76 UNGA: Statement of the Cuban delegation at the meeting of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country. New York, 11 July 2022

Mr. Chair,

We appreciate the holding of this second meeting of the Committee on the Relations with the Host Country this year.

  1. Security of Permanent Missions
  • We reiterate that the hostile demonstrations outside the Permanent Mission of Cuba continue to take place without the authorities of the Host Country complying with their obligations, or taking the relevant actions or allowing the personnel of our diplomatic headquarters to perform the functions for which they are accredited, without the danger of aggression by the demonstrators.
  • Misbehavior shown by said demonstrators is illustrated by the following actions: obstructing access to the Mission's premises; placing posters and banners on its main façade; using loud speakers and blocking the use of the public sidewalk. Several of the demonstrators have shown an aggressive and provocative behavior that has been escalating progressively, even making verbal threats to use firearms and bladed weapons against Mission officials.
  • The noise, provocations, threats and other destabilizing actions carried out by the demonstrators with an openly intimidating purpose have continued to disturb the tranquility of the Mission, hindering the working environment and endangering the safety of its members and family members, including children, residing in the diplomatic premises.
  • The Permanent Mission of Cuba has sent notes verbales to the United States Mission to the United Nations, in its capacity as host country, condemning the behavior of said demonstrators, in particular those conducts in violation of the relevant legislation of the State of New York and at the federal level, as well as requesting due protection to its diplomatic headquarters.
  • The U.S. authorities in charge of the diplomatic security of the Permanent Missions of the States accredited to the United Nations have not always provided due protection to the Cuban Mission, despite having been informed regularly and in a timely manner.
  • We warn that tolerance by the Host Country authorities of such conduct, in addition to constituting a serious violation of obligations under an international treaty and therefore an unlawful act, could encourage an even more dangerous escalation of such acts and even lead to the perpetration of violent or other acts considered a threat to the security of the Mission and its personnel.  
  • It is well known that, in the past, this type of hostile demonstrations have had serious consequences due to their violent nature, even causing physical injuries to Cuban diplomats in U.S. territory.
  • We reiterate that the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations establishes, in Article 29, that the receiving State "shall take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack" on the person of the diplomatic agent. Likewise, Article 22 of the aforementioned Convention stipulates that the "receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity".
  • It is also worth recalling the U.S. government's obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents.
  1. Issue relating to restriction on movement
  • The Host Country is known to commit other violations such as the arbitrary imposition of movement restrictions on diplomats from certain countries and their families, and even on high-level delegations.
  • It should be recalled that the additional restriction of movement imposed on Cuban diplomats as of September 2019, to a limited area of Manhattan, remains in force and constitutes an obstacle to the proper performance of their duties.
  • Restriction of movement, besides being illegal and totally contrary to international law, reaches ridiculous extremes. Just to mention a few examples: Cuban diplomats have been prevented from participating in side events convened as part of processes carried out at the United Nations by different missions or by the UN Secretariat.

In practice, the children of Cuban diplomats are unable to share extracurricular activities with their classmates outside Manhattan. Obtaining authorization for such activities requires meticulous coordination with the schools, which is not possible, so that the itinerary of the excursion, the accompanying persons, the registration of the bus in which they will travel, the departure and return times of children between 4 and 15 years of age, must be sent more than a week in advance.

  • These are just some of the countless situations that arise daily for Cuban officials and their families, which are totally incompatible with the protection that should be granted under international law and which is the basis of international conventions governing the matter.
  1. Issue relating to the granting of visas by the Host Country
  • Cuba wishes to point out that there continue to be delays in the granting of visas for Cuban representatives appointed to serve permanently at the Mission of Cuba to the United Nations in New York. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba strictly complies with the terms established by the U.S. Embassy in Havana for the granting of visas.
  • In addition, delays are regularly reported in the renewal of multiple-entry visas for one year for Cuban diplomatic personnel appointed to our Permanent Mission. This situation continues to cause airline tickets to travel to Cuba to be cancelled, incurring in unnecessary monetary expenses and causing other damages to the operation of this diplomatic mission.
  • The Host Country has the obligation to promptly grant visas to representatives of a Member State under Sections 11 and 13 of the Headquarters Agreement, regardless of the relations existing between the governments of the appointed officials.
  • Discriminatory treatment in the granting of visas by the Host Country to some Member States is a violation that not only hinders the work of the Organization, but also makes it impossible for delegations to exercise their functions on an equal footing.
  1. General comments and invocation of Section 21
  • The Host Country, by selectively and arbitrarily applying the Headquarters Agreement, abuses its status in blatant violation of the principle of sovereign equality, as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.
  • The Organization cannot be complicit in the repeated failures of the Host Country to comply with the Charter, the Headquarters Agreement, the 1975 Convention on Privileges and Immunities and other international instruments.
  • The Secretariat is duty bound to act with determination. The lack of concrete action has caused the Host Country to act with impunity, to ignore the recommendations of the corresponding reports of the Committee and the General Assembly, and to intensify the arbitrary measures it has imposed for years against some Member States. 
  • Cuba calls on the Secretary-General to exercise his authority and ensure that the principle of the sovereign equality of States is respected. It is essential to guarantee the full participation of all members of the United Nations in the work of the Organization without discrimination.
  • We continue to be deeply disappointed by the situation described above and stress that maintaining the status quo indefinitely with respect to the issues raised in the Committee's report would be in contradiction with the resolutions of the General Assembly and with the assurances given to the affected States during the meeting held with the Secretary-General on 10 March 2020.

Mr. Chair,

  • Once again, we would be grateful if the Committee could be informed of the steps that have been taken in accordance with the provisions of the Headquarters Agreement, since sufficient time has elapsed for the conduct of the same, without, to date, any solution to our demands having been found.
  • There is no justification, given the time that has elapsed since the adoption of resolutions 74/195, 75/146 and 76/122, for the Secretariat to continue to consider the relevance of submitting disputes between the United Nations and the United States Government concerning the interpretation and application of the Headquarters Agreement to arbitration under Section 21 thereof without taking concrete steps to that effect.

Thank you.