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FIDH-CCDHRN Advocacy Note

January 2015

Aiming for a genuine opening:

The EU must place civil society at the heart of negotiations with Cuba
1. Context
1.1. The fall of a wall ?
The sudden thaw in US-Cuban relations last December created an understandable euphoria among
most world diplomacies, prompting High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and
Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission (HR/VP) to announce that another
Wall ha[d] started to fall1. Yet the prospects for a progressive opening of Cuba does not
automatically mean that a democratisation process in under way on the island.
1.2. A rush of foreign investors
The current opening is at least in part dictated by the need for the regime in place to find economic
alternatives to compensate the shrinking support by Venezuela. The flurry of diplomatic activity on
the island in 2014 could be understood in that sense. This took the form of negotiations with the
European Union and the United States and high level visits, notably by Chinese President Xi
Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin leading to the conclusion of 29 sectoral agreements
with China and 10 agreements with Russia, including in the strategic energetic sector 2. One key
question for the future of Cuba will be to see what influence or lack thereof these actors have on
the future of the country. While Raul Castro has been openly referencing to the Chinese model of
socialist market economy as an inspiration for an economic transition, it may well be the case
that, like in the Chinese model, a Cuban economic transition is organised in order to avoid rather
than foster a political transition.

Statement of the High Representative and Vice President Federica Mogherini on US-Cuba relations, Brussels, 17
December 2014, http://eeas.europa.eu/statements-eeas/2014/141217_03_en.htm
While Cuba produces 40% of its own oil, it has until now depended on Venezuela for the rest of its oil
consumption. The discovery in 2011 of important off-shore oil reserves which would made Cuba one of the top20 countries in the world in terms of reserves prompted the agreement of exploration contracts with several
international oil companies, including Spain's Repsol.

1.3. A coordinated call for reforms from pro-democracy and human rights activists
In the recent months, the Cuban civil society stepped up efforts to reinforce coordination among the
various pro-democracy and pro-human rights activists and organisations on the entirety of the
island. This coordination of activities on the ground has been complemented by the development of
a platform of discussion uniting the main forces of the pacific democratic opposition, under the
name of the Open Space of the Cuban Civil Society (Espacio Abierto de la Sociedad Civil
cubana). The objective of this movement is to strengthen the unity of the demands of the civil
society both inside the island and in the diaspora while maintaining its diversity 3 to foster a
pacific dialogue on the island4.
In February 2014, the main representatives of the Cuban pacific opposition agreed in Madrid on
four points of common demands5, which were revised in December 2014 by the Espacio Abierto
following the announcement of the resuming of the US-Cuban relations.
The four points demand6:
The unconditional release of all political prisoners, identified by lawyers according
to international standards, including those on parole (licencia extrapenal) to thus end the
phenomenon of political prisoners in Cuba. The end of institutional and police abuse against
the Cuban people and the often violent political repression against the peaceful human rights
and pro-democracy movement.
The respect of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international
commitments and ratifications by the government of Cuba. The ratification without
reservation of the International Covenants on Human Rights. The compliance with the
International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions on labour and trade union rights and
with the agreements on democratic governance made at the Via del Mar Summit in 1996.
The recognition of the legitimacy as a valid interlocutor of the independent Cuban
civil society within the island and in the diaspora.
The plural character of the Cuban society imposes the need for a constitutional and
legal reform to enable the creation of spaces to guarantee the exercise of political pluralism
as the basis for the realisation free, democratic and competitive elections.
In its Declaration on the resuming of the US-Cuban relations7, the Espacio Abierto greeted the event

CubaNet, La oposicin cubana llama a fortalecer la unidad en la diversidad, 23 December 2014,

Cuatro puntos de consenso en Madrid: por la legitimidad de la sociedad civil cubana,
Cuatro puntos de consenso en Madrid: por la legitimidad de la sociedad civil cubana,
The translation from Spanish to English is ours. Please refer to the original document in Spanish:
Espacio Abierto de la Sociedad Civil cubana, Cuatro puntos de consenso de Espacio Abierto de la Sociedad Civil
Cubana, La Habana, 22 de diciembre de 2014, http://www.14ymedio.com/nacional/Cuatro-puntos-consensoactualizadosV2_CYMFIL20141223_0002.pdf
Declaracin de Espacio Abierto sobre la reanudacin de las relaciones con EE UU, La Habana, 23 diciembre 2014,

