Permanent Mission of Cuba in Geneva
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Statement by H.E. Mr. Pedro Núñez Mosquera, at the High Level Segment of the 31st regular session of the Human Rights Council. Geneva, Switzerland.

Statement by H.E. Mr. Pedro Núñez Mosquera, Director General of Multilateral Affairs and International Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, at the High Level Segment of the 31st regular session of the Human Rights Council. Geneva, Switzerland, March 2, 2016.

Mr. President:

This year we reached the tenth anniversary of the Human Rights Council. In 2006 many thought a new stage of cooperation had been born, contributing to the creation of a more genuine system of protection and promotion of these rights for everyone on the planet, based on cooperation and dialogue.

The creation of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was a major achievement in this regard, as a tool to promote international cooperation on an equal footing to all States.

However, after ten years of work of the Council and even with the successes of the UPR, this body continues to face major challenges. It has not been able to banish the political manipulation and double standards that threw down its predecessor. Nor it has managed to change the fact that the realization and enjoyment of human rights remains to be an illusion for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. For them, there is no right to development, although 30 years ago a Declaration on the matter was approved.

While the world leaders have highlighted the need to address inequality and last September they set a target of reducing it, the reality is that the huge gap between the richest and the rest of the population continues to increase. How can we not be alarmed when the richest 1% of the world population has more wealth than the remaining 99%, and when only 62 people have the same wealth as the 3.6 billion who integrate the poorest half of humanity? 

The international situation is impacted also by changes in the doctrine of security and defense of NATO, put into practice in recent conflicts, from the Middle East to Europe, causing the destruction of States and nations and the emergence of forms of international terrorism never seen before, which pose additional threats to peace and regional and international security.

It is also a concern the failure of many international instruments on the subject by powerful countries. They are the same which step up the abuse and violation of human rights of hundreds of thousands of refugees, forced to flee their countries of origin as a result of conflicts stirred up by others and the worsening of the poverty conditions resulting of the unjust international economic order.

They present their views on democracy and governance as the only ones valid; and they try to attach it a supposedly universal scope, when in fact it is peculiar to the practice of only part of the humanity.

They conceive the market, the multiparty system and the formulas of electoral alternation as the most accurate way and the paradigm of governance, ignoring the fact that this should focus on the conduct of public affairs efficiently, the people's participation in decision-making and the proper exercise of integrity and social justice.

And develop targeted lists of countries which are not like-minded to them, as done today by the representative of the United States to criticize those countries for alleged human rights violations, ignoring the racial discrimination, police violence, mistreatment of immigrants or torture to detainees, as in the detention center they have in the illegally occupied territory in Guantánamo, as well as in its own country.

The tendency to deal with punitive approaches the human rights issues is strengthened and becomes increasingly dangerous. This is confirmed when trying to impose the calls to use the Human Rights Council with political and military purposes, when seeking to expand the prerogatives of the Security Council to issues beyond its competence, and trying to make the International Criminal Court a mechanism for resolving human rights issues.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights can also contribute to the balance and the genuine debate. His contribution would be crucial to give the necessary importance to the economic, social and cultural rights and the right to development; to support approaches of balance and universality in the promotion of human rights agreed at the Vienna Conference in 1993; and to achieve a universal membership in his Office, allowing the representation of the vast diversity of the world in terms of legal, political systems and schools of thought.

In contrast to the bleak international scene, efforts to create a peaceful environment have been consolidated in some regions. An essential example has been the historic decision of the leaders of Latin America and the Caribbean at the Second Summit of the CELAC, held in Havana in 2014, to proclaim the region a Zone of Peace. In that context, we hope to welcome soon a peace agreement to end the conflict in Colombia.

We reiterate our support for the cause of the Palestinian people. We reaffirm our support for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, whose government and people deserve the widest international solidarity in their struggle against the destabilizing actions encouraged and supported from the outside. We reject unilateral sanctions against Russia and reaffirm the right of the Syrian people to find a dignified solution to their problems without external interference, and preserving its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Mr. President:

Cuba continues to write a history that will continue to have as the main protagonist its self-sacrificing people. In this process, the defense of all human rights has been not only an established and reiterated public commitment, but a reality with tangible results. With modesty and pride, we highlight the recent recognition of the World Health Organization to Cuba as the first country in the world to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV and syphilis.

In correspondence with the inclusive and participatory historical tradition of the Revolution, we continue creating and promoting the strengthening of structures that enable citizens to be protagonists and actors of the political activity, primarily in the context of the improvement of our model of economic and social development.

Cuba strengthens its commitment to a genuine international cooperation, based on the indivisibility of human rights, non-selectivity and non-politicization. We are party of and fulfill our obligations under 44 international human rights instruments, including the 8 core conventions of the International Labor Organization.

We have established a dialogue with the bodies established under international human rights treaties and maintain the will to invite special procedures mandate holders to visit us. We are coordinating with the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons to realize her visit to Cuba.

Mr. President:

The United States government has recognized not only the failure of the economic, commercial and financial blockade as a policy but its negative impact in the exercise of human rights of the Cuban people.

We hope that the recent demonstrations of the highest authorities of the country of their interest in contributing to improving the lives of Cubans focus on further actions in order to effectively put an end to this harmful policy for Cubans and Americans and lead to its final elimination.

In this context it is particularly important to proceed, without delay, to put an end to the US economic, commercial and financial blockade that my country has suffered for more than five decades; it is the main violation of human rights of all Cubans which remains intact and whose extraterritorial aspect has worsened by increasing penalties for banks and financial institutions from third countries, with the purpose of intimidation and to erode Cuba´s exchanges with other nations.

Our country has demonstrated its willingness to discuss differences in views on human rights with any other party on the basis of equality, respect and reciprocity. We do not intend to impose our vision on anyone or accept that of others as the only one legitimate and valid. We believe that the true commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights on a global scale must proceed from a genuine willingness to contribute to the realization of these rights, stripping them of political expediency, media manipulation, selective vision or double standards.

Mr. President:

Cuba aspires to be reelected to the Human Rights Council in the elections in autumn this year. On the tenth anniversary of this body and the thirtieth of the Declaration on the Right to Development, my country renews its commitment to the struggle for a world of justice, freedom and equality for all.

As said by the Cuban President Raul Castro Ruz, in January 2015, during the Third Summit of the CELAC, and I quote: "Cuba will restlessly advocate the just causes and the interests of the South countries, and will be loyal to their common objectives and positions knowing that Humanity is Homeland.”

Thank you.

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