.- The president of the Christian Liberation Movement in Cuba, Oswaldo Paya, issued a statement last week encouraging the efforts of human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience in the country, but asked that their demands be made without resorting to hunger strikes.
Paya's statement explained that “hunger strikes by defenders of human rights and prisoners of conscience are often a last resort for those suffering abuse and repression by the Cuban government.”
“We are not the judges of those who are on a hunger strike,” he continued, “but rather their … partners in the struggle.”
Paya noted that that the Christian Liberation Movement does not "encourage hunger strikes," and called for an end to them so the prisoners “do not harm their health or lose their valuable lives.”
“We do, however, support them in their just demands, which are also our own.”
Paya then called on “all governments, institutions and citizens of the world to demand that the Cuban government immediately release peaceful political prisoners and respect human rights in the country. Thus they will help to save those who are on hunger strike and will contribute to dialogue and peace."
“We will not in any way encourage anyone to engage in or remain on a hunger strike,” Paya said in conclusion.