Laws That Violate Rights

Decree 217, regulating internal immigration for the city of Havana and its infractions, in force for 11 years, violates a human right recognized in the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But the government argues that in our legal system, the existing regulatory rules complement and establish guarantees for the exercise of all human rights.

The provision in question prevents people from other parts of the country from freely establishing domicile, residing, or living permanently in Havana. But the Constitution of the Republic, in Article 43, provides that:

“The state consecrates the right achieved by the Revolution that all citizens, without distinction of race, color, sex, creed, national origin and any other offense to human dignity . . . may live in any sector, zone or area of the cities, and stay in any hotel; . . .”

The precept relates to Article 13.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the territory of a State. Cuba has been a party to this international legal instrument since 1948, and has undertaken to comply with it.

Decree 217, based its enactment and approval on a universally accepted principle. In its second “Wherefore” it claims that:

“In the exercise of their rights and the enjoyment of their freedoms, everyone shall be subject to the limitations established by law, to ensure recognition and respect for the freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare.”

Although not quoted verbatim, this principle corresponds, except for the omission of some important words, to Article 29.2 of the Universal Declaration which states:

“In the exercise of their rights and the enjoyment of their freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and general welfare in a democratic society.”

Under this basis, the Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers saw the need to establish rules and to assist in ensuring not only the right people for the purpose of to live, reside or live permanently and move from another territories to Havana, but also to those who already have legally established residence there.

Clearly this body to promulgate the Decree 217 of April 22, 1997, limits a human right under the foundation that ensures another. Notwithstanding that Article 30 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights specifies that:

“Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying that it confers the right to any State, group, or person to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the suppression of any of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration.”

In the Cuban legal system there are laws that violate internationally recognized human rights. None of them is mentioned in the report that the government has presented to the Human Rights Council.

Laritza Diversent

Translated by: Tomás A.

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