Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU
One year has passed since thousands of Cuban citizens took to the streets across the island to express their legitimate grievances about deteriorating living conditions as well as their demands for human rights, in particular civil and political rights, and for democracy. These spontaneous protests were met with repression, with over 1,400 people having been arrested and 790 indicted in connection with these events.
Since then, the European Union has been following with deep concern the disproportionate prison sentences handed down in Cuba to those involved in the events of 11 and 12 July 2021, some of whom were under the age of 18 at the time of their arrest. These trials raise important concerns in relation to basic principles and international standards of transparency and due process.
During the past 12 months, the European Union has reiterated its call on the Cuban government to respect the human rights and freedoms of the Cuban people, including freedom of association, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, and to release all political prisoners and those detained solely on the grounds of exercising their freedom of peaceful assembly and expression, and will continue to do so. Moreover, the European Union has consistently encouraged the Cuban government to engage in a meaningful and inclusive dialogue with Cuban people about their legitimate grievances. The European Union reiterates its requests to the Cuban authorities to allow the diplomatic community to attend the trials.
The European Union recalls the importance of ongoing exchanges on these issues with the Cuban authorities, and stands ready to support all efforts aimed at protecting, promoting and implementing the human rights and freedoms of all Cubans and at improving their living conditions, in the framework of the EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement.