75 UNGA: Statement by the Cuban delegation at the interactive panel discussion on the International Day of Human Fraternity. New York, 4 February 2021

First, I would like to thank the Alliance of Civilizations and in particular, to Mr. Moratinos for its leadership in the promotion of a culture of peace and tolerance within the complex international situation we are going through. I also thank the Missions of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates for their efforts to declare the International Day of Human Fraternity.

Commemorating each year a day dedicated to fraternity among human beings will contribute to the implementation of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace. The promotion of peace, peaceful coexistence, tolerance, mutual respect, international cooperation and solidarity, which are part of the feeling of fraternity, are principles and values that Cuba fully shares.

The promotion of a culture of peace and tolerance among the various religions and forms of civilization is vital. There can be neither economic development nor social justice for all without peace and an environment of respect for our legitimate differences.

There have been many positive examples in recent years with regard to the promotion of peace, dialogue and understanding between religions and cultures. One of them is the meeting held in Havana in 2016 between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill. This meeting was the first of its kind in a millennium.

However, for there to be peace, the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and International Law must be strictly observed, in particular the prohibition of the use and threat of use of force, non-interference in internal affairs, respect for sovereignty and self-determination.

The removal of unilateral coercive measures which are contrary to the UN Charter and International Law is also inherent to the purpose of fostering the culture of peace and human fraternity.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the inequities, inequalities and injustices of the current international order. We have seen with astonishment the lack of solidarity and the advance of unilateralism, particularly in some of the most developed countries.

It is also alarming that the pandemic is being used to encourage supremacist, racist and xenophobic ideas, which only spark off division and confrontation between and within countries.

Only through international cooperation and dialogue respectful for our differences will we be able to move forward together in solving the common problems we face, including COVID-19, racial discrimination, religious intolerance and xenophobia.

To this end, it will be indispensable to support platforms that promote peace, dialogue, tolerance and mutual respect, such as the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and, from this year on, the International Day of Human Fraternity. In this endeavor, you can count on Cuba, because we are a country of peace.

Thank you.