"Freedom of Opinion and Press for all Cubans"
ISHR Cuba-Conference on May 5th and 6th 2006 Königstein/Ts.
Whereas in Europe a decreasing number of people make use of their right to vote, others fight bravely for its preconditions - freedom of opinion, freedom of information and freedom of press.
For this reason ISHR invited over 70 participants from European, Latin American and North American human rights organisations, politicians and journalists to its International Cuba Conference, which focused on the topic "Freedom of opinion and press for all Cubans! Chances for a democratic change in Cuba".
Due to the severe aggravation of the civil, political and human rights situation in Cuba, which ISHR documents, this conference was launched. It took place under the auspices of Prof. Hans Gert Pöttering MEP, Chairman of the EPP fraction in the European Parliament.
We were extremely pleased to welcome so many witnesses of the human rights situation in Cuba, which had to experience the Castro regime's repression themselves. Among these were Ramon Colas, founder of the Movement for Independent Libraries, or Blanca Gonzalez, mother of the imprisoned journalist Normando Hernandez Gonzalez as well as Angel de Fana, who was a political prisoner and is the president of "Plantados" today, the association of former political prisoners.
Furthermore journalists from all over the world came, which work on the human rights situation in Cuba or who like Dr. Pedro Roig, Director of Radio Martí, work for the access to not censored information for the Cuban population.
Speakers from international politics were among other Holger Haibach MdB, Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Human Rights of the German Bundestag and Erika Steinbach MdB, Chaiperson of the CDU/CSU-Fraction in the Committee for Human Rights in the German Bundestag. Furthermore we were glad to welcome representatives of the Cuban human rights movement, among them Sylvia Iriondo, President of "Mothers Against Repression", Liduine Zumpolle, Chairperson of "Cuba Futuro", Igor Blascevic, Director of "People in Need", as well as the former "Comandante" and dissident Huber Matos.
Besides various speeches that intensively dealt with the situation of freedom of press, -opinion and -information on the Caribbean island, two discussion forums took place on the first day to the topics -Transformation through Freedom of Opinion and "Press" and -NGOs and Politicians - International Cooperation for a Democratic Change in Cuba. Experts, politicians and diplomats exchanged views on the topics.
On the second day Michael Gahler, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), spoke in front of the participants of the Cuba Conference and the ISHR Annual Meeting about initiatives of the European Parliament for the promotion of human rights in Cuba and in other states.
After dinner all participants were invited to attend the "Concert for Human Rights" and to watch selected movies to human rights topics during the following Film Night.