In preparation of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Cuba in 2023, Freemuse, PEN International, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) and Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) – PEN America have submitted a mid-term report. 


This report evaluates the implementation of recommendations made during the 2018 UPR process and assesses the Cuban authorities’ compliance with international human rights obligations with respect to fundamental freedoms and cultural rights, particularly concerning


  • Attacks on freedom of artistic expression;
  • Restrictions on accessing internet and online services; and
  • Limitations on the right to peaceful assembly.


During the third cycle UPR in 2018, Cuba accepted 226 recommendations, noted 83 and rejected 30 out of a total 339 recommendations received. This included some aimed at guaranteeing the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of religion or belief. Our report concludes that Cuba has not adequately implemented the recommendations with respect to freedom of expression, particularly artistic freedom, and a crackdown on fundamental freedoms has intensified since the third cycle UPR in 2018 were independent artists, journalists and human rights defenders have been subject to systematic censorship initiated by Cuban authorities.


The report also spotlights key cases of artists who experienced violations relating to their artistic and political expressions, and details an increased number of arbitrary detentions and artists subject to police brutality and deprivation from external contact whilst detained. Particularly impacted by these violations are Movimiento San Isidro (MSI) members and those within the artistic collective 27N in response to their actions raising concerns about the escalation of repression in Cuba and deterioration of free artistic and creative expressions.


The report concludes with recommendations to the Government of Cuba and calls on the authorities to adhere to the commitments accepted during the 2018 UPR cycle and protect freedom of expression.


Read our recommendations and full report here.