Cuba's voting record on country resolutions
reflected its hostility towards the Council’s engagement on any situation,
except Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, exposing its strong bias
and contributing to double standards at the Council.
Voting Record in 2016
Voting Record in 2015
Cuba joined the Human Rights Council for a new term in 2014, maintaining its hostile stance towards the Council’s mandate to address country situations. It voted against all resolutions put to a vote under the Council’s agenda Items 2, 4 and 10 – including on Syria, North Korea, Iran and Ukraine. In contrast, it voted in favor of all resolutions focusing on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories (OPT). Furthermore, the only country resolutions Cuba co-sponsored are the ones on Palestine, and the only special session Cuba called for in 2014 was the one on Israeli military operations in Gaza.
The contrast between Cuba’s votes on the resolutions on Palestine and its votes on all other situations raises serious questions about double standards and selectivity in its approach to the Council.
Regrettably, Cuba endorsed a March 2014 joint declaration put forward by Saudi Arabia that backed the government crackdown in Egypt, despite the massive rights violations it entailed.
Cuba intervened in many country specific debates of the Council under Item 4 with the objective of defending countries that blatantly violate human rights. In its statements under Item 10, Cuba called for more technical cooperation and financial support to countries concerned, but generally failed to comment both on the grave human rights abuses in those countries and on the responsibility of governments to uphold their human rights obligations. Cuba’s criticism of the United States and Israel’s human rights records were the only exceptions to its otherwise passive commentary on human rights violations.
Cuba’s approach towards the Council’s mandate to address country situations translates into a willingness to provide political support to its allies, thereby undermining the legitimacy of Council action. Cuba consistently bases its position on political or other considerations, rather than on the gravity of the situation on the ground. Furthermore, in the eyes of the Cuban government, cooperative mechanisms like the UPR are the only legitimate way to address country situations. Cuba has repeated its opposition to country resolutions and country mandates and qualifies them as selective and politicized, as well as biased against countries of the global South.
Cuba should commit to fully implementing the Council’s mandate to address and prevent situations of violations, and base its positions on an assessment of the situation on the ground, the needs of victims, and the international obligations of the government concerned. Cuba should also acknowledge that country-specific resolutions can play a key role in shedding light on abuses, give a stronger voice to victims, and expose violations with a view to ensuring accountability.
Voting record in 2014
Support for key joint statements in 2014
Cuba voted against every country-specific resolution and did not join any of the key joint statements addressing country situations. However, Cuba voted in favor of all the resolutions focusing on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, exposing the double standards in its approach.
Cuba used its statements during country-specific debates to actively contest the establishment of country mandates or the adoption of country-specific resolutions that do not enjoy the support of the concerned state. Cuba continued to use the accusation of double standards as a justification for rejecting these actions by the Council and advocated for cooperation with human rights violators, instead of a focus on accountability.Despite the Council's explicit mandate to address situations of violations and respond promptly to human rights emergencies, Cuba continued to label country-specific action as a politically-motivated "imposition" on the concerned state. In its statements Cuba regularly expressed its support for governments that violate human rights, including countries like North Korea, which the Cuban delegation encouraged to continue its work "promoting and protecting human rights."
Cuba co-sponsored one country-specific
resolution on Somalia in March 2012.