My delegation associates itself with the statement delivered by Palestine on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
Forty-four years after the First World Conference on Women and almost twenty-five years after the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, significant progress has been made: the number of girls in school has increased, as well as the number of paid working women and those who are elected to carry out public responsibilities and leadership roles. Women have acquired broader property and inheritance rights when getting married or divorced on the same terms as men as well as access to employment. These advances show that it is possible to reduce gender inequalities through public action.
However, although these achievements are very important, it cannot yet be argue that men and women enjoy equal rights worldwide.
Women make up 70% of the more than 2.7 billion poor people across the world and two-thirds of the nearly 800 million illiterate adults. More than 300,000 die every year from preventable complications during childbirth, 99% in the countries of the South.
Nearly 90% of war victims are civilians, most of them women, senior citizens, girls and boys. Women’s representation in parliaments worldwide is only 24.3%.
Progress towards the full realization of gender equality and women’s empowerment requires, first and foremost, the achievement of a fair and equitable international order that eradicates poverty and hunger, puts an end to armed conflicts, ensures the value of human beings above capital and preserves the environment.
Cuba is proud to show tangible results in the advancement and empowerment of women and girls. We were the first country to sign and the second to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
The new Constitution of the Republic maintains and reaffirms the principle of equality and non-discrimination. It guarantees women the exercise of their sexual and reproductive rights, protects them from violence in any of its manifestations and spaces, and creates the institutional and legal mechanisms for this purpose. All of this reinforces the State's stated commitment to the principle of gender equality.
In Cuba, the presence of women in the National Assembly of the People's Power represents 53.22%. This figure places it as the second parliament in the world with the largest female participation.
Universal and free education is a strategic foundation for promoting the involvement and empowerment of women and girls, as well as making significant progress in eradicating prejudices and all forms of discrimination and violence.
Sexual and reproductive rights, including the right to abortion and to make free and responsible decisions on fertility, are guaranteed and included in Cuba’s health services.
In order to eliminate violence against women and girls all unilateral coercive measures must be removed. In this regard, the intensified economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba for almost 60 years is an obstacle to the full development of the country and the advancement of women. It is also a form of direct and indirect violence affecting and hindering Cuban women’s enjoyment of fundamental rights, including their right to development.
Allow me to conclude by reaffirming Cuba's political will to comply with the international agreements adopted on women's rights.
Thank you very much.