73 UNGA: Statement by the Cuban Delegation at the General debate of the Special Political and Decolonization Committee under Item 52 "Effects of atomic radiation". New York, 6 November 2018.

Mr. Chairman,

The delegation of Cuba appreciates and takes note of the Report of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, contained in document A/73/46.

The report is a benchmark in terms of information on the work of the Committee in accordance with its current programme, which includes aspects such as the "Evaluation of Health Effects and Risk Inference from Radiation Exposure", "Implementation of the Public Information and Outreach Strategy (2014-2019)" and "Implementation of the Committee's Long-Term Strategic Guidelines". 

The findings of the Committee's studies could help meet certain demands of the scientific community and be used as a basis to devise national and international rules aimed at protecting the population against the harmful effects of ionizing radiation.

Mr. Chairman,

Unfortunately, today, more than 73 years after the criminal atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the human species continues to be threatened by the latent danger of nuclear weapons. Their total elimination is the only way to ensure that humanity will never again suffer their terrible impact.

Cuba remains firmly committed to the goal of achieving a world free of nuclear weapons. As a demonstration of this will, on 31 January 2018 our country became the fifth State to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the adoption of which was supported by the overwhelming majority of the international community and its implementation should effectively contribute to international peace and security.

Mr. Chairman,

Despite the limitations resulting from the prolonged and unjust economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States Government, Cuba provided its modest and supportive collaboration to the brotherly people of Ukraine through the "Tarará Humanitarian Programme", designed to provide comprehensive medical care to patients affected by the Chernobyl nuclear accident. This program made possible the rehabilitation of more than 20 thousand people, mostly children, victims of the harmful effects of atomic radiation.

This project was not limited to the national territory. In 1998, a sanatorium for such purpose was opened in the city of Evpatoria. In this center, which receives between 5,000 and 6,000 people each year, a brigade of Cuban doctors has been present.

In addition to its main humanitarian dimension, the project has had a significant scientific impact. It has provided information that has been disseminated in important scientific events and has been useful for assessments of various agencies of the United Nations system, such as the United Nations Scientific Committee for the Study of the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Mr. Chairman,

Collaboration between the Scientific Committee and the various competent bodies and institutions of the United Nations system, including the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations World Environment Programme, should be preserved and strengthened.

It has been demonstrated that the joint work of these players has favored the implementation of the Committee's strategic guidelines. Visible benefits have thus been generated through the application of technological advances in various spheres of life, especially in health and environmental protection.

The contribution of the use of nuclear energy and technology to the socio-economic development of our nations is indisputable. We therefore reaffirm the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy without discrimination. We are further convinced that serious and comprehensive cooperation in this regard is the way to eliminate the potential dangers posed by ionizing radiation.

Thank you very much.