Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla condemned "all manifestations of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia,” in a June 17 tweet.
Reporting that Cuba would join debates of the 43rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), he called for a fight against discrimination based on skin color or ethnic origin, and noted “In the U.S. 22.2% of COVID-19 fatalities are African Americans, although they are 12.7% of the population."
The pandemic has exacerbated social inequalities and shown the shortcomings of a system in which the poor and minorities are left unprotected, the Foreign Minister stated.
During the resumed session of the CDH on June 15, African countries proposed to organize an urgent debate on racism and police violence, within the context of the global mobilization generated by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in the United States.
"Almost two decades after the Durban World Conference, the scourge of racism, discrimination and xenophobia continues to advance in a world that is increasingly unequal and involved in multiple and complex crises," said Pedro Luis Pedroso Cuesta, Cuba’s ambassador and permanent representative in Geneva, speaking at the meeting, the Foreign Ministry reported.
Referring to Floyd's murder, Pedroso stated that this was not an isolated case, but a consistent saga of human rights violations based on skin color and ethnicity, underpinned by centuries of structural racism, profound economic inequality, which perpetuate that country's political, social and legal system, founded on slavery, elite privilege and dispossession of the majority.
The reality," the Cuban diplomat said, "is that racism and police violence against people of African descent and minorities are not exceptions or errors of that system. They are the system!
He concluded his remarks by reiterating the call to implement the Durban program, and to take action to ensure, at last, that all persons are treated as equals, adding that Cuba can always be counted on in this noble effort.
The country will present three draft resolutions at the session, on the impact of foreign debt on human rights; the right to food; and cultural rights, according to the permanent Cuban mission in Geneva.