in particular as it led to the liberation of Cuban prisoners, and put an end to the pretext of the
embargo as an excuse for repression by the regime. The Declaration demands that the Cuban people
be included in the designing of a new narrative for the future of the island. Concretely, it insists that
the next negotiations with the Cuban authorities should be more transparent and include the voice of
the civil society.
FIDH and its member organisation in Cuba CCDHRN (the Cuban Commission for Human Rights
and National Reconciliation) demand to the EU and its Member States that it openly and concretely
supports the Cuban civil society's demands. Our common assessment of the situation in the island
indeed leads us to conclude on the high validity of these demands. Our organisations have the
conviction that the EU can have a decisive influence in that regard provided it adapts its
negotiations with Cuba adequately.
2. Core human rights challenges
2.1. Situation of Human rights defenders and political opponents

According to CCDHRN, there were in June 2014 114 individuals condemned or processed
for political reasons in Cuba8. After the liberation of 53 individuals in January 2015, the list
still contains more than 50 cases.

In addition to these individuals condemned or processed for political reasons, one should
add up to 1000 individuals who are each month victim of what the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights describes as a tactic of short-term arbitrary detentions
without a court order, targeting political opponents, human rights activists, and independent
journalists, who are usually held incommunicado for periods ranging from hours to days,
normally at police stations9.

The harassment led against people considered as Counter-Revolutionary also takes the form
of smear campaigns, physical aggression and vandalism. The regime manages to turn a part
of the population against another by using rapid intervention brigades (brigadas de
respuestas rapidas) made of pressured citizens and delinquents trading their freedom for a
hand given to the army and police's work of vandalism, assault and threats. Harassment
often takes the form of acts of repudiation (actos de repudio) consisting in a gathering
of citizens meant to verbally abuse, intimidate and sometimes physically assault an activist.
Sakharov Prize recipients Guillermo Farias and the Women in White (Damas de Blanco)
are regular victims of such acts.

Including 12 people in house arrest under extra-penal licence (licencia extra-penal).
CCDHRN, Lista parcial de condenados o procesados por motivos politicos en Cuba, 23 de junio de 2014,
According to official figures from 2012, more than 57,000 Cubans were in prisons or work camps.
Quoted in: Human Rights Watch, World Report 2014, http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2014/countrychapters/cuba?page=3
However, according to the CCDHRN, the prison population amounted to between 60,000 and 70,000 individuals in
2014, i.e. 0,6% to 0,7% of the Cuban population, one of the highest ration in the world.
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Annual Report 2013, Cuba,

FIDH league CCDHRN has closely monitored for years these short term detentions and acts
of harassment, which it presents in a monthly inventory report. According to CCDHRN,
these acts have increased over the last years from 2074 of such acts in 2010 to 8899 in 2014.

The independent Cuban civil society has no right to exist. For example, FIDH league
CCDHRN has been requesting its registration since 1987, without success. The only
organisations authorised on the island are either satellite organisations of the Cuban
Communist Party (Central de Trabajadores de Cuba, Federacin de Mujeres Cubanas,
Unin de Jvenes Comunistas, Federacin Estudiantil Universitaria, Asociacin Nacional
de Agricultores Pequeos, Comits de Defensa de la Revolucin, etc) or organisations which
do not contradict its ideological line. Not only can't individuals take part in unregistered
organisations without putting their freedom, reputation and security and the one of their
family in danger, but also they are subject to oppression or isolation often conducted through
the mass organisations.

2.2. Repressive framework



The Cuban regime signed the International Covenants related to Civil and political rights
(ICCPR) and Economic, social and cultural rights (ICESCR) in 2008. Since then, no move
has been made to ratify and implement these Covenants. Recently, during its second
Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2013, Cuba only noted the recommendations made
by many UN Member States to ratify the ICESCR, the ICCPR, and other core UN
Conventions, while it accepted general recommendations which were not framed as any
specific action.

Numerous international human rights standards protected by these Covenants are

systematically violated in Cuba. Freedom of expression and association is severely limited.
Not only are independent civil society organisations prohibited, but their members are
sidelined and isolated from the rest of the society and its mass organisations. This isolation
and denigration have concrete consequences for pro-democracy and human rights activists
and their families, in terms of even harder difficulties than the rest of the population to enjoy
economic and social rights, like the right to food, to health and education.

