Permanent Mission to UN

Press Release by the Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations in respect of the Creation of the Human Rights Council. New York, 20 February 2006.

Cuba will neither be an accomplice to nor will it remain a silent spectator over the obvious attempt to impose the creation of the Human Rights Council under the United States and its main allies' conditions, those who are the true responsible for the discredit and manipulation of the Commission on Human Rights.

Few bodies of the United Nations System have been subjected to so much political manipulation by the United States and its main western allies like the Commission on Human Rights.

Last year, those same countries delivered the coup de grace to this body's credibility, when they opposed to the adoption of a draft resolution aimed at putting a halt to the impunity and conspiratorial silence that the European governments and other western allies have used in view of the widespread tortures and other serious human rights violations in the Guantánamo Naval Base and other places, on the grounds of the war against terrorism that the Washington authorities claim to be waging.

The responsible for this deplorable situation have a plan to sacrifice once again the interests of the great majorities and force, in the next few days, the creation of the Human Rights Council, in response to the demands of the United States' imperialistic politics, with the indulgence and complicity of the former European colonial metropolises.

The chicanery against the expectations and demands of the peoples of the South and the great majorities in the North began in an early stage.

It is highly conspicuous that the creation of the new Human Rights Council was the only substantive element on the Report of the High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, established by the Secretary General with renowned experts from all regions of the world that was not taken into account when formulating the reform proposals for the Organization at the Summit held in September of 2005.

Said High Level Panel proposed the universalization of the Commission on Human Rights' membership, rejected the possible imposition of conditions or requirements for the body's membership and questioned the double standards imposed to its works.

The subsequent texts that have been submitted to establish the Human Rights Council, have disregarded these recommendations to suit the superpower's demands.

Why, if from the very beginning of the debates the clear majority of the Member States have demanded a body with no less than 53 members, the reduction of the Council's seats is still suggested?

Why the insistence on imposing conditions to the Council's membership that the US administration demands, if the overwhelming majority of the Member States have stated against them?

Cuba denounces the strong pressure exerted in the last few weeks to force, in an untimely and inopportune manner, a decision allowing the creation of the Human Rights Council by the imperialistic interests proclaimed in the so-called "Project for the New American Century", which is the Washington hawks' plans to rule the world.

Again, President Bush's Administration, which claims its right to practice torture as a means to fight terrorism, to arrest arbitrarily and deny the most fundamental rights to countless human beings from simple suspicions of links to terrorism, to spy on its own citizens, and even to bomb cities in the name of liberty and democracy, is receiving the conspiratorial support of its allies.

A few hours ago, in analyzing the violations committed at the detention centers that the US government has established in the Cuban territory that it illegally occupies, five special mechanisms of the Commission on Human Rights: the Rapporteur on Torture, the Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, the Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion, the Rapporteur on the Right to Physical and Mental Health, and the President of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions have condemned the US government's attempts to legalize torture, to become the judge, prosecutor and defense lawyer, and to violate international human rights instruments of which Washington is a State Party.

This is the government that now demands a Human Rights Council created in its own image in order to continue manipulating, violating and committing arbitraries.

Apparently, several main actors in the process have gotten the nod from Washington, after assuring their agreement to their demands to force a decision in the next few days.

Nobody should expect that Cuba remain a silent spectator over the implementation of this abhorrent ruse.

Cuba will defend the truth and the reason to the bitter end and will work towards demanding the right of this planet's peoples to count on a Human Rights Council that responds to their interests and expectations of a better future, a future of equity and social justice, where all individuals and peoples are respected equally.

Cuba will oppose the attempts to impose conditions, requirements and special procedures for their entry and permanence in the membership of the Council. If any government does not deserve to be part of the Council, is the one who represents a State that benefited from the slavery and transatlantic slave trade, that kept a "constructive engagement" to extend the existence of the apartheid regime, that protects and bestows impunity to the human rights violations perpetrated by the Israeli occupant of Palestine and other Arab territories, that supported the bloody military dictatorships of Latin America, that today tortures and murders in the name of a liberty which the majority of its own citizens do not enjoy, that fails to meet its commitments and obligations of official development assistance to the Third World and that threatens and attacks the Southern countries.

Many countries are aware of this. Let us recall that a few years ago, in an obvious protest vote over Washington's arrogance and manipulations, the Economic and Social Council prevented with its vote the US reelection at the Commission on Human Rights, condition it did not get back until two accomplice governments tamely offered them their seats.

Cuba will oppose the attempt to evade the requirement of the most strict and equitable geographical distribution of the Council's seats.

Cuba will work to prevent that the question of establishing clear criteria to stop the political manipulation of the so-called resolutions of countries from being dodged. The selectivity and double standards imposed by the United States, the European Union and other Northern countries to the treatment of this issue in the Commission's works were the true cause of its crisis. Cuba cannot allow this Council to continue being an inquisition tribunal against the Southern countries, especially as today they try to manipulate the common cause of freedom and promotion of democracy as a pretext to unleash "preventive wars".

Cuba will continue insisting that the realization of the right to development, main demand of the vast majority of the human beings of the entire world, can achieve the central place it deserves in the Council's mandate.

Cuba will also demand that the claims of equality by the large sectors and peoples submitted to discrimination and oblivion be duly met, among them, the indigenous peoples, the afrodescendants, the migrants and the peoples who practice the Islamic religion.

Cuba will be able to fulfill its duty and responsibility at this historic moment for the countries of the South and the great majorities of the entire planet. 

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