Increased Reports of Legal Action Against Religious Groups in Cuba

CSW Report Highlights Issues with Religious Freedom in Cuba

A recent report by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a religious freedom watchdog, raises concerns about the state of religious freedom in Cuba.

The report documents 622 violations in 2023, a significant increase from 2021.

These violations affect both registered and unregistered religious groups, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jewish communities, Protestant denominations, and Roman Catholics.

Unregistered groups seem to be particularly targeted, facing harassment, threats, and discrimination from government officials.

CSW co-head of advocacy, Anna Lee Stangl, suggests a tightening government grip on its population as a possible reason for the increased pressure.  

“While overall numbers remained steady,” Stangl told Premier Christian News, “some tactics have intensified.”  

The report details instances of discrimination against adults and children associated with religious groups.

Examples include termination or demotion from jobs due to religious beliefs.  

Children from Protestant Christian and Jehovah’s Witness families have reportedly faced verbal, psychological, and physical abuse in schools for refusing to participate in activities conflicting with their faith. 

The report also raises concerns about the targeting of political prisoners and their families, as well as religious leaders who support them.

Reportedly, religious leaders face pressure to exclude family members of political prisoners from places of worship.

Additionally, these prisoners are allegedly denied access to religious materials and visits from clergy, potentially violating international standards. 

Stangl expresses specific concerns about the lack of religious access for political prisoners.  “They are denied visits from religious leaders and access to religious materials,” she stated. 

The report identifies several religious leaders among the political prisoners, including Protestant pastor Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo and Afro-Cuban religious leaders Loreto Hernández García and Donaida Perez Paseiro.

CSW, in a public statement, condemns the actions of the Cuban government, comparing them to those of regimes in China and Russia.

The organization calls on the international community to address these violations and support Cuban civil society.

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