As long as selectivity, punitive practices, double standards and political manipulation continue, particularly against countries of the South, the international community will not be able to make real progress regarding the promotion and protection of all human rights for all persons.
These pernicious phenomena have already led to the disappearance of the Commission on Human Rights. However, it would seem that the lesson has not been learned, since those practices become increasingly common in the work of the Human Rights Council and threaten to discredit it.
It is regrettable that some countries seek to use the Human Rights Council and its special procedures for hegemonic purposes, outside this body's mandate.
The situation of developing countries becomes evident, several of which are subjected to the imposition of unilateral coercive measures, while complicit silence is kept in the face of the daily human rights abuses that take place in developed countries.
In this regard, we reiterate the need for the principles of universality, objectivity and non-discrimination to prevail when addressing the human rights issue; and we recall that special procedures mandate holders must observe the Code of Conduct adopted during the institution-building process of the Human Rights Council.
Selectivity sparks off confrontation and does not improve the human rights situation on the ground. Dialogue allows for the identification of common challenges, understanding and getting to respect differences.
That is why the Universal Periodic Review is so significant, the only mechanism that allows for the comprehensive review of the human rights situation in all countries and on an equal footing.
Human rights are based on universal and shared values and therefore they do not belong exclusively to any political, economic, social or cultural system or to any form of civilization. Hence, attempts to impose the vision of some on all others must cease.
The strengthening of the Human Rights Council, on the basis of its mandate and its character as a subsidiary body to the General Assembly, is an objective we share, and which must be pursued in strict compliance with the so-called "Institution Building Package". The Council can and should work better, which involves avoiding the entrenchment of double standards.
The Council could do much more in terms of promoting the right to development, to peace, to a healthy environment, and to international solidarity, rights which are paradoxically denied by some of the countries that use this body against nations of the South.
The Council could also contribute much more to the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order. As long as the current order persists, which is unjust by nature, hegemonic interests, underdevelopment, and exclusion will prevail, and human rights will continue to be a pipe-dream for millions of people.
Despite the fierce smear campaign organized and financed by the United States against Cuba, and the genocidal blockade that that government has been imposing on us for six decades and which it has intensified in times of pandemic, my country has continued making progress in the promotion and protection of all human rights for all, with tangible results.
Based on that experience, we will work as members of the Human Rights Council in the period 2021-2023.
As a member of the body, Cuba's own voice will continue to defend the right of peoples to self-determination, peace and development, which are indispensable; and to oppose manipulation, selectivity and double standards in the consideration of human rights.
Thank you very much.