Comisión Cubana de Derechos Humanos y Reconciliación Nacional
(The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation)

Cuban authorities do not diffuse any official information on Cuban prisons; neither the number of detainees, nor the number of and location of prisons are released. It is estimated that the population of incarcerated people in Cuba exceeds 80 000 people for only 11 million inhabitants. The number detained for political or socio-political reasons (for example, the fact of having wanted to leave Cuba without authorization) are more than 200. In March/April 2003, a wave of repression hit Cuban resistance: 75 human rights defenders, journalists or political opponents were arrested and, at the end of the expedited trials, condemned to sentences ranging from 6 to 28 years in prison. This period is known as ‘Black Spring’ in Cuba. Since then, more than twenty of these condemned people have benefited from conditional acquittals but the great majority of them remain in prison. Conditions in these prisons are simply inhumane.

The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) was founded in 1987, unable until present to obtain legal recognition from the Cuban authorities. It has nevertheless been awarded the Human Rights Watch prize in 1991 and the French Republic Human Rights Prize in 1996. CCDHRN acts essentially in three areas: denunciation of human rights violations (notably the conditions of detention of political prisoners, the death penalty and the arrest of political opponents), the provision of social, legal and medical assistance to the most destitute detainees, and the sensitisation of the Cuban public to human rights issues in their country. CCDHRN diffuses quarterly reports on the number of political detainees and their conditions of detention. The commission works in difficult conditions, and under the constant surveillance of the Cuban secret service. Slander campaigns are regularly launched against the members of the group by the press or the authorities.

Agir Ensemble pour les Droits de l’Homme has supported the commission since 2000.