One year after suspicious death of Cuba's top dissident, 125 leaders urge U.N. to investigate

Signatories include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, European Parliament VP, former presidents & foreign ministers, ambassadors, human rights activists and dissidents
GENEVA, July 22 — Marking the first anniversary of the suspicious deaths of top Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya and activist Harold Cepero, more than 100 public figures from around the world today called on the highest officials of the United Nations to launch an international and independent investigation. (See full text below.)
“Mounting and credible allegations that the Cuban government may have been complicit in the murder of its most prominent critic, a leading figure in the human rights world, cannot go ignored by the international community,” implores the petition.
While leading officials in the U.S. and elsewhere have previously spoken out for an inquiry, this is the first time that the controversy will be officially part of the UN’s agenda.
The manifesto was filed today as an official submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council by the Geneva-based non-governmental group UN Watch, which organized the appeal together with a fellow human rights group, the Cuban Democratic Directorate.
Under UN rules governing submissions by accredited NGOs, the appeal will be circulated to all delegates as an official UN document, and placed on the agenda of the Human Rights Council’s upcoming September session, increasing pressure for an inquiry, and for Cuba to answer for the alleged killings.
High-level signatories of the appeal include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, European Parliament Vice-President Edward McMillan-Scott, Chinese dissident Yang Jianli, numerous former presidents, foreign ministers & ambassadors, MPs and human rights activists.
The statement calls on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, and all 193 UN member states to support the call for an international investigation. Despite previous entreaties, neither Ban nor Pillay have yet endorsed an inquiry.
UN Watch has been among the leading voices at the UN for human rights in Cuba, often bringing dissidents to testify before the Human Rights Council.
In March, UN Watch brought Havana-based activist Rosa Maria Paya, daughter of the slain dissident, to testify before the Council, where she was rudely interrupted by the Cuban delegate.
In May, UN Watch revealed how Cuba used more than 400 front groups to cheat on its quadrennial UN human rights review.
The activist group noted the irony that UNESCO has just honored Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara by listing his works in the World Memory Register.
“Instead of the UN honoring Che Guevara — a man of violence who boasted about his firing squads to the UN General Assembly — the world body should really be honoring Oswaldo Paya, a man of non-violence and disciple of Martin Luther King,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.
As submitted today to UNHRC, to be placed on agenda of September 2013 session.
Appeal to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, High Commissioner
for Human Rights Navi Pillay and Ambassadors of all Member States
for an International Inquiry into the Death of Oswaldo Paya
We urge you to support our demand for an international and independent investigation into the alleged murder of Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá, a world-renowned figure and recipient of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize, who died in a car crash in Bayamo, Cuba, on July 22, 2012, together with fellow activist Harold Cepero.
In dramatic testimony by the driver of the car, Ángel Carromero describes, in a Washington Post interview dated 6 March 2013, how their vehicle was followed, harassed and ultimately rammed from behind by a car bearing government license plates. Mr. Carromero further alleges that, following the crash, he was drugged, mistreated and coerced by Cuban authorities into making a false confession.
The revelations corroborate the claims made by the families of the victims and other witnesses, as well as the report by Spain’s ABC news agency about text messages sent contemporaneous with the incident from the mobile phones of Mr. Carromero and another passenger, Aron Modig, indicating that their car was chased and then hit, causing the crash.
Significantly, according to the family of Oswaldo Payá, state security agents had repeatedly threatened to kill him.
Mounting and credible allegations that the Cuban government may have been complicit in the murder of its most prominent critic, a leading figure in the human rights world, cannot go ignored by the international community.
The families of the victims, and the people of Cuba, have a right to know the truth, and they have a right to justice. This can only happen with the creation of an international and independent inquiry. We therefore respectfully urge you to support our call.

