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, www.cubanet.org.- 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
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numbers of complaints received were limited and outdated.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
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” –