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Public Papers - 1989

Statement on the United Nations Human Rights Commission Report on Cuba

1989-02-27

I wish to express my support for the U.N. Human Rights Commission's report on human rights in Cuba. We find the report full, balanced, and objective. Consideration of Cuba marks a watershed in the U.N. treatment of human rights abuses. For too long, the U.N. has focused on small countries which lack extensive support within the organization. Many of those countries today are either functioning democracies or have taken significant steps on the road toward full democracy. Meanwhile, longstanding violators of human rights have enjoyed immunity from scrutiny and have even fostered human rights investigations into other countries.

For more than 30 years, the people of Cuba have languished under a regime which has distinguished itself as one of the most repressive in the world. Last year the international community won an important victory when the U.N. Human Rights Commission decided to conduct a full investigation into the situation in Cuba. The report which was released in Geneva is based on firsthand testimony about persistent violations of human rights in that country and is the culmination of that investigation.

The United States firmly believes that this report should begin a long-term effort to bring about true and lasting changes in the Cuban Government's performance on human rights. In the year since the U.N. Human Rights Commission decided to investigate Cuba, there have been slight and superficial improvements. But much more needs to be done before the Cuban people can truly be said to enjoy the rights guaranteed them by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I call upon other members of the Commission and all countries that value freedom to maintain pressure on the Cuban Government by continuing U.N. monitoring of the human rights situation in Cuba. The people of Cuba and oppressed people everywhere look to the U.N. as their last best hope. We must not disappoint them.

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