  1. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate
  2. Armando Calderon Sol, former President of El Salvador
  3. Alfredo Cristiani, former President of El Salvador
  4. Luis Alberto Lacalle, former President of Uruguay
  5. Alejandro Toledo, former President of Peru
  6. Luis Alberto Monge, former president of Costa Rica
  7. Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice-President of European Parliament
  8. Markus Meckel, former Foreign Minister of Germany
  9. Irwin Cotler, MP, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
  10. Zbigniew Romaszewski, former Speaker of Polish Senate, a founder of the Solidarity movement
  11. Stanislav Shushkevich, former president of Supreme Soviet of Belarus, a current opposition leader inBelarus
  12. Arnold Vaatz MP, Deputy Leader CDU,Germany
  13. Emma Henriksson MP, Group leader, The Christian Democrats, The Swedish National Parliament
  14. Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson, former Foreign Minister of Iceland
  15. Emanuelis Zingeris MP, Lithuania, President of Parliamentary Forum for Democracy
  16. Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, Unió Democràtica de Catalunya President, President of the External Affairs Commission of the Spanish Parliament
  17. Mantas Adomênas MP, Lithuania
  18. Laura Alonso, MP,Argentina
  19. Mbarka Bouaida, former MP,Morocco
  20. Philip Claeys, MEP, Belgium
  21. Michael Danby, MP,Australia
  22. Mátyás Eörsi, Secretary-General of Parliamentary Forum for Democracy, former MP,Hungary
  23. David Kilgour, former MP,Canada
  24. Adam Lipinski MP, former State Secretary of Poland
  25. Martin Palouš, former Ambassador,Czech Republic
  26. Marija Aušrinė Pavilioniene MP,Lithuania
  27. Marco Perduca, Italian Senator, co-vicepresident of Nonviolent Radical Party
  28. Hillel Neuer, Executive Director, United Nations Watch
  29. John Suarez, International Secretary, Cuban Democratic Directorate
  30. Carl Gershman, President, the National Endowment for Democracy
  31. Ken Wollack, President, National Democratic Institute
  32. Lorne Craner, President, International Republican Institute
  33. David Kramer, President, Freedom House
  34. Zohra Yusuf, Chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
  35. Yang Jianli, Chinese dissident and former political prisoner, President of Initiatives for China
  36. Carlos E. Ponce, General Coordinator, Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy
  37. Faisal Fulad, Secretary General, Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society
  38. Art Kaufman, Senior Director, World Movement for Democracy, National Endowment for Democracy
  39. Alessandro Pettenuzzo, European Union of Public Relations
  40. Lehlohonolo Chefa, Executive Director, Policy Analysis and Research Institute of Lesotho
  41. Anki Flores, Former Secretary-General of the Antiracism Information Service, Geneva
  42. Shauna Leven, Director, René Cassin organization
  43. Bhawani Shanker Kusum, Executive Director, Gram Bharati Samiti, India
  44. Duy Hoang, Spokesperson, Viet Tan
  45. Dickson Ntwiga, Executive Director, Solidarity House International Foundation
  46. Nazanin Afshin-Jam, President, Stop Child Executions
  47. Atamao Kane, President, South Pan-African International
  48. Okay Machisa, Zimbabwe Human Rights Association
  49. Obinna Egbuka, President, Youth Enhancement Organization International Multiracial Shared Cultural Organization
