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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 17, 2003
Statement by the Deputy Press Secretary
United Nations Sanctions Cuba for Human Rights Violations
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights has once again voted to express its concern about the appalling human rights violations by the Cuban Government against its own people. The Commission also defeated a Cuban attempt to criticize the U.S. efforts to support human rights in Cuba. President Bush welcomes the leadership of the Latin America democracies in highlighting these abuses by the only dictatorship of the region. The Commission has sent the right signal to courageous Cubans who struggle daily to gain their basic political and civil freedoms. We remain gravely concerned about the fate of scores of Cuban citizens who have been unfairly arrested, tried and sentenced for the crimes of speaking their minds, holding discussions, and seeking an alternative to 44 years of repression and fear.
We will work with friends and allies to find new ways to effect a peaceful democratic transition in Cuba. We join the United States Congress, the European Union, the United Nations, Amnesty International, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Human Rights Watch, and others around the world in condemning the Castro regime for its callous disregard for due process and basic human rights. We also call upon the member states of the United Nations to deny Cuba a seat on the Human Rights Commission next year. No country should be allowed to sit on the Human Rights Commission if it purposely and consistently undermines the spirit and purpose of the Commission.
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