|Rosa Maria Payá at the United Nations Human Rights Council|
My name is Rosa Maria Payá, of the Christian Liberation Movement and daughter of its national coordinator Oswaldo Payá, opposition leader and Sakharov Prize laureate of the European Parliament.
My father dedicated his life to working for legal and nonviolent change for Cubans to enjoy all their rights.
He promoted the Varela Project, a referendum supported by over 25,000 citizens, who have defied repression to demand changes in the law that guarantee freedom of expression, association, free elections, freedom of nonviolent political prisoners and the possibility of having private companies.
So far the government has refused to realize this plebiscite and imprisoned the majority of its leaders.
Yosvani Melchor Rodríguez is 30 years old and has spent three in prison as punishment because his mother is a member of our movement.
Cuban authorities said my father and Harold Cepero, a youth activist, died in a traffic accident. But after interviewing the survivors, we confirmed that their deaths were not accidental. The driver of the car told the Washington Post, that they were intentionally rammed from behind. The text messages from the survivors on the day of the event
The Cuban government’s state security calls my family home in Havana to say: We're going to kill you. They are the same death threats that were made to my father. The physical integrity of all members of my family is the responsibility of the Cuban government.
Today we present an appeal, signed by 46 political leaders and activists from around the world. We urge the United Nations to launch an independent investigation into the death of my father.
The truth is essential to the process of reconciliation that the transition to democracy in Cuba needs. We do not seek revenge, we have a right to know:
Who are responsible for the death of my father?
When will there be a response to the demands of human rights of the people of Cuba to enjoy democracy and basic freedoms?
Thank you, Mr. President.