USA / Cuba: Cuban “rafters” – pawns of two governments

Index Number: AMR 51/086/1994

This report summarizes the findings of an AI delegation which visited the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in September 1994 to investigate the situation with regard to refugee protection of Cuban and Haitian “boat people” now detained there. The delegation concluded that a substantial number of the approximately 32 000 Cubans taken to the camps at Guantanamo, some 7 000 of whom have since been transferred to US bases in Panama, could be at risk of human rights violations if forced to return home. Consequently, AI believes that they must have the opportunity to present asylum claims and to have them examined thoroughly in a fair and satisfactory manner. AI is urging the US authorities immediately to establish procedures by which Cubans, both in Guantanamo and Panama, can present asylum claims. AI also regards it as essential that information about the situation in Cuba, provided by independent sources, should be made available to any Cubans contemplating voluntary repatriation.

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