Cuba, US retain ‘profound differences’ over rights issues

Havana, Oct 15 (IANS) Cuba and the US held a second round of talks on human rights, where “profound differences” remain between the two countries, a senior Cuban foreign ministry official said.

Pedro Pedroso, deputy director of multilateral affairs and international law, told the media after the talks on Friday that Cuba was concerned with “the documented violations of human rights in the US, particularly with policy brutality against African Americans and other minorities”, Xinhua news agency reported.

The official, describing the topic as a thorny issue, also addressed the US violations of human rights in various countries and “torture” and “executions” committed in detention centres, including the US Guantanamo Naval Base.

“We question the double standards and selectivity that prevail in the consideration of human rights issues in the international arena. Human rights can’t be used for political purposes,” Pedroso added.

While identifying the remaining differences, the official also affirmed that Cuba wishes “both countries can interact politely and with respect for those differences”.

Meanwhile, Pedroso ruled out the possibility of discussing the island’s internal affairs with its former Cold War foe.

Pedroso also mentioned Cuba’s concerns over other issues in the US, including racism, discrimination against migrants and minorities and child labour.

The talks on human rights between Havana and Washington started in March last year, seen as a sign of the willingness of both governments to exchange views on any subject with respect and reciprocity.

The two countries announced the start of normalising ties in 2014.

–IANS

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