January 25, 2000
CONTACT: Lydia Brazon


When: January 26, 2000
Time: 11 A.M.
Where: West Hollywood City Hall, 8300 Santa Monica Blvd.

Steve Martin - City Council Member
Lydia Brazon - Humanitarian Law Project
Lila Garrett - Americans for Democratic Action

U.S. Congress Member Maxine Waters calling from Cuba
Eugenio Martinez of the Cuban Interests Section, Washington, D.C.

"Congressional efforts to grant Elian Gonzalez U.S. citizenship begs the question: Will the same congresspeople be as enthusiastic in granting citizenship to the thousands of children from Haiti, Central America, Mexico, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa etc.?" Š.Susan Alva, Attorney, coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

"It ill-behooves those allegedly committed to family values to keep a child from his only surviving parent, grandmothers and brother, to advance their own political agendas."ŠRalph Fertig, President, Humanitarian Law Project and retired administrative judge.

"As Louis Salome, Editorial Page Editor of the now-defunct Miami News, wrote in 1987, in Miami, Œthe freedom to engage in political debate without fear or intimidation is being held hostage by some right-wing Cubansš. Salome went on, 'Violations, present or past, of individual rights elsewhere in the world or in the United States do not justify the violation of those rights here or anywhere else in the country. The right to free expression and peaceable assembly is not divisible, not limited by geography or by the composition of any city, county, state or region"Š.Dangerous Dialogue, Attacks on Freedom of Expression in Miamišs Cuban Exile community a report by Americas Watch, 8/92.

"The ethnocentric nationalism driving this debate is staggering. Especially, when one considers that as U.S. citizens, we are not permitted by our own government to travel freely to Cuba as permitted to all other countries. As U.S. citizens, we have been denied access to the Cuban developed vaccine for Meningitis B due to the U.S. legislated Helms Burton Act. In Cuba, Elian will never be among the 200 million children sleeping in the streets worldwide, many of those in the United States. In Cuba, Elian will however, like all other Cuban children, receive the best education in Latin America, according to UNICEF. In Cuba, Elian will have access to universal health care as a child and as an adult."

Lydia Brazon, Executive Director, Humanitiarian Law Project

The Humanitarian Law Project is a non-profit organization founded in 1985, is dedicated to protecting human rights and promoting the peaceful resolution of conflict by using established international human rights laws and humanitarian law. Our long-term objectives are to strengthen human rights standards ratified by nations around the globe and to foster communication on compelling international human rights issues among human rights activists, law faculty and students, members of Congress and their staffs, as well as interested citizens.

The Humanitarian Law Project is the only non-governmental organization (NGO) with consultative status at the United Nations with a mandate to seek compliance with armed conflict laws.