NGOs Urge UN Action as Cuba Arrests Top Dissident Ahead of Geneva Testimony

Above: Cuban Democracy Activist Jorge Luis García Pérez “Antúnez” (left) recently met with Senators Menendez, Nelson and Rubio on Sept. 17, 2013
Known as Cuba’s Nelson Mandela, Antunez was scheduled to address the Feb. 25th Geneva Summit for Human Rights, organized by global coalition of dissidents and NGOs
GENEVA, Feb. 5, 2014 – A coalition of 20 human rights groups organizing the upcoming Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy expressed grave concern at the Cuban government’s arrest today of Antunez, one of the conference’s invited speakers, apparently to prevent or deter his testimony at the civil society forum to be held on Feb. 25th next to the UN Human Rights Council. For details from Directorio, a Geneva Summit partner, click here.

Antunez addressing the Miami Herald editorial board

Regarded as Cuba’s Nelson Mandela, Jorge Luis García Pérez, known as “Antúnez”, was released in 2007 after 17 years in prison. His release had been requested by the EU and the Pope.
Today, however, police brutally arrested both Antunez and his wife, Yris Pérez Aguilera.
“We call on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay to strongly condemn Cuba’s repression of a human rights activist who is planning to participate in a UN-related event,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based rights group UN Watch, one of the organizers of the Feb. 25th Geneva Summit.

“As a recently-elected member of the UN Human Rights Council, Cuba has a special obligation to uphold the highest human rights standards, and we call on the UN to hold Havana to account. Antunez must be released immediately and be permitted to address the Geneva Summit, and his wife must also be set free without delay.”

Antunez sharply criticized the Havana regime in a recent U.S. press conference reported in the Miami Herald.

The scheduled appearance of Antunez at the Geneva Summit, together with other former political prisoners from around the world, will coincide with the controversial arrival in Geneva of delegations from China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia, as the widely-criticized regimes take their seats as newly elected members of the 47-nation UNHRC.
UN Watch