STATEMENT BY THE HEAD OF THE CUBAN DELEGATION AT THE HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT OF THE 34TH REGULAR SESSION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL. GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, MARCH 1ST, 2017
Attempts to plunge the Council along the path of politicization and selectivity contribute to the perpetuation of this body's lack of attention and priority in overcoming the challenges that threaten the human rights of millions of people.
How can a sincere and objective debate be achieved when the tragedy generated by the waves of migrants who have been victims of wars provoked or encouraged by powerful external interests and conditions of underdevelopment continue to be avoided?
How can we overcome human rights challenges when the Council remains indifferent to the serious violations involving, mainly in the Third World, the existence of 795 million hungry people1, 781 million young people and adults unable to read and write2, and more than hundreds of millions condemned to extreme poverty, or the terrible reality of the millions of people living in pockets of poverty in the industrialized countries?
Neither this body has proposed to discuss on the loss of legitimacy of political systems and parties, and the questioning of abstentionist electoral systems, as it has not been able to overcome the silence about who mostly endanger the international peace and the survival of the human species, threatened by colossal military stockpiles and the climate change, by NATO's warlike adventures and by the growing emission of greenhouse gases despite the Paris Agreement.
1 World Food Program (WFP) page according o the latest statistics of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for 2015, at: http://es.wfp.org/-sufren-hambre-pma
2 Taken from: Follow-up Report on Education for All 2015 by UNESCO. In: http://unesdoc.unesco.org
Equally dangerous is the tendency to use the Human Rights Council to try to legitimize the action of the Security Council on certain countries and conflicts that do not pose a threat to international peace and security and the subsequent opening of proceedings in the International Criminal Court, so questioned today.
The solution cannot come from unilateral attitudes that erode the basic rules of coexistence among nations, endorsed in the Charter of the United Nations. We will not achieve effective action by this Council by accepting the imposition of patterns of behavior that discriminate by skin color, ethnic group or religious practice, but rather by promoting respect for diversity and protection of the rights of the minorities. We will not do so by making a wink of compliment to the lifting of barriers but by building bridges and recognizing the value and necessity of genuine international cooperation and collective efforts.
Neither will make any contribution the use of selective and politicized approaches to address human rights issues, the manipulation of concepts and principles, or the use of the human rights issue to justify interventionist agendas which have nothing to do with a genuine concern for the promotion and protection of those rights.
The challenges before us are so serious and significant that it is irresponsible to undermine the environment of cooperation essential for the effectiveness of this body.
Meanwhile, the Cuban people continue their struggle to achieve the most just society possible. We will continue to share with the Council the results of the actions undertaken to promote and protect the human rights of our people and as part of the efforts to achieve a sovereign, socialist, prosperous and sustainable development in our country.
Despite the shortcomings and difficulties, largely due to a persistent economic, commercial and financial blockade, we have shared and will continue to do, our achievements and experiences with other nations, in order to contribute to the realization of the rights of other peoples of the world.
Our challenges are great, but so is our willingness to face them, with the support of the vast majority of the population determined to continue playing a leading role in the improvement of our economic and social model.
Last October Cuba was elected for a new term as a member of the Human Rights Council. I take this opportunity to thank the overwhelming majority of Member States for their confidence in us. We assume our membership with the commitment to help focus the Council's efforts on issues that truly require international attention.
Cuba will remain committed to the genuine international cooperation based on the indivisibility of human rights, non-selectivity and non-politicization.
As a token of this, we will soon receive, at the invitation of Cuba, the visit of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, and later this year also the Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity. We have deepened our relations with the ICRC and we are working to expand these links in an environment of respectful cooperation and dialogue.
In addition, as an expression of commitment to the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council, we will shortly present to the Office an Interim Report on the attention of our country to the recommendations made to us during our second submission to the Universal Periodic Review Mechanism and we have already begun the consultations and coordination for the preparation of our presentation to the Third Cycle of the UPR.
In addition, in fulfillment of our obligations, we have submitted reports to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CERD, and in a few days we will defend our first report to the Committee against Enforced Disappearances.
I reiterate Cuba's willingness to hold exchanges and dialogues on human rights with other countries, regardless of the degree of coincidence of positions. Last year, dialogues with the European Union and the United States, developed within a framework of respect for the independence and sovereignty of the parties, demonstrated the validity of a respectful exchange approach, without imposition or interference in internal affairs.
Cuba is firmly committed to the efforts to build a democratic and equitable world order, where respect for the independence and sovereignty of each State, the banishment of war and the threat or use of force, is not only a written rule, but a norm observed by all, according to the postulates of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace and the principles of International Law.
On that basis, we reiterate our strong condemnation of the unacceptable and unjustified unilateral sanctions imposed on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the continued external intervention in order to create a climate of instability in that sister nation. We ratify our firm support for the Bolivarian Revolution and the legitimate Government of President Nicolás Maduro Moros.
Cuba also reaffirms its support for the search for a peaceful and negotiated solution to the current crisis in Syria, where hundreds of thousands of innocent people have lost their lives. We support a way out of the conflict without external interference or imposition.
The pursuit of a just and lasting solution to the Middle East conflict, which is inexorably sustained in the exercise of the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to build its own State within the pre-1967 borders and with its capital in East Jerusalem.
I reiterate Cuba's commitment and urge the countries gathered here to join efforts and wills to contribute to facing the immense challenges of our time. Let us invest our energies in finding solutions and not in politicized impositions. As the Commander-in-Chief of the Cuban Revolution said in Argentina in 1959: "The faith of the people is not awakened with promises, or theories, or pretty figures of speech: the faith of the people is restored with facts, with realities, with actual solutions3."
3 Speech delivered by Commander Fidel Castro, Prime Minister of the Revolutionary Government, before the Economic Council of the 21, in the Palace of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Buenos Aires, on May 2, 1959.