Human rights body criticises embargo
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a legal tribunal within the Organisation of American States, is urging the US government to end restrictions on the shipment of medicine and basic foods to Cuba.
In a recent letter to the US government, the commission requested "that the United States of America put in place mechanisms to ensure that the necessary steps are taken for exemptions from the trade embargo in respect of medicine, medical supplies and basic food items [which] are capable of effective and speedy implementation".
The OAS action comes in response to a petition charging the US with violations of international law resulting in human suffering in Cuba. The case is being brought by attorneys from the Center for Human Rights Legal Action and the Center for Constitutional Rights.
At a hearing before the commission on February 3, attorneys Wallie Mason and Sara Rios argued that the Cuban Democracy Act, which sets forth the terms of the current US-imposed embargo against Cuba, violates various provisions of international law, including the provision that trade embargoes must provide a "humanitarian exception" for medicines and basic foodstuffs in order not to cause unnecessary suffering amongst civilian populations.