The Criminal Code allows the authorities the means to conduct repression as they wish,
notably on the basis of concepts which are clearly in breach of international standards, like
articles 72 to 90 on pre-delective social dangerousness (peligrosidad social predelectiva). This concept covers the dangerous situation associated with an individuals
particular proclivity to commit crimes, as demonstrated by conduct that is manifestly
contrary to the norms of socialist morality 10. Other repressive articles of the Cuban
Criminal Code include art. 91 on acts against the independence or the territorial integrity of
the State11, art. 144, on disrespect (desacato), art. 208 and 209 on the crime of illicit

United Nations Human Rights Council, Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Sixteenth session,
Geneva, 22 April3 May 2013, Summary prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in
accordance with paragraph 5 of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 16/21, Cuba,
A/HRC/WG.6/16/CUB/3, 11 January 2013, http://daccess-ddsny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G13/109/33/PDF/G1310933.pdf?OpenElement
For more details, see : Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Annual Report 2013, Cuba,
Whoever, in the interest of a foreign State, commits an act with the intent to cause damage to the independence of
the Cuban State or the integrity of its territory, shall receive a sentence of between ten and twenty years or a death

association, art. 103 on the crime of enemy propaganda, art. 207 on crime by association,
art. 115 on the crime of dissemination of false information against international peace, art.
143 on the crime of resistance.

The repressive legal framework also includes laws, like the Law 88 on Protection of the
National Independence and Economy of Cuba, which criminalises any person who
collaborates, by any means whatsoever, with radio or television programmes, magazines or
any other foreign media or provides information considered likely to serve US policy12.

Conditions in prisons are generally harsh, but are even harsher when they concern political
prisoners, and include: detention in insalubrious cells, often leading to the development of
illnesses like cholera, and bad physical treatments (including insufficient food, refusal of
access to medicines and/or doctors, beatings by the penitential administration and inmates,
etc.). Hunger strikes and suicides to demand better conditions or assert one's freedom of
expression are common.

2.3. Right to participate in free and fair elections

After his accession to power, Fidel Castro declared in 1961 that the revolution has no time for
elections13 and abolished them. The rule would be made more flexible after the fall of USSR and
the first direct elections for the Provincial and National Assemblies were held in 1993. In their reply
to the Universal Periodic Review in 2013, the Cuban authorities indicated that Cubas human
rights priorities are to [] further increase popular participation in elections and decision-making
processes14. However, in the view of the Cuban authorities, this probably means a quantitative
increase of voting participation rather than an opening of elections in competitive terms.
The Cuban regime has until now argued that the exceptionalism of its political system was
necessary to confront the US restrictive policy. The Cuban election calendar foresees the next
elections for February 2018, while 2017 has been presented as a deadline before which the US
embargo could be lifted. Theoretically, the upcoming years could therefore offer an opportunity to
revise this approach. The international community has in any case a strong role to play in
encouraging such a change.
Preparing future free and fair elections entails key institutional reforms like the suppression of the
Council of State (Consejo de Estado), the 31-member body of the Cuban government headed by
the Cuban President, which exercises most legislative powers between the session of the National
Assembly which elects it. It also involves legal reforms, notably to repeal the monopoly of preselection of candidates by candidacy commissions composed of representatives of the mass
organisations15. But reforming the legal framework to ensure future free and fair elections cannot be




Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Ibidem.

Reporters Without Boarders, Harassment, exile, imprisonment One hundred independent journalists face the State,
September 2000, http://archives.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=3213
1961: Victorious Castro bans elections,
Human Rights Council, Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Sixteenth session, Geneva, 22 April3
May 2013 National report submitted in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 16/21, annex, paragraph
5, Cuba, 7 February 2013, http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G13/106/93/PDF/G1310693.pdf?
According to the Cuban law, candidates are pre-selected by nominating assemblies which comprise representatives
of workers, youth, women, students and farmers as well as members of the Committees for the Defence of the

