OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR FOR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION RECOMMENDS TO THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA THE ELIMINATION OF RESTRICTIONS ON INTERNET ACCESS
OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR FOR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION RECOMMENDS TO
THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA THE ELIMINATION OF RESTRICTIONS ON INTERNET ACCESS
June 19, 2006
Washington, D.C., June 19, 2006. The Office of the Special Rapporteur
for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights (IACHR) of the OAS has been informed of the critical state of
health of the director of the Cubanacán Press news agency, Mr. Guillermo
Fariñas, who has been on hunger strike since January 31, 2006, in
protest against the lack of free access to the Internet in Cuba.
As emphasized by the Office of the Special Rapporteur, access to the
Internet can strengthen democratic systems, contribute to economic
development in the countries of the region, and uphold the full exercise
of freedom of expression.
The Office of the Special Rapporteur observes with concern that the
Cuban legal system severely restricts the population’s access to the
Internet. The source of said legal restrictions lies in the Decree No.
206/96, “Access to the World Computer Network from Cuba”, which
establishes a number of limitations to the capacity of receiving and
imparting information through the Internet, which are incompatible with
the right to freedom of expression.
It is important to note that Principle 2 of the Declaration of
Principles on Freedom of Expression of the IACHR establishes that “[a]ll
people should be afforded equal opportunities to receive, seek and
impart information by any means of communication without any
discrimination for reasons of race, color, sex, language, religion,
political or other opinions, national or social origin, economic status,
birth or any other social condition”.
In this same vein, in December of 2005, the UN Special Rapporteur on the
Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and
Expression, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
(OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media and the OAS Special
Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression affirmed in a Joint Declaration
that “the right to freedom of expression imposes an obligation on all
States to devote adequate resources to promote universal access to the
Internet” and that “restrictions on Internet content, whether they apply
to the dissemination or to the receipt of information, should only be
imposed in strict conformity with the guarantee of freedom of expression”.
The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression
recommends to the Republic of Cuba the elimination of restrictions on
Internet access from its legislation.
For more information on the Office of the Special Rapporteur:
Cuba: OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR FOR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION RECOMMENDS TO THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA THE ELIMINATION OF RESTRICTIONS ON INTERNET ACCESS