Last Thursday, 5 February, Cuba presented its report to the Universal Periodic Review Mechanism of the Human Rights Council. Cuba undertook this exercise with the utmost responsibility, convinced that respectful and constructive dialogue is the only way toward international cooperation in the field of human rights.
Cuba attended this review under favorable conditions, after several months of intense preparation and after carrying out a wide process of consultation which involved state and government institutions, Parliament and hundreds of Cuban civil society organizations.
After twenty years of the unjust manipulation in the field of human rights promoted by the United States against Cuba, the outcome of the review process has been an important victory of the Cuban people. There has been widespread recognition of the work and performance of the Cuban nation in this field. It has become evident that, in the context of a universally participatory and objective exercise in which the United States is unable to crush the spirit through pressure, Cuba’s truth cannot be silenced.
Sixty out of 104 delegations that registered with the list of speakers, took the floor in the interactive dialogue. Fifty one of them recognized the efforts and results achieved by Cuba in the promotion and protection of human rights. Only 9 countries –even while recognizing advances that are simply undeniable- questioned Cuba’s performance in the area of civil and political rights. Some of these comments are not valid because they are incompatible with the exercise of the Cuban people’s right to self-determination, because they are not based on reality, and because they support the policy of regime change that has been applied to Cuba by successive US Administrations.
The international condemnation of the blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba was overwhelmingly reaffirmed. Over a dozen delegations explicitly expressed their solidarity with the Cuban people in its demand for an end to this genocidal policy.
There was overwhelming support for Cuba’s success in the area of economic, social and cultural rights. Universal and no-cost coverage, as well as the excellence of the Cuban health and education systems were repeatedly praised.
Cuba’s international cooperation in the areas of health and education were referred to as paradigms of international solidarity. Approximately 20 delegations welcomed those initiatives and encouraged the Cuban people to continue its efforts in that regard. The “Yes I Can” literacy method and “Operation Miracle” were referred to on several occasions as examples of good practices to be followed.
Various delegations recognized the advantages of the political, economic and social system chosen by the Cuban people and referred to it as an example of popular participation, inclusion and social justice. Our people’s resistance and ability to succeed despite serious obstacles was acknowledged.
The report on the review of Cuba adopted by the Working Group objectively reflects the outcome of the process. A total of 89 recommendations were made; some of them were submitted by different delegations.
Cuba fully accepted 60 recommendations. It will send its comments on another 17 before the formal adoption of the report by the Council during its eleventh session in June. A few recommendations were objected to, which was decided with strict adherence to Resolution 60/251 of the General Assembly, given that they were incompatible with the exercise of the Cuban people’s right to self-determination because we will never jeopardize our sovereignty or the ideals of our Revolution. By the way, some of them reveal an inexplicable lack of information and ignorance about our rich and diverse reality.
Fifty-seven of the recommendations accepted were made by African, Asian, Latin-American and Caribbean countries. The remaining 3 were made by Switzerland, Czech Republic and Netherlands.
None of the recommendations made by African, Asian or Latin-American and Caribbean countries were rejected by Cuba. The few recommendations refused were made by Western industrialized countries.
In pursuing its aim to achieve justice, Cuba will study those recommendations it was not forced to reject and will apply them accordingly.
Cuba will continue to be committed to strengthening the Human Rights Council and its Universal Periodic Review Mechanism, as a valid way to support international cooperation in the field of human rights, in keeping with the principles of universality, objectivity, impartiality and non-selectivity.
Cuba would like to express its sincere appreciation to all the delegations that clearly supported and encouraged the Cuban people’s efforts in the promotion and protection of all human rights of all Cubans and of other countries around the world.
It has been a clear recognition of the work of the Cuban people in the field of human rights. It has been a victory of truth and justice.