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    UN Experts Concerned About the Situation of Violence Against Women on the Island

    UN Experts Concerned About the Situation of Violence Against Women on
    the Island / Yaremis Flores
    Posted on August 8, 2013

    HAVANA, Cuba, August 1, 2013, The members of the
    Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
    bluntly expressed their concern “with the persistence of violence
    against women, including domestic violence in Cuba,” says a report
    published last July 25 on its official web page.

    They said that the phenomenon remains underreported, “due to the
    prevalence of discriminatory socio-cultural norms and denial by the
    Cuban State of the existence of different types of violence.” Later in
    their report, they stated that Cuba does not recognize the exploitation
    of prostitution. This particular issue, was fully addressed in an
    article from the Spanish newspaper ABC published last Tuesday.

    The critiques were reported following an examination of Cuba by the
    Committee, in a version edited and published not only in English.

    The Committee was concerned by the lack of knowledge about the human
    rights of women in the national population and proposed firmly
    establishing a legal culture based on non-discrimination and equality of

    CEDAW noted that although Cuban law prohibits discrimination based on
    gender and stipulates that all citizens have equal rights, they remain
    worried that Cuba “has failed to include in its legislation a definition
    of discrimination against women” nor is there a law specifically against
    domestic violence.

    One of their suggestions was to ensure effective access to justice,
    including the provision of free legal aid programs and protection for
    victims of violence. They also recommended that the Cuban establish an
    effective and independent mechanism of monitoring for women detainees,
    which they can access without fear of reprisals.

    Thus, they considered it important that Cuba provide mandatory training
    for prosecuting judges, police, doctors, journalists and teachers to
    ensure a raise in awareness of all forms of violence against women and

    The CEDAW Committee drew attention to the lack of a complaints mechanism
    for reporting cases of discrimination and violation of the human rights
    of women and the absence of a national human rights institution.

    Although the report referred to the Federation of Cuban Women and the
    Houses of Orientation to the Woman and Family receiving complaints, the
    numbers of complaints received were limited and outdated. Actually, not
    all Cuban women identify these spaces as a possible solution to their
    problems and in some cases they simply transfer the case to another
    government institution.

    With respect to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the Committee
    noted that not all organizations could participate fully in the process.
    They urged the State to improve cooperation with NGOs.

    In this last review only three aspects received positive mentions. Among
    them, the adoption of laws such as social security, the ratification of
    some international standards such as the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress
    and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and
    the high representation of women in the National Assembly.

    The number of recommendations and key concerns were almost double those
    from the previous periodic review. However, in a press conference given
    by the Cuban Minister of Justice, Ms. Maria Esther Reus González, to the
    media NOTIMEX and Prensa Latina, describing the CEDAW committee’s
    presentation as useful to Cuba.

    Ms. Reus González said that this exercise “has allowed us to showcase
    the achievements and empowerment that Cuban women have achieved, while
    it has served to hear the suggestions, views and opinions of experts and
    the Committee experts, who will always assist in the improvement of the
    economic model and legislation that is developing in our country.”

    After a thorough reading of the CEDAW report one understands their deep
    sense of concern about the situation of the island. On the other hand,
    the denial of some of the problems by the official Cuban delegation does
    not allow relieving the context of women.

    According to the Committee, Cuba will have to inform in writing, within
    two years, the steps taken to implement the recommendations and they
    invited the State to submit to the next examination to be held in July 2017.

    1 August 2013

    Source: “UN Experts Concerned About the Situation of Violence Against
    Women on the Island / Yaremis Flores | Translating Cuba” –

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