Amnesty International urges US to lift economic embargo against Cuba

United Nations General Assembly

The London-based human rights watchdog, Amnesty International, has urged the United States to “listen to” the United Nations and lift the long-standing trade and economic embargo against Cuba.

In a near unanimous vote, the 193-member United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday adopted a resolution renewing its call for an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba.

At the same time, the General Assembly acknowledged the restoration, after nearly 50 years, of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

By a vote of 191 in favor to two against (Israel and the United States), the Assembly welcomed the resumption of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba, announced last July, and the willingness of US President Barack Obama to work towards the lifting of the economic, financial and trade embargo against Cuba.

“A UN vote to lift the US embargo on Cuba sends, once again, a strong message to US President Barack Obama and Congress about the dire human rights impact of the economic embargo on ordinary Cubans,” Amnesty International said.

“Claiming to be open to fostering a new kind of relation with the Cuban authorities on the one hand and maintaining an economic embargo that prevents ordinary Cubans from accessing medicines and other basic commodities on the other is a complete incongruity on the part of the USA and greatly contributes to further undermine human rights in Cuba,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

“The US Congress must listen to the loud message sent by the international community through the UN today and lift an embargo that has no place in today’s world,” she added.

Tuesday’s vote was the first regarding the US embargo against Cuba since the two countries restored diplomatic relations in December 2014.

Having taken up the text for the past 24 years, the UN General Assembly reiterated its call to all States to refrain from promulgating and applying laws and measures not conforming with their obligations the UN Charter and international law, which reaffirm freedom of trade and navigation.

The Assembly “once again urges States that have and continue to apply such laws and measures to take the necessary steps to repeal or invalidate them as soon as possible.”

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