74 UNGA: Statement by Cuba at Webinar on “The Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures (UCMs) on the Global Fight Against the COVID-19. New York, June 2, 2020

Statement  by Cuba at Webinar on “The Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures (UCMs) on the Global Fight Against the COVID-19: Upholding the UN Charter, Promoting International Cooperation and Ensuring No One is Left Behind in Times of Pandemic”. New York, June 2, 2020

We highly value the support and wide interest expressed by many delegations and participants on the theme for this Webinar. It is difficult to add much to our dialogue after many substantive interventions by previous speakers.

I will try to be brief and focus my intervention on the relevance of the main theme of this meeting, particularly in the light of the upcoming 75 anniversary of the UN.

Cuba, as a member of the United Nations, the Non Aligned Movement Countries, the Group of 77 and China, member of AOSIS, strongly believes in the high importance of multilateralism and international cooperation in today’s world, as the only possible way to promote common goals and find solutions to our collective problems, including our differences. That implies the need to fully uphold the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of International Law, which are very often the only defense for the most vulnerable among us to stand on an equal footing at the global stage.

For many of our countries, the impact of unilateral coercive measures has been an illegal and cruel reality, imposed for many years, in some cases as it has been for Cuba, during many decades. The current Pandemic has exposed to the international public opinion, like never before, the grave impact these measures have always had on the affected countries, amplifying the global call to urgently lift them, and empowering the wider part of the international community, including the UN system, to pursue a reinvigorated multilateralism and solidarity in our collective response, to ensure that no country and no one is left behind.

Unilateral Coercive Measures are not just a gross violation to the Charter of the United Nations and international law, but also to the spirit that guided the foundation of the United Nations 75 years ago, which we are celebrating next September. Furthermore, these measures affect the promotion and full enjoyment of all human rights, including the right to life, the right to development, health and food, preventing the full economic and social development of the peoples affected by them, all of which is even more relevant in the context of the COVID-19 Pandemic. They also distort the structure of the collective security system enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.

The Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, its Sustainable Development Goals and targets, including their means of implementation, are universal, indivisible and interlinked, as has been agreed upon by all UN members. Consequently, it is a gross contradiction to urge for the full implementation of the Agenda 2030 and at the same time support or apply any unilateral coercive measure, that has grave humanitarian consequences, and continues to hamper the ability of the affected countries to respond to the current COVID-19 Pandemic, including on the timely and effective procurement of medical equipment and supplies, testing kits and medications, protective personal equipment, all of which are vital for treating patients and saving lives.

There cannot be a defense of the principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations if at the same time Member States undermine the respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of States; the self-determination of peoples; the equality of States and peoples; the rejection of interference in the internal affairs of other States, all of them core values of the United Nations, enshrined in its Charter. Unilateral Coercive Measures are exactly the opposite of multilateralism, solidarity, international cooperation, and the strengthening of universal peace and the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means, in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.

Since this pandemic hit Cuba, the US government has done nothing to address the urgent call made by the international Community and at the least alleviate the blockade imposed now for almost 60 years on my people.

Cuba continues to believe that only together, through multilateralism and international cooperation, and from a non-politicized approach, will humanity be able to tackle this or any other pandemic and global challenge.

Overcoming the wide impact of the US blockade on our people and economy, Cuba has sent over 27 brigades with over 2400 healthcare personnel to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and Europe to help fight the COVID-19. Without the blockade, Cuba would be in a position to do much more to help others in need.

In light of all the above, is that we are very thankful for the celebration and deliberations of today’s webinar and believe it to be of the utmost relevance.

I thank you.