Cuba reaffirms commitment to human rights

GENEVA.—The Cuban ambassador in Geneva, Anayansi Rodríguez, described as “very successful for our country” the process of adopting the report from the working group of the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on Cuba.

Cuba reaffirms commitment to human rightsThe second and final phase of Cuba’s appearance before the UN human rights mechanism, which included the presentation of a national report this past May, closed September 20.

This is the conclusion of a four-year period – since the first UPR cycle in 2009 – during which Cuba has been implementing the recommendations received at that time, Rodríguez explained to Granma.

In the debate, in which 13 delegations participated, “the work of the country in terms of human rights, as much economic, social and cultural rights as civil and political ones was once again recognized; and the results of the review were valued as positive, as well as the usefulness of this mechanism,” the ambassador affirmed.

“Moreover, it was confirmed that the blockade imposed by the United States continues to be the principal obstacle to efforts made by our country toward the enjoyment of human rights by all its people,” she added.

“There was a generalized recognition of the implementation of the recommendations of the first cycle, related to various themes such as the rights of women, of children, and people with disabilities. At the same time, there was support for the return of the five anti-terrorists incarcerated in the United States.”

Cuba fully accepted 230 recommendations, took note of a further 42 and only rejected 20 of them.

“We have fulfilled many of the accepted recommendations while others are in the process of being implemented; we need to continue analyzing others and then put them into effect, as part of the process of perfecting our economic and social system,” Rodríguez commented.

Referring to criticisms of Cuba during the second stage, she noted, “These came from the delegations of the United States and the United Kingdom which, in a politicized and hypocritical manner, once again criticized our country on issues such as freedom of expression or opinion.”

The Cuban delegation was headed by Rafael Pino Bécquer, Deputy Attorney General of the Republic, who expressed satisfaction with the country’s efforts and accomplishments in the universal and free coverage of the health and education system, as well as international cooperation in both spheres.

“This review gave us the opportunity to hear the opinions of many delegations as a relevant contribution to the continued perfection of Cuban society,” he stated, according to PL.

On the recommendations that were noted, Pino Bécquer explained that, in Cuba, the process of ratifying an international treaty is assumed with rigor and seriousness, and requires time for analysis, wide-ranging consultations with the country’s institutions and a minute study of legal ordering.

“Cuba understands and respects the arguments of the international movement which proposes the elimination of or a moratorium on the implementation of the death penalty. As a philosophy, Cuba is against the implementation of this sentence and is in favor of eliminating it, when the appropriate conditions exist,” he noted.

He added that the country affords high importance not only to the protection but also to the right of freedom of expression and assembly, which have a constitutional ranking.

On the other hand, he observed that the principal obstacle for extending Internet services is the U.S. blockade, but in spite of it, there exists a will to overcome these impediments by alternative means, and to extend Cubans’ access to the network as much as possible.

“We are proud of the work of the Revolution which allowed, for the first time in our history, all Cuban men and women to fully enjoy their human rights,” concluded the head of the delegation during the adoption of the UPR final result.

Cuba is to present its next UPR report to the Human Rights Council in four and a half years, one which will include advances attained after implementing the recommendations made during this year’s effort.

In a statement to Granma, Anayansi Rodríguez confirmed Cuba’s full commitment to the United Nations human rights mechanism, “always and whenever its work is undertaken on the basis of full respect for the principles of sovereignty and full respect for the right of our people to the free self-determination.”

Havana.  September 26, 2013

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