Human Rights, a Priority and Commitment for Cuba

By Luisa Maria Gonzalez, Geneva, May 17 (Prensa Latina) The promotion and protection of human rights is a priority and commitment for Cuba in its development plans, aimed at promoting a more just society and that is favorable to the full realization of the human being.

This was evidenced yesterday during the presentation of the national report to the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council, which took place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, before a large audience present in the room.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodriguez, explained in detail the extensive work done by the State, the government and civil society in order to guarantee the full enjoyment of rights, with emphasis on the progress made in the last five years.

According to the Minister, the Revolution ‘continues committed to increasing the quality of life, welfare and social justice for all our people, materializing all human rights.’

This is part, he asserted, of the will to perfect the development model to ‘build a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable nation, by strengthening the institutional framework of our political system, of a genuinely participatory nature, with full popular support.’

The report presented covers the achievements and the numerous areas in which we are currently working, in a context of updating the social and economic model of the island.

In this regard, the vast legal and institutional framework in force in the Caribbean country stands out, with new provisions such as the recent Labor Code aimed at strengthening rights in the workplace, on issues such as non-discrimination, freedom of association and rights to syndication and collective bargaining.

Likewise, a new decree-law that expands and establishes new rights for the mother, the father, for the family in general, with a view to reinforcing the protection of motherhood and the care of children, was approved.

The text refers to the numerous actions taken to guarantee, for example, the right to life, the right to participate in the management of political affairs, freedoms of opinion and expression, access to information through new technologies, and the protection of the right to equality and non-discrimination.

To this, the rights of specific social groups such as women, children, the elderly and the disabled; the right to health, to education, to culture, to work, to security and social assistance, to food and to adequate housing are added.

Another point addressed refers to international solidarity and cooperation developed with numerous countries in areas such as health, education and human resources training.

In this aspect, the participation of Cuba and other countries with the World Health Organization (WHO) to face the deadly Ebola epidemic in African nations stands out, for which the Henry Reeve brigade was awarded the Prize of Public Health in memory of the doctor Lee Jong-wook, by the WHO.

Precisely, international collaboration in sectors such as health and education was one of the topics most praised by the dozens of nations that participated in the exercise.

In fact, the Cuban presentation generated high expectations as representatives of 143 countries took the floor to make more than 300 recommendations, a record number of interventions in the history of UPR.

The Cuban Minister pointed out that despite the broad progress made in human rights, dissatisfactions persist and great efforts are made to resolve the difficulties.

Rodriguez detailed the priorities for the future, among which stand out to continue to advance in the updating of the model of economic and social development, and the strengthening of the legal-institutional framework for the promotion and protection of human rights.

He also mentioned the improvement of the political system and the Cuban model of socialist democracy, and the defense of values and of national unity and independence.

‘With these objectives, we will soon embark on a process of reform of our Constitution, which will surely be characterized by broad popular participation,’ he predicted.

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