A bipartisan group of U.S. senators has asked in a letter to the newly appointed director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Catherine Russell, to intercede with high priority for the protection of at least 45 children and minors under 17 years of age imprisoned by the Cuban government after participating in protests in July last year.
The missive is signed by Senators Marco Rubio, R-Florida, Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey, Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, and Ben Cardin, D-Maryland.
“We believe that the situation in Cuba warrants the full attention and condemnation of the international community…The Cuban authorities should know that their brazen actions have consequences and are unacceptable for any country that claims to be considered a legitimate member of the international community,” the senators say in the letter.
The federal legislators share with the United Nations official and official responsible for children’s rights, that according to. human rights observatory reports Justice 11J, following the protests of July 11, 2021, “the Cuban regime has detained at least 45 minors between 14 and 17 years of age.”
All accused of alleged ‘crimes’; 14 of those minors remain behind bars awaiting trial, senators say, according to Justice 11J data.
“The Cuban regime is prolific in the use of arbitrary detention as a tool of repression,” the elected officials add, and qualify that reports from human rights organizations record at least 1,028 detentions in 2020.
Human Rights Watch ialso reported that those detained after participating in the massive protests in July, when thousands of Cubans took to the streets across the country demanding freedoms and rights from the government of Miguel Díaz-Canel, have suffered severe persecution.
As reported by the organization, apart from the persecution against the participants, “the detainees have been deliberately deprived of sleep”; they have also “been beaten, sexually assaulted, and held in cells without light for days.”
Last November UNICEF joined the call of international organizations to ask Cuban authorities to provide reliable information on reported cases of children in detention.
However, the Cuban government has only provided extensive reports with generic data on the processes carried out, according to the legislators, and has not responded to the requests for transparency made by the organizations.
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