Campaign News | Thursday, 20 January 2005

Cuba calls on the United States to stop the torture of prisoners in Guantánamo


On January 19, 2005, reflecting the indignation of our people at the atrocities committed on prisoners held at the US Naval Base in Guantánamo, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented the US governmental authorities in Havana and Washington with a diplomatic note denouncing the flagrant violations of human rights that the said government is daily committing on Cuban territory illegally occupied by the above-mentioned naval base. This communication called for an immediate end to that inhuman and criminal conduct.

The note reminds the US government that the atrocities being committed on the base and the very fact of utilizing that illegally occupied Cuban territory as a prison, is in violation of numerous instruments of international law and international humanitarian law, and moreover, violates the Coal and Naval Stations Agreement signed in February 1903 by the government of the United States and the Cuban government of that period, in conditions of inequality and disadvantage for our country, whose independence was circumscribed via the Platt Agreement.

According to Article II of that agreement, the US government committed itself to doing everything necessary to ensure that those locations should be exclusively used as coal or naval stations and for no other objective.

It is also important to recall that when the Cuban authorities were informed - although not consulted - of the US government decision to transfer a group of prisoners from the war in Afghanistan to this US military enclave in Guantánamo, the government of the Republic of Cuba informed national and internal opinion in a statement dated January 11, 2002, that "although the transfer of foreign prisoners of war on the part of the government of the United States to one of its military installations located on part of our national territory over which we have been deprived of the right to exercise jurisdiction is not in line with the regulations that gave rise to that installation, we shall not create any obstacles to the development of the operation." Moreover, the statement highlighted that our government had "taken note with satisfaction of public statements from the US authorities in the context of the prisoners receiving adequate and humane treatment."

The dramatic reality of the prisoners detained on the Guantánamo Naval Base, reported by the media to total 550 at the present time, likewise reveals the double standards of the US government in its hackneyed and manipulative campaigning on behalf of human rights.

The arbitrary detention of these foreign prisoners without the mediation of a legal trial, as well as the torture and degrading treatment to which they are being subjected, constitute a gross violation of human rights and numerous international treaties and conventions, in particular, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

With this hypocritical conduct, the government of the United States has demonstrated the falsity of its own public statements and once again has lied to the government of the Republic of Cuba, to its own people and to the international community by concealing the horrific acts of torture, cruelty and humiliating and denigratory treatment committed on prisoners detained on the Guantánamo Naval Base, only comparable with the torture inflicted on inmates in the prison of Abu Ghraib and other penitential establishments in occupied Iraqi territory.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs adds its voice to the calls and demands of the international community that the government of the United States instantly end these flagrant violations of prisoners that, moreover, are being committed on illegally occupied Cuban territory.

Cuba has the total moral right afforded by an irreproachable history in this context and the right conferred on it to exercise sovereignty over all parts of Cuban territory to denounce these abuses and violations that the US government is daily committing on the detainees on the Guantánamo Naval Base and to demand the end of these practices that violate international law.

Havana, January 19, 2005

Havana 19 January - The Cuban Foreign Ministry on Wednesday sent diplomatic notes to the office representing US interests in Havana and the US State Department denouncing the US for its use of the Guatanamo Bay naval base as a place for the detention and maltreatment of prisoners.

The notes read that the US act violated international law and the 1903 agreement, whereby the US committed itself to using the territory as a coal port or a ship port only.

Describing the abuse of Guatanamo Bay prisoners as serious as that committed by its military at the Iraqi prison of Abu Graib, the notes criticised the US double dealing when it comes to human rights, affirming that these abusive acts are an effrontery to the Cuban Government, the American people, and the international community.

The notes went on to say that together with the international community, Cuba demands that the US immediately stop its blatant violation of prisoners' rights, especially in Guatanamo Bay, which the US has occupied unlawfully.

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