In our Mission in Zambia we kindly remember that on the Day of Human Rights, there are still many humans without rights. And we want to bring to your attention some paragraphs of the speech by our Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla on this issue on 16th May 2018:
Once again, Cuba attends the Universal Periodic Review to ratify its firm commitment with the guarantees for the exercise of human rights. The national report that we are presenting is the result of a broad and participatory process of consultations which involved numerous government institutions and civil society organizations, as well as the implementation of the recommendations accepted during the second review -79% of all the recommendations that were formulated.
From the times of the US military occupation, which severed our independence, under the governments it imposed, 45 per cent of children did not attend schools; 85 per cent of persons lacked running water; farmers lived in abject poverty without ever owning the land they tilled and immigrants were brutally exploited.
In Cuba, workers and farmers had no rights. Extrajudicial execution, enforced disappearances and torture were recurrent. Discrimination based on the color of the skin was brutal; poverty was rampant and women and girls were even more excluded. The dignity of Cubans was tarnished and Cuba’s national culture was trampled upon.
The Cuban Revolution led by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz transformed that reality and continues to strive to improve the quality of life, wellbeing and social justice for all of our people, thus implementing all human rights. That willingness to protect human dignity, provide equal opportunities and “conquer all the justice”, has remained unchanged and unswerving until today.
Our country has continued to take steps to further improve its economic and social development model with the purpose of building a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable nation by strengthening the institutional structure of our political system, which is genuinely participatory and enjoys full popular support.
In accordance with the Constitution, we have continued to strengthen the legal and institutional framework for the protection and promotion of those rights, and we have introduced modifications and proposals adapted to the needs and realities of the Cuban society and international standards.
The attention to citizens has been equally improved by means of the expansion of the mechanisms, ways and recourses in the hands of the population to denounce any infringement of the legal system or their rights; file claims or petitions to the competent authorities; channel up their opinions and concerns and actively participate in the adoption of government decisions.
The protection of the right to life has continued to be the highest priority. This is ensured by recognizing the right to physical integrity and inviolability of persons; observing the guarantees of the due process and preventing anyone from being deprived of freedom except under the law and with full guarantees.
Law enforcement authorities fulfill their duty in accordance with the law and are subject to rigorous control processes and popular scrutiny. There has been no impunity in the very few cases of abuses involving law enforcement agents and officials; and there are no laws or rules that could condone it.
Cuba has continued to strengthen people’s participation in government decision making and the exercise of the freedoms recognized under the Constitution and the law, including the civil and political rights that are fully protected. In the country there is an extensive plurality of ideas and there is a rich debate about the most diverse aspects of the political, economic, social and cultural life of the nation.
More than 1.6 million Cubans participated in the process of consultation of the documents on the Conceptualization of Cuba’s Economic and Social Model for Socialist Development and the Fundamentals for the National Economic and Social Development Plan by the Year 2030. More than 500 000 of them were young people. A total of 208 161 proposals of modifications were made, which generated changes of a considerable part of the original text.
In Cuba, the democratic exercise is a continued process that is based on our democracy model, which has been legitimately established and is also participatory and popular. The right to participate in the conduction of public affairs is not limited to electoral processes. It is permanently exercised in the different walks of the political, economic and social life of the nation.
Guarantees for the exercise of human rights are a priority obligation of the State. In Cuba, every sphere of social life counts on thousands of defenders of these rights, whose work enjoys recognition and government support.
Our future priorities are to continue working on the updating of the economic and social development model; the strengthening of the legal and institutional framework for the promotion and protection of human rights; the improvement of our political system and the Cuban socialist democracy model; and the defense of our values, national unity and independence.
In pursuing these goals, we will soon engage in a process to reform our Constitution, which will be characterized by a broad popular participation.
The strengthening of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba and its extraterritorial implementation causes deprivations and continue to be the main obstacle to the economic and social development of the country. This unjust policy, which has been rejected by the international community, violates the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and International Law and represents a flagrant, massive and systematic violation of the human rights of our people, thus qualifying as an act of genocide under the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948.
We demand the return of the territory usurped by the US Naval Base in Guantánamo, where the United States maintains a detention camp in which serious human rights violations and acts of torture are committed.
The political and media campaigns against Cuba, which distort our reality, intend to discredit our country and conceal Cuba’s undeniable human rights achievements.
Cuba will continue to move forward, firmly and reassured, with the political will and determination of the Cuban people and government, to build an ever freer, more democratic, participatory just and fraternal society.
We are opened to dialogue and will offer all the necessary information based on the respect and objectivity that should characterize this exercise, in which there should be no double standards or politically motivated manipulations, which we will not accept, because, as was expressed by the President of the Council of State and Ministers, Comrade Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez on April 19, “there is no room for a transition that ignores or destroys the legacy of so many years of struggle. In Cuba, by the decision of the people, there is only room for the continuity of that legacy with the Revolution and the founding generation, without giving up to pressures, without fear and setbacks, always defending our truths and reasons, without ever renouncing sovereignty and independence, development programs and our own dreams.”