The European Parliament has urged the Cuban government to allow members of a women's dissident group to leave the island to receive an EU human rights award.

The group, known as the 'Ladies in White', is made up of the wives and mothers of jailed dissidents.

The group is the joint recipient of this year's Sakharov Prize for Freedom on Thought, which is being presented in Strasbourg today.

An EU Parliament spokeswoman said members of the group could not attend the ceremony because the Cuban authorities would not grant them passports to leave the country.

Speaking from Cuba, one of the members of the group, Miriam Leiva, said she had been disgusted but not surprised by the Cuban government's decision.