Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Grants Precautionary Measures to Journalist Héctor Luis Valdés Cocho in Cuba
Luuk Lars Breebaart
International Justice Researcher,
Global Human Rights Defense.
The LGBTQ+ community is no stranger to harassment, threats, and a variety of human rights violations. A particularly concerning instance of this was brought to the attention of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (‘IACHR’) regarding an independent and openly gay journalist in Cuba, Héctor Luis Valdés Cocho. On 1 December 2021, the IACHR found that Mr. Valdés Cocho and his partner faced serious risk of irreparable damage and granted precautionary measures in support of the couple.  With these measures, the IACHR calls upon the State of Cuba to implement the necessary instruments to protect the right to life and personal integrity of the beneficiaries, in accordance with international human rights standards. Cuba must also ensure that Mr. Valdés Cocho and his partner remain able to carry out their human rights and journalistic activities.
The Commission further observed that LGBTQ+ people in Cuba working on issues surrounding gender identity and sexual orientation are likely to suffer discrimination, censorship, human rights restrictions, and even violence.  However, whether the abovementioned measures will be implemented rests on the State of Cuba. The fact that Cuba, who has refused to join, is not a member of the IACHR, may complicate matters. The IACHR does not enjoy any specific enforcement powers, largely concerning itself with promoting human rights and the receiving, analyzing, and investigating of human rights violations. 
Sources and further reading:
 OAS, ‘IACHR Grants Precautionary Measures in Favor of Journalist Luis Valdés Cocho and His Human Rights Defender Partner in Cuba’ (IACHR, 3 December 2021) <https://www.oas.org/en/IACHR/jsForm/?File=/en/iachr/media_center/PReleases/2021/325.asp> accessed 8 December 2021
 OAS, ‘Mandate and Functions’ (IACHR) <https://www.oas.org/en/IACHR/jsForm/?File=/en/iachr/mandate/functions.asp> accessed 8 December 2021
 OAS, ‘The Situation of Human Rights in Cuba’ (IACHR, 3 February 2020) <http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/reports/pdfs/Cuba2020-en.pdf> accessed 8 December 2021