U.S.-Cuba Human Rights Dialogue... One Party Is More Vocal Than The Other.

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC

October 13, 2016

Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Tom Malinowski and Acting Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Mari Carmen Aponte will travel to Havana, Cuba, October 13-15, to co-chair the U.S. delegation for the U.S.-Cuba Human Rights Dialogue.

The U.S.-Cuba Human Rights Dialogue will take place on October 14 in Havana, where officials will discuss the protection of universal human rights in Cuba and the United States. The U.S. delegation will include Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom David Saperstein, Special Representative for International Labor Affairs Sarah Fox, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs John Creamer, U.S. Embassy Havana Charge d’Affaires Jeffrey DeLaurentis, and interagency representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Ambassador Pedro Luis Pedroso Cuesta, Ministry of Foreign Relations Deputy General Director of Multilateral Affairs and International Law will lead the Cuban delegation.

From the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba:

Havana, October 14th 2016. On Friday, October 14th, the second round of the dialogue on human rights between Cuba and the United States took place. Delegations were headed by Ambassador Pedro Luis Pedroso Cuesta, Deputy Director General of the Multilateral Affairs and International Law Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, and Tomasz Malinowski, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of the Department of State of the United States.

The dialogue, in which both parts addressed matters of their interest, was held in a professional and respectful climate, marked by profound differences.

Cuban representatives defended the universality, indivisibility and interdependency of all human rights, and ratified that economic, social and cultural rights should be equally addressed as civil and political rights. They also reaffirmed the need to develop this kind of exchange in full respect for sovereign equality, independence and non-interference in internal affairs.

The Cuban delegation outlined its national reality on the matters under discussion, including the achievements in the promotion and protection of human rights, not only in the benefit of its own people, but also the peoples of many other nations in the world.

As an example of Cuba’s commitment to the protection of human rights, its representatives underscored the high level of ratification of international human rights instruments by the country, being State party to 44 out of 61 of these instruments. They remarked the contrast with the fact that the United States has assumed obligations only towards 18 of these instruments.

Also, Cuban representatives stressed that the economic, commercial and financial blockade suffered and endured by the Cuban people for more than 50 years constitutes a mass, flagrant and systematic violation of its human rights. They stated that if the US Government really intends to promote policies to help Cubans, the imperative is to eliminate the standing restrictions in order to contribute with determination to dismantle this persistent and unjust policy.

The Cuban part also conveyed its concerns regarding the respect for and guarantees to human rights in the United States, including the documented violations to the right to life in light of the deaths by firearms and the police brutality and abuse, in particular against the African American population, and the growing citizen insecurity.

The Cuban delegation mentioned other concerning phenomena in the United States reality. For example: salary inequality between men and women; discrimination against migrants and minorities; low level of unionization and the restrictions therefor; absence of access to social security, health care and education services of many Americans; child labor; and increasing and gross manifestations of racism and racial discrimination.

The Cuban delegation highlighted the human rights violations perpetrated by the United States in other parts of the world, especially in the context of the so-called war on terrorism. In this regard, the delegation emphasized on the acts of torture committed in secret detention centers operated by U.S. forces and the extrajudicial executions, including civilian deaths by the use of drones. The delegation was particularly critical on the topic of the detention center maintained by the U.S. in the illegally occupied territory of the Naval Base in Guantánamo and the tortures and gross violations perpetrated there.

The Cuban delegation drew attention on the double standards and selectivity that prevails in the review and the importance of the right to development, peace and other rights that are indispensable for a comprehensive exercise of all human rights, on which prevails a complicit silence by the mass media.

Even though the exchange of views demonstrated once again that there are profound differences between both governments regarding visions and the exercise of human rights, Cuba ratified its willingness for both countries to relate to each other in a civilized manner within the acknowledgement of and respect to those differences, and to address any subject on the basis of equality, respect, and reciprocity.  (Cubaminrex)