On September 21, 2018, the U.N. Human Rights Council held a meeting in its 39th regular session. An important item on the agenda was the final review of the latest Universal Periodic Reviews of the human rights records of three more states, including Cuba.
Just before this session, the Council provided an Addendum to Cuba’s national report that listed its responses to the 339 recommendations that had been made by other U.N. Members and Stakeholders. Of these 339 recommendations, Cuba had “supported” (accepted or noted) 309, and rejected 30 in the following categories
|Improve freedoms of assembly & association||13.0|
|End arbitrary detentions||4.0|
|Release prisoners of conscience||3.0|
|Recognize rights of political activists||2.0|
|Respect independent media||2.0|
|Allow independent monitoring of detention||1.5|
|Establish independent judiciary||1.5|
|Allow complaints to treaty bodies||1.0|
|Allow multiparty elections (U.S.)||1.0|
|End coercive labor||0.5|
|Increase laws against human trafficking||0.5|
Cuba’s Ambassador, Pedro Pedrosa, made introductory and concluding statements that included the following comments:
- Cuba had rejected 30 of the recommendations because they were “politically skewed” and some reflected the “hegemonic ambitions of some [the U.S.] to undermine Cuban systems.” He also condemned the U.S. embargo (blockade) as a “massive, flagrant and systematic violation of human rights.”
- For Cuba, ratification of an international treaty is a “very serious process” and is never made under pressure, again referring to the “hostile policies of the U.S. against the Cuban people.”
- Cuba is against the death penalty and has not had an execution since 1923. However, it needs to keep the death penalty because of terrorism.
- Cuba has a “system of independent courts to insure “ respect for human rights.
- In 2017 Cuba welcomed two international human rights monitors (human trafficking and international solidarity).
- Cuba calls for democracy and international governance of the Internet and the end of the digital divide and monopolies of these technologies.
- Cuba is proud of the accomplishments of its Revolution and its contributions to the broadening of human rights.
- Reforms in Cuba can only happen with true international and impartial cooperation.
- The UPR process should not be a forum for attacks or proposals by foreign powers [U.S.].
- Cuba rejects “rash” comments at this session by the World Evangelical Alliance and the Christianity Global Solidarity because they ignore the Cuban reality of religious freedom and right to change religion. Nevertheless, he invited these organizations to visit Cuba.
- He also criticized the comments from Amnesty International and U.N. Watch.
 U.N. Hum. Rts. Council, Documentation (39th Regular Session). Previous posts about the current (and other) Cuba UPRs are listed in the “Cuban Human Rights” section of List of Posts to dwkcommentaries.com—Topical: CUBA.
 U.N. Hum. Rts. Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Cuba: Addendum (Sept. 18, 2018) (views on conclusions and/or recommendations, voluntary commitments and replies presented by the State under review).