Cuba reiterates its commitment to cooperate with the UN human rights system

Final speech by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, at the presentation of Cuba's National Report to the Third Cycle of the Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Examination (UPR), Geneva, 16 may 2018.

Mr. President:

Twitter, which predates the UPR by a few years, has doubled the number of characters it allows; the Human Rights Council should consider following suit and allowing more time for the member states' speeches.

We are grateful to those who have participated in this dialogue and have made recommendations, on the basis of respect for the principles of sovereignty and non-interference in domestic affairs.

It is regrettable that certain countries are continuing to manipulate the human rights question for political ends, to justify the embargo on Cuba and the "change of regime". They have no moral authority and on the contrary are the perpetrators of extensive, well documented and unpunished violations of human rights; they ride roughshod over the aims of the Universal Periodic Examination and persist in selectivity, double standards and the politicization of human rights.

These practices, which in recent years have started to reemerge, discredited the extinct Commission on Human Rights and prompted its replacement by this Council. We will be on a retrograde path if we allow such deviant practices to be consolidated in the Council's work.
Respectful dialogue reflecting the principles of objectivity, impartiality and non-selectivity; and the respect for each people's self-determination, its right to decide its own political, economic, social and cultural system, and its development model, are the cornerstone of international cooperation in this area.

We shall be looking in depth at the recommendations we have received and will respond to them in September 2018.

A small number of the recommendations have an interventionist character, contrary to the spirit of cooperation and respect on which this exercise is based. One of the recommendations is strange: it is the United States which is prohibiting its citizens from travelling to Cuba and restricts their freedom to travel; it is Washington which is denying Cubans, Cuban families, consular services and visa issue at its embassy in Havana.

Cuba reiterates its commitment to cooperate with the UN human rights system and in particular with this council and its universally applicable and non-discriminatory mechanisms.

We are keeping to our "socialist and democratic revolution, with the humble and for the humble" proclaimed by Commander-In-Chief Fidel Castro and inspired by José Martí's brotherly formula: "With everyone and for the benefit of everyone".

I offer my thanks the member states, to the Secretary and to you, Mr. President.

Many thanks.