Protection and recourse for women who are victims of domestic violence [CUB102200.FE]

According to a document published on the Web site of ISIS Internacional, an international non-governmental organization that disseminates information on the situation of women around the world (ISIS n.d.a), Cuba has no law that penalizes domestic violence (ibid. n.d.b; UN 8 Feb. 2000, Art. 24). The same document indicates that, under the penal code, domestic violence is [translation] "punished as assault" (ISIS n.d.b; UN 8 Feb. 2000, Art. 24). However, according to Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2005, Cuban law "prohibits threats and inflicting injuries, including those associated with domestic violence" (US 8 Mar. 2006, Sec. 5).

During the 739th and 740th meetings of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, a Cuban delegate indicated out that Cuban authorities have taken some measures to combat domestic violence (UN 8 Aug. 2006). According to the delegate, the Cuban government has, among other things, created working groups within governmental institutions and departments and has started to address domestic violence by working with the media, the Ministry of Public Health, the National Statistical Office and the legal and legislative systems (ibid.). The Cuban authorities have also developed a plan to fight the stereotypes and practices that lead to discrimination and violence against women (ibid.). In addition, the Cuban government is trying to educate women on how to file complaints (ibid.).

The Cuban delegate to the 739th and 740th meetings of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women added that the Cuban government is also working to raise police awareness of domestic violence (UN 8 Aug. 2006; see also ibid. 27 Feb. 2003, Art. 1356). According to a report published by the United Nations (UN), basic training for Cuban police, which includes psychological and legal components, takes three years and gives the police the tools they need to work with women victims of violence (27 Feb. 2003, Art.1356). However, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2005 states that often the police do not act on cases of domestic violence (US 8 Mar. 2006, Sec. 5).

That same report indicates that violence against women is a problem in Cuba but that there is no statistical data on the topic (ibid. 8 Mar. 2006, Sec. 5; see also IPS 25 Nov. 2006).

A report published by the UN indicates that the Federation of Cuban Women (Federación de Mujeres Cubanas, FMC), a government-run women's organization with a membership made up of the majority of Cuban women aged 14 and older (IPS 25 Nov. 2006), has coordinated a domestic violence prevention group since 1997 (UN 27 Feb. 2003, Art. 1355; IPS 25 Nov. 2006). The FMC conducts research and disseminates information in order to prevent domestic violence (UN 27 Feb. 2003, Art. 1355). An article published by the Inter Press Service (IPS) added that the FMC does important work by offering support to victims of domestic violence (25 Nov. 2006). The article also indicates that the National Centre for Sex Eduction (Centro Nacional de Educación Sexual, CENESEX), another government-run organization has, in coordination with other organizations and networks, organized a major campaign to help stop violence against women (IPS 25 Nov. 2006).

Additional information on the measures implemented by the Cuban government to combat domestic violence could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Inter Press Service (IPS). 25 November 2006. Dalia Acosta. "Mujeres-Cuba: Destapando la violencia." [Accessed 15 Dec. 2006]

ISIS Internacional. N.d.a. "Quienes somos." [Accessed 14 Dec. 2006]

_____. N.d.b. Luz Rioseco. "Leyes sobre violencia doméstica en América Latina y el Caribe español." [Accessed 12 Dec. 2006]

United Nations (UN). 8 August 2006. Comité pour l'élimination de la discrimination à l'égard des femmes. Cuba Striving Hard to Eliminate Persistent Stereotypes, Women's Inequality, Deputy Foreign Minister Says, as Women's Committee Considers Latest Country Report. Sustained Economic Growth, Trade Not Enough to Reverse Grave Impact of Collapse of Former Soviet Union, Eastern European Bloc; United States Blockade. (WOM/1570). [Accessed 14 Dec. 2006]

_____. 27 February 2003. Commission on Human Rights. Integration of the Human Rights of Women and the Gender Perspective. Violence Against Women. Report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Submitted in Accordance with Commission on Human Rights Resolution 2002/52. Addendum 1. International, Regional and National Developments in the Area of Violence Against Women 1994-2003. (E/CN.4/2003/75/Add1). [Accessed 14 Dec. 2006]

_____. 8 February 2000. Commission on Human Rights. Integración de los Derechos Humanos de la Mujer y la Perspectiva de Género. La Violencia Contra la Mujer. Informe de la Sra. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Relatora Especial sobre la violencia contra la mujer, con inclusión de sus causas y consecuencias, presentado de conformidad con la resolución 1997/44 de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos, Adición, Informe sobre la misión a Cuba. (E/CN/.4/2000/68/Add.2).$FILE/G0010675.pdf [Accessed 14 Dec. 2006]

United States (U.S.). 8 March 2006. Department of State. "Cuba." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2005. [Accessed 13 Dec. 2006]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International (AI), Associated Press (AP), Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), Félix Varela Centre, Human Rights Watch (HRW), National Centre for Sex Centre (CENESEX), Organization of American States (OAS), World Organization Against Torture (OMCT).

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