FIRST TIME: APPEAL FILED AS OFFICIAL SUBMISSION TO U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL, WILL APPEAR ON AGENDA OF SEPTEMBER SESSION
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.
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate
- Armando Calderon Sol, former President of El Salvador
- Alfredo Cristiani, former President of El Salvador
- Luis Alberto Lacalle, former President of Uruguay
- Alejandro Toledo, former President of Peru
- Luis Alberto Monge, former president of Costa Rica
- Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice-President of European Parliament
- Markus Meckel, former Foreign Minister of Germany
- Irwin Cotler, MP, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
- Zbigniew Romaszewski, former Speaker of Polish Senate, a founder of the Solidarity movement
- Stanislav Shushkevich, former president of Supreme Soviet of Belarus, a current opposition leader inBelarus
- Arnold Vaatz MP, Deputy Leader CDU,Germany
- Emma Henriksson MP, Group leader, The Christian Democrats, The Swedish National Parliament
- Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson, former Foreign Minister of Iceland
- Emanuelis Zingeris MP, Lithuania, President of Parliamentary Forum for Democracy
- Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, Unió Democràtica de Catalunya President, President of the External Affairs Commission of the Spanish Parliament
- Mantas Adomênas MP, Lithuania
- Laura Alonso, MP,Argentina
- Mbarka Bouaida, former MP,Morocco
- Philip Claeys, MEP, Belgium
- Michael Danby, MP,Australia
- Mátyás Eörsi, Secretary-General of Parliamentary Forum for Democracy, former MP,Hungary
- David Kilgour, former MP,Canada
- Adam Lipinski MP, former State Secretary of Poland
- Martin Palouš, former Ambassador,Czech Republic
- Marija Aušrinė Pavilioniene MP,Lithuania
- Marco Perduca, Italian Senator, co-vicepresident of Nonviolent Radical Party
- Hillel Neuer, Executive Director, United Nations Watch
- John Suarez, International Secretary, Cuban Democratic Directorate
- Carl Gershman, President, the National Endowment for Democracy
- Ken Wollack, President, National Democratic Institute
- Lorne Craner, President, International Republican Institute
- David Kramer, President, Freedom House
- Zohra Yusuf, Chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
- Yang Jianli, Chinese dissident and former political prisoner, President of Initiatives for China
- Carlos E. Ponce, General Coordinator, Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy
- Faisal Fulad, Secretary General, Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society
- Art Kaufman, Senior Director, World Movement for Democracy, National Endowment for Democracy
- Alessandro Pettenuzzo, European Union of Public Relations
- Lehlohonolo Chefa, Executive Director, Policy Analysis and Research Institute of Lesotho
- Anki Flores, Former Secretary-General of the Antiracism Information Service, Geneva
- Shauna Leven, Director, René Cassin organization
- Bhawani Shanker Kusum, Executive Director, Gram Bharati Samiti, India
- Duy Hoang, Spokesperson, Viet Tan
- Dickson Ntwiga, Executive Director, Solidarity House International Foundation
- Nazanin Afshin-Jam, President, Stop Child Executions
- Atamao Kane, President, South Pan-African International
- Okay Machisa, Zimbabwe Human Rights Association
- Obinna Egbuka, President, Youth Enhancement Organization International Multiracial Shared Cultural Organization
- Zofia Romaszewska, a founders of the Solidarity movement, Poland
- Fernando Savater, philosopher, writer and activist, Spain
- D. José Luis Orella, President, Foro Arbil, Spain
- Sasha Gosh-Siminoff, Executive Director, Syrian Emergency Task Force
- Jorge Ocejo Moreno, President, Organización Demócrata Cristiana de América, Former Mexican Senator
- Viktorija Bražiūnaitė, Chair, Young Leaders Forum
- Mazen Hasan, Chairman, Syrian Expatriates Organization
- Janelle Saffin MP, Australia
- Egidijus Vareikis MP, Lithuania
- Renate Wohlwend MP, Lichtenstein
- Algis Chaste MP, Lithuania
- Rimantas Jonas Days MP, Lithuania
- Corina Fusu MP, Moldova
- Tadeusz Iwinski MP, Poland
- Vytautas Juozapaitis MP, Lithuania
- Liutauras Kazlavickas MP, Lithuania
- Valeriu Munteanu MP, Moldova
- Victor Popa MP, Moldova
- Paulius Saudargas MP, Lithuania
- Valeriu Saharneanu MP, Moldova
- Werner Schulz MEP, Germany
- Aurelija Stancikiene MP, Lithuania
- Povilas Urbsys MP, Lithuania
- FabianHamiltonMP, United Kingdom
- Patricio Walker, Senator, Chile
- Lincoln Diaz-Balart, former U.S. Congressman
- Matteo Mecacci, former MP, Italy
- András Schiffer MP, Hungary
- Katalin Ertsey MP, Hungary
- Eligijus Masiulis MP, Lithuania
- Gintaras Steponavičius MP, Lithuania
- Albinas Mitrulevičius MP, Lithuania
- Irena Šiaulienė MP, Lithuania
- Domas Petrulis MP, Lithuania
- Algirdas Sysas MP, Lithuania
- Raminta Popovienė MP, Lithuania
- Gediminas Kirkilas MP, Lithuania
- Arūnas Dudėnas MP, Lithuania
- Orinta Leiputė MP, Lithuania
- Audronė Pitrėnienė MP, Lithuania
- Dangutė Mikutienė MP, Lithuania
- Zita Žvikienė MP, Lithuania
- Jolita Vaickienė MP, Lithuania
- Valentinas Mazuronis MP, Lithuania
- Vytautas Antanas Matulevičius MP, Lithuania
- Linas Balsys MP, Lithuania
- Vitalijus Gailius MP, Lithuania
- Rokas Žilinskas MP, Lithuania
- Juras Požėla MP, Lithuania
- János Horváth MP, Hungary
- Rene Bolio, former Senator, Mexico, President of Concertation Mexicana
- Rosa Díez González MP, Spain
- Carlos Martínez Gorriarán MP, Spain
- Álvaro Anchuelo Crego MP, Spain
- Irene Lozano Domingo MP, Spain
- Antonio Cantó García del Moral MP, Spain
- Francisco Sosa Wagner MEP, Spain
- Carlo Casini MEP, Italy
- Annelie Enochson MP, Sweden
- Alf Svensson MEP, Sweden
- Penilla Gunther MP, Sweden
- Bi-khim Hsiao MP, Taiwan
- Yi-Jin Yeh MP, Taiwan
- Kun-Tse Lee MP, Taiwan
- Chun-Yi Lee MP, Taiwan
- Tai-Hua Lin MP, Taiwan
- Chia-Lung Lin MP, Taiwan
- Wen-Ling Huang MP, Taiwan
- Chien-Kuo Liu MP, Taiwan
- Tuan Yi-Kang MP, Taiwan
- Yu Mei-Nu MP, Taiwan
- Ramon Espadaler, Unió Democràtica de Catalunya President of General Assembly, Catalan Minister of Interior
- Josep Maria Pelegrí, Unió Democràtica de Catalunya Secretary General, Catalan Minister of Agriculture
- Joana Ortega,Unió Democràtica de Catalunya Vice President, Vice President of Government of Catalonia
- Salvador Sedó i Alabart, International Relations Secretary, Unió Democràtica de Catalunya, Member of the European Parliament
- Josep Sanchez Llibre MP, Spain