For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 6 Oct 2013.
Following meetings in Washington, D.C., sponsored by Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Protestant Church leaders from Cuba have submitted a joint declaration to the Cuban Government amid serious concerns that freedom of religion and belief is not respected in Cuba.
Their most pressing concerns include their government’s continued refusal to extend official recognition to newer religious groups, the approval or denial of legal rights to registered groups based on perceived political support, and the sweeping authority over religious organisations and activities by the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party.
For example, from January 2014, churches and religious groups will no longer be able to hold individual bank accounts and existing accounts must be consolidated into one per denomination or organisation. Such draconian requirements are unnecessary, and some would see them as direct state interference in the legitimate affairs of religious organisations, a bid to further restrict already fragile religious freedom in Cuba.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.