I bring from Cuba a message of solidarity and support for the Palestinian people. The indiscriminate attacks against the civil population and the United Nations workers; the bombings against hospitals, ambulances and schools and the mass destruction of housing and vital infrastructure are a collective punishment as well as a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law.
We stand in solidarity with all victims and share the grief of the Arab and Hebrew communities in Cuba.
These are war crimes and crimes against humanity that must be stopped now. The international community must force an immediate ceasefire in the light of the veto which paralyzes the Security Council thus ensuring the criminal impunity of this genocide.
For the fourth time, Cuba is presenting a report to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Human Rights Council.
The national report that we are presenting today is the result of a broad and participatory process of consultations with government institutions and organizations of our civil society.
Of the 226 recommendations accepted during the former Universal Periodic Review, 215 -that is, 95 per cent- have been implemented. We are making progress in the implementation of the other 11.
Since the former Review in 2018, Cuba has taken significant steps to update its legal and institutional framework for the realization of all human rights for all Cubans.
By means of a popular referendum, the Cuban people adopted a new Constitution in 2019, which expands the catalogue of rights and guarantees that will ensure its effective implementation.
Voter turnout was 90 per cent, and the constitutional text was adopted by 86 per cent of votes.
During the last four years, 129 superior regulations have been adopted, something unprecedented in Cuba in such a short period of time.
Worth mentioning, among them, is the Code of Families, one of the most transcendental social and political rules in the legal history of the country. It is a modern, comprehensive and advanced law.
The combat against all forms of discrimination has been and will continue to be a priority of the Cuban State and government.
In November, 2019, Cuba adopted the National Program against Racism and Racial Discrimination. This was an expression of the country’s political will to eradicate all traces of this phenomenon.
Since 2021, Cuba has been implementing a National Program for the Advancement of Women as well as a Comprehensive Strategy for Preventing and Responding to Gender and Family Violence.
In Cuba, women hold 56 per cent of the seats in the National People’s Power Assembly and account for 84 per cent of positions in the legal system. Eight out of 10 prosecutors in the country are women.
In 2021 Cuba created the National Commission for the implementation of the provisions contained in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and in June, 2023, it created the Cuban Association of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities.
And only one month later the national parliament adopted the Comprehensive Policy for Children, Adolescents and Youths in Cuba.
Significant progress has been made when it comes to our criminal law -both the procedural and the substantive criminal law-, and the due process has been reinforced.
Since 2018, we have submitted detailed reports to four treaty bodies on racial discrimination, persons with disabilities, torture and children’s rights.
Several cooperative actions have been carried out with the United Nations High Commissioner’s Office for Human Rights and in July this year, a fruitful meeting was held between the President of the Republic of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, H.E. Mr. Volker Türk.
In May, 2023, the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, paid a fruitful academic visit to Cuba.
We also had the opportunity of receiving in our country, on June last, the Vice-president of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
The economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba is a massive, flagrant and systematic violation of the human rights of all Cubans.
Since the former Review, the blockade has been significantly tightened through the introduction of more than 240 additional coercive measures and the fraudulent inclusion of Cuba in the spurious list of States sponsors of terrorism issued by the US State Department.
From April, 2018, to February, 2023, the blockade has caused damages to Cuba which, according to conservative estimates, amount to approximately 24.700 billion dollars.
At current prices, the effects accumulated after more than 60 years of blockade are worth more than 159 billion dollars.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, sanctions against Cuba, as different from other countries, were deliberately strengthened to extremes. Cuba was not allowed to purchase neither ventilators from US subsidiaries nor parts, spare parts or inputs for the production on an industrial scale of the effective Cuban vaccines. Cuba’s purchase of medical oxygen from third countries was hindered and the requirement to apply for a specific license to buy it in the United States was clearly demonstrated.
Only 13 days ago the overwhelming majority of the United Nations General Assembly called for the ceasing of this policy that causes direct and indirect damages; hardships, shortages and anxiety among Cuban families and is the fundamental cause of scarce supplies of medicines and foodstuffs, even for the rationed family basket which, however insufficient, is received by all Cuban citizens at highly subsidized prices. It is the main factor behind the exorbitant prices, the devaluation of salaries and the national currency; the annoying blackouts and the restrictions on basic services, which also have a negative impact on health and education. It is also the determining factor in the current increase of migration.
In addition to the economic warfare, Cuba has been and still is a victim of sustained media and information campaigns aimed at portraying an absolutely false human rights image to subvert the constitutional order of the nation.
This modus operandi was implemented, with particular emphasis, in 2021, when an attempt was made to forcefully impose a destabilizing situation by combining extreme measures of economic suffocation with sophisticated manipulation and disinformation actions and non-conventional warfare or cognitive operations, generated from the territory and technological platforms of the United States.
Despite the advances attained by Cuba since the former Review, we still have some dissatisfactions and we are endeavoring to improve, promote “full dignity”, “achieve all the justice” and face the current challenges.
Cuba will continue to improve its institutional and legal framework for the protection of human rights and will continue to promote the construction of an ever freer and more democratic, just, fraternal, participatory and socialist society.
From our condition as recently-elected members of this Council, we will make our greatest and invariable contribution to international dialogue and cooperation in these areas.
In a sovereign manner, we will move on in our cooperation with the United Nations human rights mechanisms on the basis of a respectful and constructive dialogue.
The international community will always be able to count on Cuba to defend peace and multilateralism and promote the enjoyment of all human rights for all.
Thank you, very much.