  50. Zofia Romaszewska, a founders of the Solidarity movement, Poland
  51. Fernando Savater, philosopher, writer and activist, Spain
  52. D. José Luis Orella, President, Foro Arbil, Spain
  53. Sasha Gosh-Siminoff, Executive Director, Syrian Emergency Task Force
  54. Jorge Ocejo Moreno, President, Organización Demócrata Cristiana de América, Former Mexican Senator
  55. Viktorija Bražiūnaitė, Chair, Young Leaders Forum
  56. Mazen Hasan, Chairman, Syrian Expatriates Organization
  57. Janelle Saffin MP, Australia
  58. Egidijus Vareikis MP, Lithuania
  59. Renate Wohlwend MP, Lichtenstein
  60. Algis Chaste MP, Lithuania
  61. Rimantas Jonas Days MP, Lithuania
  62. Corina Fusu MP, Moldova
  63. Tadeusz Iwinski MP, Poland
  64. Vytautas Juozapaitis MP, Lithuania
  65. Liutauras Kazlavickas MP, Lithuania
  66. Valeriu Munteanu MP, Moldova
  67. Victor Popa MP, Moldova
  68. Paulius Saudargas MP, Lithuania
  69. Valeriu Saharneanu MP, Moldova
  70. Werner Schulz MEP, Germany
  71. Aurelija Stancikiene MP, Lithuania
  72. Povilas Urbsys MP, Lithuania
  73. FabianHamiltonMP, United Kingdom
  74. Patricio Walker, Senator, Chile
  75. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, former U.S. Congressman
  76. Matteo Mecacci, former MP, Italy
  77. András Schiffer MP, Hungary
  78. Katalin Ertsey MP, Hungary
  79. Eligijus Masiulis MP, Lithuania
  80. Gintaras Steponavičius MP, Lithuania
  81. Albinas Mitrulevičius MP, Lithuania
  82. Irena Šiaulienė MP, Lithuania
  83. Domas Petrulis MP, Lithuania
  84. Algirdas Sysas MP, Lithuania
  85. Raminta Popovienė MP, Lithuania
  86. Gediminas Kirkilas MP, Lithuania
  87. Arūnas Dudėnas MP, Lithuania
  88. Orinta Leiputė MP, Lithuania
  89. Audronė Pitrėnienė MP, Lithuania
  90. Dangutė Mikutienė MP, Lithuania
  91. Zita Žvikienė MP, Lithuania
  92. Jolita Vaickienė MP, Lithuania
  93. Valentinas Mazuronis MP, Lithuania
  94. Vytautas Antanas Matulevičius MP, Lithuania
  95. Linas Balsys MP, Lithuania
  96. Vitalijus Gailius MP, Lithuania
  97. Rokas Žilinskas MP, Lithuania
  98. Juras Požėla MP, Lithuania
  99. János Horváth MP, Hungary
  100. Rene Bolio, former Senator, Mexico, President of Concertation Mexicana
  101. Rosa Díez González MP, Spain
  102. Carlos Martínez Gorriarán MP, Spain
  103. Álvaro Anchuelo Crego MP, Spain
  104. Irene Lozano Domingo MP, Spain
  105. Antonio Cantó García del Moral MP, Spain
  106. Francisco Sosa Wagner MEP, Spain
  107. Carlo Casini MEP, Italy
  108. Annelie Enochson MP, Sweden
  109. Alf Svensson MEP, Sweden
  110. Penilla Gunther MP, Sweden
  111. Bi-khim Hsiao MP, Taiwan
  112. Yi-Jin Yeh MP, Taiwan
  113. Kun-Tse Lee MP, Taiwan
  114. Chun-Yi Lee MP, Taiwan
  115. Tai-Hua Lin MP, Taiwan
  116. Chia-Lung Lin MP, Taiwan
  117. Wen-Ling Huang MP, Taiwan
  118. Chien-Kuo Liu MP, Taiwan
  119. Tuan Yi-Kang MP, Taiwan
  120. Yu Mei-Nu MP, Taiwan
  121. Ramon Espadaler, Unió Democràtica de Catalunya President of General Assembly, Catalan Minister of Interior
  122. Josep Maria Pelegrí, Unió Democràtica de Catalunya Secretary General, Catalan Minister of Agriculture
  123. Joana Ortega,Unió Democràtica de Catalunya Vice President, Vice President of Government of Catalonia
  124. Salvador Sedó i Alabart, International Relations Secretary, Unió Democràtica de Catalunya, Member of the European Parliament
  125. Josep Sanchez Llibre MP, Spain
UN Watch

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