Cuban Dissident Wins Human Rights Prize
21 Oct 2010 14:26:51 GMT
Source: Human Rights Watch
(New York) - The Council of Europe's award of its Sakharov prize for
human rights to Guillermo FariÃ±as, the Cuban dissident who held a
hunger strike to call for the release of other political prisoners, is a
welcome step, Human Rights Watch said today. Since FariÃ±as ended his
135-day hunger strike, Cuba has released more than 40 political
prisoners, forcing most into exile in Spain.
Human Rights Watch urges Cuba to unconditionally release all political
prisoners and to respect their fundamental rights, including their right
to remain in Cuba if they wish. Cuba should also reform its repressive
laws, such as the "dangerousness" statute that allows the government to
criminalize all forms of dissent.
Raul Castro's government should allow FariÃ±as to travel to Europe to
accept the prize, as well as belatedly permit the Damas de Blanco
(Ladies in White), who were awarded the Sakharov prize in 2005, to
travel to accept their prize, a right that has been denied to them.
"Fariñas's hunger strike made it impossible for the world to ignore the
dissidents imprisoned in Cuba," said Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas
director at Human Rights Watch. "The Sakharov prize highlights Cuba's
responsibility to free every last political prisoner and dismantle the
laws that punish dissent."