Home > Laritza Diversent - Translated from the Spanish > International Practice? What Are They Talking About? (II)

International Practice? What Are They Talking About? (II)

Globally, the right of assembly and demonstration is broadly governed by legal instruments of the United Nations. These set out the general principles that allow the exercise of the right. Specific details are the responsibility of each state.

From this point of view, you cannot speak of a uniform international practice with regard to the legal regulation of this prerogative. It would be best to refer to the common elements used by different governments to regulate by law the right of assembly and demonstration, within their territories.

For example, the laws of Spain y Venezuela recognize the right to peacefully assemble, without arms, provided there is no disturbance of public order, and no danger to people and property. There is a requirement to notify the authority some days before the event, indicating the route chosen, the date, time and general intended purpose.

They regulate the circumstances under which the authorities can prevent or disband a demonstration. In most cases that result in that decision, they are illegal (the organizers do not meet the legal requirements), they disturb public order or seek to hinder freedom of movement. And the Spanish prohibit the demonstrators from using paramilitary uniforms. They also recognize the right of citizens to appeal the decision of the authority before a court.

If the government appeals to “international practice” to restrict the rights of the Ladies in White, then why does it allow the rallies of repudiation by the “inflamed masses” against what is described as the same thing, as counter-revolutionary (dissident) demonstrations?

In these cases it doesn’t matter if traffic is disrupted or that there is the potential for violent confrontations between the demonstrators. Not to mention that members of State Security, in plain clothes and uniformed, of the Interior Ministry and the police, participate in them.

They don’t disperse them because it is the government itself that convenes, organizes, and directs these violent reactions, supported by its official media, as legitimate. Notwithstanding that the criminal law punishes causing fights or altercations in places where large numbers of people gather. The fine is tripled if the acts were done with the purpose of affecting the public order in any way.

It’s not a secret to anyone in a workplace, a place of study, or a neighborhood, let alone their social and mass organizations, that they are forming Rapid Response Brigades (BRR) with the mission of confronting dissident protests with crude weapons: sticks, iron rods and cables.

Members of the BRR, act with total impunity, because those responsible for ensuring the peace and public security – the police officers – do absolutely nothing. They call this equality before the law?

The restrictions on freedom of assembly and demonstration, which the Cuban government seeks to impose on the Ladies in White, are strictly political. It is hypocrisy to try to co-opt principles of international human rights to justify discrimination.

Laritza Diversent

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