Human rights in Cuba: respect for freedom of religion and worship

New York, 2 October 2020. The Republic of Cuba is a secular State which recognizes, respects and guarantees freedom of religion. Religious institutions and fraternal associations are separated from the State; and all of them have the same rights and duties.

In Cuba, different beliefs and religions are given equal consideration. There are 1850 religious organizations and institutions and fraternal associations, whose members amount to 1,500,000 Cubans.

The way in which freedoms of religion and association are recognized, protected and enjoyed is enshrined in law: Every person has the right to profess or not religious beliefs, to change them and to practice the religion of their choice, with due respect for other religions and in accordance with the law. This is in line with the obligations of the Cuban State stemming from the international instruments to which it is a party and international standards on this matter. 

In Cuba, discrimination on religious grounds is proscribed by law. All religious institutions and organizations and fraternal associations perform, with total independence and autonomy, their social activities, training of their members, appointment of leaders and their movements inside the country and abroad.

These institutions carry out social activities and interact with believers and nonbelievers: they manage nursing homes and adult day care facilities, with the support of the State; implement projects for the benefit of persons with disabilities; produce and distribute food; provide spiritual guidance to prison population and support those affected by disasters, among other actions of significant social impact.

In the last 25 years, Cuba has officially received three Popes: Pope John Paul II in 1998, Pope Benedict XVI in 2012 and Pope Francis in 2015.  In 2016, Havana hosted the first meeting in history between the Primates of the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church: Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, as a sign that Cuba encourages religious freedom.

Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations

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