done in separation from the reform of the whole repressive legal arsenal, which creates indirect
impediments on the right to participation in free and fair elections. For example, article 91 of the
Criminal Code makes the publication of material deemed by the power as counter-revolutionnary an
offence. Reforming the legal framework to allow for free and fair elections without authorising the
free sharing of political material would would not make sense. 16
3. What role for the European Union?
FIDH and CCDHRN had the opportunity to present the Cuban civil society demands to the
European External Action Service several times in the last months. These discussions allowed to
highlight a clear difference of approach between what is demanded by the Cuban civil society and
the EU diplomatic objectives.
The EU has a decisive role to play in Cuba and can present itself as an original partner to Cuba and
the Cuban people. Contrary to the other actors mentioned, the EU diplomacy is clearly bound to
pursue the objective of promoting democracy and human rights 17. Although human rights are in the
negotiating mandate for the future agreement, until now the EU has not pushed for concrete
discussions on this theme, nor has it enough associated the civil society in the talks. The EU opened
negotiations with Cuba on 29 April 2014 to discuss a future bilateral Political Dialogue and
Cooperation Agreement (PDCA), which will also cover trade aspects. Two rounds of negotiations
took place in April and August 2014 and the third round, originally foreseen for December 2014, is
now set for early March 2015. While the first round concerned the general modalities of
negotiations, and agreement on the structure of the future accord, and the second one trade aspects,
this third round will focus on human rights and the role of the civil society. Now is therefore a
decisive moment for the EU to be attentive to the demands of the independent Cuban civil society.
3.1. Reviving its support to human rights defenders
The European Parliament has played a strong role in support of the independent Cuban civil society,
by regularly highlighting the reality of the situation in the country and speaking up in support of



The final list of candidates, which corresponds to the number of seats to be filled, is drawn up by the National
Candidature Commission taking into account criteria such as candidates' merit, patriotism, ethical values and
revolutionary history.
No political parties are permitted to campaign. For the 2013 elections, all 612 candidates who ran for the 612 seats
in the National Assembly of the People's Power were elected. They were all members of the Communist Party.
See the web site of the Inter-Parliamentary Union: http://www.ipu.org/parline-e/reports/2079_B.htm
See notably the project of Road Map for future elections coordinated by Lawyers Without Borders:
See Article 21 of the Lisbon Treaty, http://www.lisbon-treaty.org/wcm/the-lisbon-treaty/treaty-on-european-unionand-comments/title-5-general-provisions-on-the-unions-external-action-and-specific-provisions/chapter-1-generalprovisions-on-the-unions-external-action/101-article-21.html : The Union's action on the international scene shall
be guided by the principles which have inspired its own creation, development and enlargement, and which it seeks
to advance in the wider world: democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and
fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity, the principles of equality and solidarity, and respect for the
principles of the United Nations Charter and international law. [] 3. The Union shall respect the principles and
pursue the objectives set out in paragraphs 1 and 2 in the development and implementation of the different areas of
the Union's external action covered by this Title and by Part Five of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European
Union, and of the external aspects of its other policies.
as well as the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, 25 June 2012,

pro-democracy activists, notably through the attribution of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of
Thought to Oswaldo Pay in 2002, to the Ladies in White (Damas de Blanco) in 2005, Guillermo
Farias in 2010.
While the EU and its Member States were at the forefront of support to pro-democracy activists
after the Black Spring, EEAS public positioning have become rarer over the years, failing to
publicly condemn numerous politicly motivated arrests and regular repression against the
population. In addition, while the repression is often stronger away from the capital, repressed
human rights defenders there do not see any signs of the EU diplomatic action even discrete in
their support.
3.2. Advancing human rights through negotiations
While the Cuban civil society expects the EU to use strategically the negotiations under way to
obtain tangible results from the Cuban authorities, the EEAS has repeatedly expressed that the
negotiations were aimed at obtaining the setting-up of a human rights dialogue within the
framework of the future agreement. This approach has been confirmed in several public statements,
including by the EU chief negotiator Christian Leffler18 and former HR/VP Catherine Ashton19.
Likewise, in her Declaration greeting the re-establishment of US-Cuban diplomatic relations, new
HR/VP Federica Mogherini indicated that the negotiations on a Political Dialogue and
Cooperation Agreement [...] would serve as an enabling framework for closer engagement in
support of the on-going reform and modernisation process in Cuba20.
It is incontestable that, given the fact that the 1996 Common Position is still binding, the current
negotiations should be led having in mind the principle set out in it, according to which the
European Union considers that full cooperation with Cuba will depend upon improvements in
human rights and political freedom . FIDH and CCDHRN therefore call on the EU to revise its
current approach to the negotiations to be ready to play a more decisive role in that sense. The EU



