Cuba to sign international human rights agreements
Campaign News | Thursday, 13 December 2007
BY PEDRO MARGOLLES, Granma International staff writer
CUBA is shortly to sign two important agreements in relation to human rights, announced Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque during a press conference commemorating International Human Rights Day on December 10.
The minister specified that these are the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Both instruments, of widely recognized importance in this area, are fully protected by the national judicial code and particularly by the work and trajectory of the Cuban revolution, he pointed out.
Pérez Roque said that this political decision will be effected in a few months and is an expression of Cuba’s commitment to maintaining close cooperation with the United Nations based on respect for the Cuba’s rights and sovereignty.
He noted that while manipulation of the issue against Cuba was ongoing and the United States had turned the UN Commission into an inquisition of those countries opposed to its imperial domination, and used the issue of human rights to justify its blockade of Cuba, the minimum conditions necessary for Cuba to consider new agreements in this area did not exist.
Pérez Roque explained that the conditions have now changed with the establishing of the Human Rights Council, to which Cuba was elected as a founding member with the support of two-thirds of the international community’s member countries and because, as is well known, the spurious mandates that the U.S. imposed against Cuba in this body have been discontinued.
After 20 years of struggle in defense of Cuba’s dignity, given the new situation in which the issue is not being manipulated and imperialist efforts have been frustrated, the conditions have been created to take new steps to express the political will of the country. Cuba will not act, and has never acted, under pressure, Pérez Roque emphasized.
Once the 3rd UN commission decided to discontinue its spurious anti-Cuban posture, the country has moved forward with several international cooperation agreements, he said.
He offered as an example the recent visit to the island by the UN Secretary for the right to food, and now comes the Cuban government’s decision to sign the aforementioned agreements in the early part of 2008.
The decision is an example of what the country can do without political conditions being applied, without being subjected to unjust measures, he said.
He announced that in March of 2009, Cuba will report to the Council as part of the universal regular mechanism of periodic review established by the new body.
He explained that with the equal treatment of all countries, Cuba is scheduled to be present at that time and a serious report will be prepared in the spirit of cooperation. It will describe the country’s accomplishments and current situation.
He clarified that this will to cooperate will be maintained as long as the principle is held up of no singling out, no selectivity or discriminatory use of the human rights issue to damage countries that do not submit the U.S. imperialism’s dictates.
As long as the new situation is maintained, Cuba is willing to move forward along this path, but if the issue should unfortunately become politicized again, if it should become strained, Cuba will take up the struggle once more.
END TO THE BLOCKADE AND TO TORTURE IN GUANTANAMO
The Cuban foreign minister reiterated the demand that the U.S. government end its brutal blockade against the Cuban people since it constitutes a clear violation of human rights, as has been overwhelmingly affirmed by the UN General Assembly in successive resolutions.
He called for the closing of the torture center operated by the United States on the Guantánamo Naval Base and for the return to Cuba of this illegally occupied territory.
He highlighted the unjust situation of the five Cubans held as prisoners in U.S. penitentiaries and demanded their liberation, as well as visitation rights for two spouses of the prisoners who have not seen their husbands since 1998.
The minister demanded that the government of the United States charge the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles as such and proceed with a trial or extradite him to Venezuela as this country has requested.
During his comments Pérez Roque reiterated the pleasure with which his country received the news of the Guatemalan National Prize for Human Rights being awarded to the Cuban medical brigade working in that country. The volunteers have provided 22 million consultations and assisted 55,000 births.
He recalled that currently 37,000 Cubans, including 18,000 doctors, are working in 79 countries in the area of public health.
He added that the total of patients who have had their sight restored through Operation Miracle Mission in 32 countries is fast approaching one million.
As part of Cuba’s contribution to helping students with few resources, there are now in Cuba 30,000 scholarship students from 121 countries and more are being trained in Cuba, while 45,000 from the Third World have already graduated.
Finally, Pérez Roque recalled Cuba’s support to world literacy efforts with the ‘Yes, I can do it’ method, through which 2,700,000 people in 22 countries have learned to read and write.
For these reasons and for other human rights enjoyed, Cubans can celebrate this day with their heads held high, he concluded.
Translated by Granma International