From Human Rights Watch:
"Despite Fidel Castro’s resignation today, Cuba’s abusive legal and institutional mechanisms continue to deprive Cubans of their basic rights, Human Rights Watch said today. The counterproductive US embargo policy continues to give the Cuban government a pretext for human rights violations."
"However, the Cuban government still needs to take concrete steps to decriminalize political dissent, Human Rights Watch said. Specifically, it should unconditionally release all political dissidents. It should also repeal the provisions of the penal code that provide the basis for gross violations of human rights."
"For more than four decades, the US government has used Cuba’s dismal rights record to justify a sweeping economic embargo aimed at toppling the Castro regime. Yet the policy did nothing to bring change to Cuba. On the contrary, it helped consolidate Castro’s hold on power by providing his government with an excuse for its problems and a justification for its abuses. Moreover, because the policy was imposed in such a heavy-handed fashion, it enabled Castro to garner sympathy abroad, neutralizing international pressure rather than increasing it."
From Amnesty International:
"A spokesperson for the organization said that Fidel Castro’s decision not to continue as president of Cuba paves the way for positive human rights reforms on the island."
"[According to Amnesty International Special Advisor, Javier Zuñiga,] 'Reform in Cuba must start with the unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience, the judicial review of all sentences passed after unfair trials, the abolition of the death penalty and the introduction of measures to ensure respect of fundamental freedoms and the independence of the judiciary.'"
"Amnesty International has also urged the international community, and in particular the US, to abolish policies and practices, such as the US embargo, which impinge on the human rights of Cubans."