Human Rights without Discrimination

Cuban Parliament President Ricardo Alarcon de Quesada said Wednesday that human rights must be respected without discrimination, selectivity or manipulation. He spoke Wednesday at the closing of an international workshop entitled "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 60 Years After" held at the Havana Convention Center.

Alarcon said there is still a long road to travel for the principles of that declaration to be respected, demanding tenacity and effort from the peoples of the world. He said the effort should be maintained and be an incentive to continue the struggle.

Participants at the meeting —sponsored by the Cuban and Venezuelan chapters of the In Defence of Humanity Network, the Cuban National Commission of UNESCO, prestigious intellectuals, parliamentarians, religious leaders and social activists— demanded that the United States close its prison at the illegal Guantanamo Naval Base and return that territory to Cuba as well as release the Cuban Five.

Alarcon pointed out that the Cuban Five case is irrefutable proof of the double standard in Washington’s policies because the same harsh treatment of the Cuban Five has invaded sovereign nations in its supposed war on terrorism, violated the rights of US citizens and given protection to terrorist groups dedicated to violent acts against the people of both Cuba and the United States.

US pacifist Cindy Sheehan, mother of a soldier who died in Iraq, Brazilian theologian Frei Betto, Spanish singer Luis Eduardo Aute and Puerto Rican nationalist leader Rafael Cancel Miranda also participated in Wednesday’s discussions.

Messages were read at the closing session from Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Nobel Prize for Literature Jose Saramago and Alfredo Guevara, president of the New Latin American Cinema Festival.

US author Saul Landau read a declaration from the US delegation to the event, signed by others including Cynthia McKinney, former Green Party presidential candidate. The statement criticizes the use of the human rights issue as a foreign policy tool by wealthy countries against the poorest and weakest nations.

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