European Union External Action

EU-Cuba Human Rights Dialogue in Havana

Bruxelles, 08/06/2016 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 160608_03
Press releases

On 6th June, the EU and Cuba held their second high-level discussion on human rights in Havana. This was the first such meeting to take place on the island.

The EU delegation was headed by EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Stavros Lambrinidis and included the EU Ambassador to Cuba, Herman Portocarero, and representatives of the EEAS and the EU Delegation to Cuba. Mr Pedro Nuñez Mosquera, Director General for Multilateral Issues and International Law of the Cuban Ministry for Foreign Affairs led the Cuban side, and was accompanied by colleagues of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Justice, the Interior as well as the National Statistics Office.

Both sides had an extensive discussion on constitutional, legal and administrative aspects of freedom of association, including on engagement with peaceful civil society activists in Cuba and the EU, as well as on possibilities of all civil society to freely participate in public life.

The EU and Cuba also addressed gender equality in the context of the SDGs Agenda 2030, racism and xenophobia, and the treatment of vulnerable groups, including migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. On the latter topic, they discussed root causes of migration flows as relating to Cuba and the EU and addressed the related human rights standards. Finally, the two sides also discussed human rights issues in the multilateral context.  

The talks demonstrated the firm commitment of the EU and Cuba to discuss openly and constructively issues of interest and of concern to each side with a view to enhance mutual understanding and explore possibilities of joint action and cooperation, aiming at achieving concrete progress. They agreed to explore the possibility of further engaging at technical level on some of the topics discussed in Havana before their next meeting. 

Date and venue for the next meeting will be agreed through diplomatic channels.

High Representative / Vice-President Federica Mogherini and the Foreign Minister of Cuba Bruno Rodriguez agreed in April 2015 to start working towards establishing an EU-Cuba Human Rights Dialogue, anticipating on the negotiations of a bilateral Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement. These negotiations were completed in March 2016. The agreement is now undergoing internal scrutiny and decision-making, in preparation of signature. The PDCA includes provisions for setting up a Human Rights dialogue between the parties. Human rights are an essential element of EU-Cuba relations and dialogue will help both parties to advance work in this area.