In an apparent nation-wide crackdown, police in Cuba detained hundreds of Cuban citizens to prevent them from attending gatherings there to celebrate International Human Rights Day on December 10. In so doing, the Cuban Government denied the very liberties to be celebrated during the annual event to enunciate and promote protection of basic human rights.
News reports from the island nation say police detained more than 100 civil-society representatives and put another 100 to 150 under house arrest, before later releasing them. Among those detained were more than 90 members and supporters of the Ladies in White, a group established by the wives and female relatives of political prisoners that peacefully marches each week to call for the release of Cuban political prisoners who are suffering poor human rights conditions. Such roundups are not unusual on or before December 10 each year, but the recent detentions appear to have been greater than in the past.
Cuban authorities appear increasingly reliant on these short-term and sometimes violent detentions as a form of intimidation and control. Activists around the world mark the day when in 1948, as one of its first official actions, the United Nations proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The United States is deeply concerned by the Cuban Government’s repeated use of arbitrary detention and violence to silence critics, to disrupt peaceful assembly and to intimidate independent civil society. We call on the government to end this abusive practice and we look forward to the day when all Cubans can freely express their ideas, assemble freely and express their opinions without fear of repression.