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New Cuban leadership can improve human rights

Amnesty International has called on the new Cuban government to allow UN human rights bodies and independent human rights organizations to visit the country. A spokesperson for the organization said that Fidel Castro’s decision not to continue as president of Cuba paves the way for positive human rights reforms on the island. “The new Cuban leadership must take advantage of this change to introduce much needed reforms to guarantee the protection of human rights,” says Amnesty International Special Advisor, Javier Zuñiga. “Reform in Cuba must start with the unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience, the judicial review of all sentences passed after unfair trials, the abolition of the death penalty and the introduction of measures to ensure respect of fundamental freedoms and the independence of the judiciary.” Four Cuban activists were recently released from prison, a move welcomed by Amnesty International on Monday. The organization has called on President Raul Castro to urgently release the 58 remaining incarcerated prisoners of conscience and guarantee the right to freedom of expression on the island. Amnesty International has also urged the international community, and in particular the US, to abolish policies and practices, such as the US embargo, which impinge on the human rights of Cubans.