La interpretacin sobre los derechos humanos sigue siendo un punto desencuentro entre Cuba y la Unin Europea
pero, segn ha prometido Leffler, seguir siendo un tema importante en el desarrollo del acuerdo, que ser
incorporado de manera adecuada en el captulo referido al dilogo poltico y la gobernanza.
El Pais, La UE y Cuba acuerdan refundar su relacin econmica y poltica, 1 May 2014,
Recognizing we have profound differences fundamentally in the themes of national sovereignty, human rights
and foreign policy we reiterate our disposition to dialogue on all these themes.
Transcript: Excerpts of Cuban President Raul Castro's remarks on Cuba policy changes ,
Obama announces talks for U.S. to restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba, 18 December 2014,
For example, last September, a Member of the European Parliament asked through a Parliamentary question what
were the progresses made in the last round of negotiations between the EU and Cuba (August 2014) and whether
the EU was aiming at conditioning the signature of a future agreement with Cuba to the ratification of the two main
human rights conventions.
In her reply, the then HR/VP Catherine Ashton indicated that what was considered as progresses in the negotiations
was good discussions on the aim to establish a robust framework for constructive dialogue and improved
cooperation between the EU and Cuba. The reply indicates that it is within this framework (i.e. not before, through
the negotiations) that issues such as the ratification of the International Covenants [] will be promoted.
Fernando Maura Barandiarn (ALDE), Question for written answer to the Commission, Subject: EU-Cuba
negotiations, 2 September 2014, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=WQ&reference=E-2014006495&language=EN
Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Ashton on behalf of the Commission, 22 October 2014,
Statement of the High Representative and Vice President Federica Mogherini on US-Cuba relations, Brussels, 17
December 2014, http://eeas.europa.eu/statements-eeas/2014/141217_03_en.htm

should consider that it is the negotiations themselves not the future agreement which need to be
the enabling framework for discussions on human rights and inclusion of the civil society. It is the
process of negotiations, not its outcome, that can represent the real leverage to obtain improvements
by the Cuban authorities.
The EU should make the most of the opportunity offered by some Cuban authorities' declarations
on their readiness to discuss all subject, including human rights 21, to ensure that these pledges do
not remain empty words. It is to be noted that the four points of the Cuban civil society presented
above were publicly supported by US Secretary of State John Kerry on 24 December 2014 22. The
EU has currently not pronounced itself in a similar way 23. Given the past decades transitions
undertaken by several EU Member States, the EU would however be in an ideal position to present
itself as the guarantor of support to the voice of the independent Cuban civil society24.
FIDH and its Cuban member organisation CCDHRN call on the European Union to use the
current negotiations to engage the Cuban authorities on key human rights deliverables which
should be attained before an Agreement is signed. Our organisations call on the EU and Cuba
to start discussing a specific human rights Road Map during the next round of negotiations in
March 2015, which should at minima contain the following points and foresee the integration
of the independent Cuban civil society:

The immediate and unconditional release as well as full rehabilitation of all individuals in
prison or under house arrest (extra-penal licence) for political reasons.

The ratification and implementation of core UN Conventions, notably the International

Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) signed in 2008, but also the Optional Protocol of the
Convention against Torture (OP-CAT), the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights aiming to the abolition of the death penalty (CCPR-OP2-DP), the
International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of
Their Families (CMW). The ratification and implementation of all ILO Conventions, in particular




"Bruno Rodrguez, durante una conferencia de prensa en la que asegur que su Gobierno estaba dispuesto a discutir
cualquier tema, incluyendo el del respeto a los derechos humanos."
El Pais, Cuba y la Unin Europea inician el dilogo para normalizar sus relaciones, 30 April 2014,
Verified Twitter account of John Kerry, 25 December 2014:
We support the 4 consensus points of Cuban dissidents. Democratic principles are the bedrock of new #Cuba
initiative. http://www.14ymedio.com/nacional/Cuatro-puntos-consensoactualizadosV2_CYMFIL20141223_0002.pdf https://twitter.com/JohnKerry/status/547912333126021120
It is to be noted that MEP Fernando Maura Barandiarn (ALDE) asked openly whether the four points of the civil
society were considered by the EEAS as necessary conditions for the ratification of the bilateral agreement with
Cuba. The answer is expected soon and would give highlights on the EU official positioning in that regard.
Fernando Maura Barandiarn (ALDE), Question for written answer to the Commission (Vice-President/High
Representative), Subject: VP/HR clauses in negotiations on the bilateral EU-Cuba agreement, 12 November
2014, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=WQ&reference=E-2014009088&format=XML&language=EN
Last November, Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Jos Manuel Garca-Margallo centred its whole discourse before
the Cuban High Institute for International Relations on what the Spanish transition could offer as an experience for
Discurso del ministro en el Instituto Superior de Relaciones Internacionales, en su viaje a Cuba Vivir la Transicin: una visin biogrfica del cambio en Espaa, 25 noviembre 2014,

