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Thursday, 24th April 2014

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Cuba wins broad support at UN Human Rights Council

Recognition of Cuba’s achievements in education, health, international solidarity and the defense of its sovereignty were highlighted in speeches by representatives of various countries regarding Cuba’s report to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The Human Rights Council (HRC) met in Geneva on February 5th, as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), administered by a UN working group, which has already processed 54 other countries.

Cuba’s report was presented by Cuban Justice Minister María Esther Reus, who explained that the report was drafted via a broad process of consultation with civil society and more than 200 non-governmental organizations.

She emphasized that her country places great importance on the UPR and that the principal quality of the Cuban political system is its ability to constantly improve in response to needs that arise.

It is a genuinely autochthonous project, founded upon a rich history of struggle for equality and solidarity among men and women, independence, sovereignty, nondiscrimination and social justice, she affirmed.

Reus concluded her presentation by noting Cuba’s adherence to the principles of objectivity, impartiality and non-selectivity that should characterize international cooperation on human rights, always open to dialogue.

Various delegates spoke after Reus. More than 100 countries registered to speak, but because of time limitations, only 60 did, 51 of which spoke constructively and the majority with remarks of admiration. The other nine, as always, repeated the same discourse dictated by the [US] empire, serving as its allies.

One note that broke with the stiff tone of the UPR was the speech by the ambassador of Sri Lanka, who was unstinting in his comments of recognition for Cuba, affirming that it is a country in the vanguard of cooperation with the Third World. He referred to the progress of women, Cuba’s support for the anti-apartheid struggle, its medical and literacy missions, its aid in response to the consequences of the tsunami in Sri Lanka and the earthquake in Pakistan, and other issues, ending with a “Hasta la Victoria siempre!” that led to an enthusiastic ovation in Geneva’s Palais de Nations.

Other observations included “impressive results,” “best demonstration of a popular expression of democracy,” “profound commitment to international solidarity despite the U.S. blockade,” and “a Revolution that dignifies its people.”

That led Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Cuba’s first deputy foreign minister, to comment on the encouraging and respectful environment, in contrast to practices of manipulation and double standards in the former Human Rights Commission.

The three hours of the UPR’s deliberations concluded after speakers from South Africa, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Ecuador, Mexico, Jordan, Pakistan, Algeria, China, Russia, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica took the stand.

To round out other aspects of the report, other members of the Cuban delegation commented on the judicial, parliamentary, labor and social security, and informatics and communications.


Source: Granma international