DPR: Statement – Cuban Permanent Representative UN Ambassador Pedro Luis Pedroso Cuesta: Reasons for Voting on Draft Resolution – Termination of Rights of the Russian Federation – Removal from Human Rights Council (8.4.2022)

Mr. President:

Cuba has always stood up and worked for the creation of a Human Rights Council capable of meeting the complex challenges facing the international community in this area, from which no country is exempt.​ We stand for objectivity, impartiality and transparency in the work of this body, as well as for its procedures and mechanisms to work on the basis of truthful and verified information. The use of the termination clause will in no way contribute to the search for a peaceful, negotiated and lasting solution to the conflict in Ukraine, let alone contribute to the climate of cooperation, dialogue and understanding that should prevail in addressing the issue of human rights. Moreover, it is disrespectful that just a few days before the end of the regular session of the Human Rights Council, this body was not even given the opportunity to speak on this issue.

Mr. President:

From the beginning of the negotiation process for a new Council to replace the Commission on Human Rights, Cuba has opposed the termination clause due to the serious risk that it will be used by some countries that advocate double standards, selectivity and politicization of issues human rights.​ This provision can be activated with the support of only two-thirds of those present and voting; thus, abstentions are not counted, and there is not even a minimum required number of votes to approve the termination procedure.​ To be elected as a member of the Human Rights Council, a country must receive the support of a majority of UN members, i.e. at least 97 votes, by secret ballot.​ ​ Thus, the rights of a member of the Council can be suspended at the will of even fewer states than those that have decided to elect her and grant her these rights. The Russian Federation, which was elected a member of the Human Rights Council in 2020 with 158 votes, could be removed today with fewer votes. This suspending mechanism, unparalleled in any other UN body, can easily be used selectively. Today it is Russia, but tomorrow it could be any of our countries, especially the countries of the South, which do not bow to the interests of domination and firmly defend their independence. It is no coincidence that the strongest proponents of the termination clause when the new Human Rights Council was being negotiated were the developed countries, with a proven tendency to blame the countries of the South for not conforming to their supposed models of democracy, while remaining silent in the face of egregious human rights violations against persons in Western countries.​ Of course, not everyone in this room shares our concerns about the termination mechanism, for they know that others will always be the victims of its selective application. Will this Assembly ever pass a resolution ending US membership in the Human Rights Council, to give just one example?​ We all know that this has not happened and will not happen, despite their flagrant and massive violations of human rights, as a result of invasions and predatory wars against sovereign states, for the sake of their geopolitical interests. Their actions have killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, whom they refer to as “collateral damage”; millions of displaced people; great destruction across the geography of our planet, but this Assembly has never terminated any of their rights.​ We also all know that the termination clause will not apply to a state that has imposed a criminal economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba for more than 60 years, which, without a doubt, represents the longest, egregious, massive and systematic violation of human rights of an entire people and a real act of genocide against an entire country. In this regard, it is at least ironic to observe that the country that opposed the creation of the Human Rights Council and asked in this very room to vote against the resolution that created it is the same country that is now, as it was in 2011, has activated at a convenient time for one of the most controversial points of this forum.

Mr. President:​

Cuba will abide by the reservations it made to the termination mechanism at the time of the adoption of resolution 60/251 in 2006 establishing the Human Rights Council and resolution 65/265 in 2011 ending the rights of Libya. The adoption of the draft resolution we are considering today will set another dangerous precedent, in particular for the South.​ It is not enough for them to impose resolutions against countries and electoral mandates. Now they intend to take a new step towards the legitimization of selectivity and the creation of a Human Rights Council, which will increasingly be at the service of certain countries, as the now defunct and discredited Commission on Human Rights once was. Based on the foregoing, the delegation of Cuba will vote against draft resolution A/ES-11/L.4.

Thanks a lot.

New York, 7 April 2022

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