One hundred and seventy member states of the UN General Assembly supported our selection with their vote, October 13, expressing overwhelming international recognition of the Cuban Revolution’s work in the field of human rights
Author: Enrique Moreno Gimeranez
The President of the Republic of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, described as a “resounding victory” the election of our country to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the period 2021-2023.
One hundred and seventy member states of the UN General Assembly – 88% of the organization’s members – supported our selection with their vote, October 13, expressing overwhelming international recognition of the Cuban Revolution’s work in the field of human rights.
This result is even more significant given that it was achieved amidst an imperialist campaign of lies and coercion against our nation.
The United States, with a lamentable human rights record, withdrew from the Council in 2018, but the State Department issued a statement expressing concern about the election of China, Russia and Cuba to the body.
Cuba’s ambassador in Washington, José Ramón Cabañas, commented on Twitter, “The State Department made a statement today complaining about the Human Rights Council elections. It has decided to withdraw from all international bodies in which it cannot impose its will. When we were boys playing baseball, the loser always threatened to take his bats, balls and gloves home.”
Clearly, the United States once again finds itself totally isolated, and this is an appropriate moment to remind Washington that the blockade and its unilateral policy of hostility constitute a flagrant, massive and systematic violation of the human rights of the Cuban people and the main obstacle to the country’s development.
In the face of such aggression, there are plenty of reasons to re-confirm that the promotion and protection of human rights for all, based on the universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated nature of these rights, is a priority in Cuba. Our country has achieved significant success in this area, thanks to the political will of the government and the active participation of the people in all areas of national life.
Our country is party to 44 of the 61 international human rights instruments and has continued to fulfil its commitments and obligations in this regard.
Likewise, as a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Cuba has designed national plans, policies and programs, incorporating the Convention’s postulates, to ensure its implementation.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has recognized the country’s achievements in the care of children, particularly full access to culture, education and health.
The principle of honoring the best interests of children is fully integrated in national legislation, and constitutes a guiding maxim in the administrative, educational, family, legal and judicial arenas, as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Minrex) notes.
In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) certified Cuba as the first country to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and congenital syphilis, and in June 2019 confirmed these results for the third time, in the period 2015-2019.
Articles 72 and 73 of the Cuban Constitution recognize access to both public health and education, as rights of all persons. “The right to education, which has constitutional standing, is guaranteed by a broad, free system of schools, extended-day schools, boarding schools and scholarships, in all types and levels of education; and the additional provision of educational materials free of charge,” Minrex notes.
Cuba has constructed a universal, free and accessible public health system, at all levels throughout national territory, while our international medical cooperation programs contribute to the promotion and protection of the right to health of millions of human beings around the world.
The Henry Reeve International Contingent specializing in disaster situations and serious epidemics received the Public Health Memorial Award in 2017 in memory of Dr. Lee Jong-wook, awarded by the WHO Executive Board, and thanks to the literacy program Yo sí puedo (UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize in 2006 and Mestres 68 Prize in 2012) more than nine million people have learned to read and write in more than 30 states.
CUBAN HEALTH INDICATORS
Life expectancy: 78.45 years
Infectious diseases eliminated: 14
Doctors: 97,202 one doctor for every 116 inhabitants.
Dentists: 19 825, one for every 556 inhabitants.
CUBAN INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION (1963-APRIL 2020)
87 countries and territories have received Cuban collaboration.
More than 1.949 million cases have been addressed.
More than 14 million surgeries performed.
More than 4 million births assisted.
More than 14.7 million vaccines administered.
Collaborators: More than 3,700
Medical brigades: 52
Countries and territories aided: 39
CUBAN COOPERATION WITH THE UN IN THE FIELD OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Cuba was elected a founding member of the Human Rights Council for the period 2006-2009 and served on the body for the periods 2009-2012, 2014-2016 and 2017-2019.
This is the fifth time that Cuba will occupy a seat in this UN body. Our country brings to the body “its own constructive voice, its experience as a developing country that defends dialogue and cooperation, opposes punitive approaches and selectivity, favors the promotion and protection of all human rights for all,” the Cuban Foreign Ministry states.