India reiterates call for lifting US sanctions against Cuba

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Published: November 7, 2019 9:22:37 PM

As the General Assembly began its annual debate on the matter, representatives lamented that the blockade, now in its 57th year, was strengthened in 2018 and 2019 following steps toward normalisation undertaken between Cuba and the United States in 2015 and 2016.

Naidu said every year the General Assembly has rejected the imposition of laws and regulations with extra-territorial impact and all other forms of coercive economic measures that hurt the progress and prosperity of the people the world over.

India reiterated its support for the lifting of sanctions imposed over five decades ago by the US against Cuba, calling on the international community to intensify efforts to promote an environment free from sanctions and embargoes. India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador K Nagaraj Naidu during the General Assembly session on ‘necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the US against Cuba’ stressed that the continued embargo severely impacts the country’s ability to implement the 2030 Development Agenda.

“People to people contact holds immense possibilities for fostering better understanding between nations. The international community needs to intensify its efforts to promote an environment free from sanctions and embargoes. India hopes that the embargo will be withdrawn at the earliest,” Naidu said here on Wednesday.

Naidu said four years ago, while launching the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the world leaders had strongly urged all States to refrain from any unilateral economic, financial or trade measures not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations.

“The continued embargo would severely impact Cuba’s ability to implement the comprehensive 2030 Agenda. Cuba’s expertise in healthcare, achieved despite such conditions, enabled it to respond quickly and effectively, in a substantial manner, to the call made by the UN General Assembly five years ago to all nations to respond to the Ebola crisis in Africa,” he said.

Diplomats from around the world joined the call for an end to the US’ long-standing economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba, with many States criticising the Donald Trump administration for intensifying sanctions and restrictions against the Caribbean island nation over the past year.

As the General Assembly began its annual debate on the matter, representatives lamented that the blockade, now in its 57th year, was strengthened in 2018 and 2019 following steps toward normalisation undertaken between Cuba and the United States in 2015 and 2016.

Member States from Latin America and elsewhere called the embargo an illegal affront to the international community that jeopardises not just health and welfare of the people of Cuba but the entire region’s development.

“There can be little doubt that the continued existence of this embargo, in contravention of the overwhelming world opinion as expressed by this Assembly, undermines multilateralism and the credibility of the United Nations itself,” Naidu said.

Naidu said every year the General Assembly has rejected the imposition of laws and regulations with extra-territorial impact and all other forms of coercive economic measures that hurt the progress and prosperity of the people the world over.

The General Assembly has also called upon all States to refrain from promulgating and applying and to repeal and invalidate laws and measures that have extra-territorial effects affecting the sovereignty of other States, in conformity with their obligations under the UN Charter and international law.

India, as the world’s largest democracy, stands in solidarity with the General Assembly in its “unambiguous rejection of domestic laws having extraterritorial impact.

“Such embargoes have the effect of impeding the full achievement of economic and social development by the population of the affected country, in particular children and women. They also hinder the full enjoyment of human rights, including the right to development, food, medical care and social services, among other things,” Naidu said.

Naidu noted that successive reports of the Secretary General have established, with this year’s report being no exception, that the embargo, particularly through its extraterritorial effects, has adversely affected the Cuban people and the development efforts of the country. He acknowledged the notable socio-economic and developmental achievements of the Cuban people, in particular the high HDI ranking of Cuba and its achievement of several SDGs.

Last year, diplomats representing more than 135 countries, including India, had overwhelmingly called on the Trump administration to end America’s economic, commercial and financial embargo against the Caribbean island, saying the nearly six-decade-long blockade impedes Cuba’s right to development and its ability to participate fully in the global economy.

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