C154 on Collective Bargaining, C144 on Tripartite Consultation (International Labour Standards),

C102 on Social Security (Minimum Standards), and C182 on Worst Forms of Child Labour. The
ratification and implementation of the Rome Status of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The invitation of UN Special Procedures having requested a visit, notably the UN Special
Rapporteur on freedom of association and assembly (visit requested since 2011), the UNSR on
torture (visit requested since 2010), the UNSR on independence of judges and lawyers (visit
requested since 1995), the UNSR on freedom of religion (visit requested since 2006), the UNSR on
violence against women (visit requested since 2012).

The reform or repeal of the repressive laws (notably Law 88 criminalising the collaboration
with foreign media, the 2001 Law on acts of terrorism, the 1985 Law on associations, etc) and
articles of the Criminal Code, notably articles 72-90 on the pre-delective social dangerousness, art.
91 on acts against the Independence or the Territorial Integrity of the State, art. 144 on
desacato/disrespect, art. 208 and 209 on the crime of illicit association, art. 103 on the crime of
enemy propaganda, art. 207 on crime by association, art. 115 on the crime of dissemination of false
information against international peace, art. 143 on the crime of resistance.

Discussions on the evolution of the Cuban institutional system with a view to engage the
Cuban authorities on Constitutional and legal reforms towards free and fair elections in 2018.
During this process, the EU must concretely discuss with Cuba the modalities of inclusion of
the independent civil society in the talks, in the future agreement, and in the Cuban political
institutions. In that regard, FIDH and CCDHRN call on the EU to:

Support publicly the demands of the Cuban independent civil society, as was done by the US
Secretary of State John Kerry.

Support politically and financially the independent Cuban civil society. This could be done
--- Firstly, through the organisation of informal discussions with the representatives of the
independent civil society in order to obtain a better understanding of the human rights situation on
the ground to be in a position to relay these demands within the talks. These discussions can also be
useful to discuss how to improve the implementation of the guidelines on Human Rights defenders,
notably concerning the aspects around information gathering and sharing, reporting, and public
diplomacy in favour of defenders25, including outside the capital.

Missions should address the situation of human rights defenders in their reporting, noting in particular the
occurrence of any threats or attacks against human rights defenders.
Where it is called for, HoMs should make recommendations to COHOM for possible EU actions, including
condemnation of threats and attacks against human rights defenders as well as for demarches and public statements
where human rights defenders are at immediate or serious risk. HoMs should also report on the effectiveness of EU
actions in their reports.
EU Missions should therefore seek to adopt a proactive policy towards human rights defenders.
co-ordinating closely and sharing information on human rights defenders, including those at risk;
- maintaining, suitable contacts with human rights defenders, including by receiving them in Missions and visiting
their areas of work, consideration could be given to appointing specific liaison officers, where necessary on a
burden sharing basis, for this purpose;
- providing, as and where appropriate, visible recognition to human rights defenders, through the use of appropriate
publicity, visits or invitations;
- attending and observing, where appropriate, trials of human rights defenders.

--- Secondly, by engaging the Cuban authorities on a plan to gradually integrate the voice of the
independent Cuban and European civil societies in the talks with the Cuban authorities.
--- Thirdly, by aiming at and discussing the setting-up of a strong quadripartite mechanism in the
future agreement that would allow discussions on the implementation and follow-up of the
mechanism including human rights aspects by civil societies and authorities on both the Cuban
and European sides.
--- Fourthly, as a future agreement opens the prospects for an increase of aid to the country, the EU
should already work on the modalities of integration of the independent Cuban civil society in all
the phases of the aid cycle, from design to implementation and follow-up.

European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders,



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