratifying and implementing the ICCPR and ICESCR, to date there have been no steps to do so.

Despite positive steps, Cuba remains a country with severe limits on civil society space and no political pluralism. Freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, and harassment and short-term detention of activists, journalists, and human rights defenders remain areas of concern. Citizens who are arrested are presumed guilty until proven innocent and can be detained until trial or held with no charges. Reasons for detention are not always clear and there are long delays in laying charges, investigations, and court proceedings.

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