General Assembly

General Assembly: 26th plenary meeting, 77th session…

General Assembly: 26th plenary meeting, 77th session
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Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba - Item 36.

The General Assembly, acting without a vote, today adopted a resolution calling on all States which have not yet signed onto the Rome Statute — the international treaty that created the International Criminal Court at a conference in Rome in 1998 — to contemplate joining without delay.

By the terms of the resolution, the Assembly called upon States parties to adopt national legislation that will implement their obligations and work with the Court in the exercise of its functions.  Welcoming the assistance provided thus far, the Assembly also called upon those States under the obligation to do so to cooperate in the future, particularly on arrest and surrender, the provision of evidence, the protection and relocation of victims and witnesses, and the enforcement of sentences.

Further, the resolution emphasized the importance of fully carrying out the Rome Statute’s Relationship Agreement, which forms a framework for close cooperation between the Court and the United Nations, and urged all States parties to take into account the Court’s interests, needs for assistance and mandate when relevant matters are being discussed in the United Nations.  The text encouraged States to contribute to the Trust Fund for Victims and looked forward to the twenty-second session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, scheduled for 4 to 14 December 2023 in New York.

In the debate on the report prior to the text’s adoption, the representative of Mali spotlighted the Court’s work in relation to crimes committed in the northern regions of his country.  Urging States not to obstruct the Court, the observer for the State of Palestine expressed his support for substantive increases in the that body’s budget.

Seven speakers took the rostrum today for the Assembly’s continued review of the International Court of Justice report, which covers the period 1 August 2021 to 31 July 2022, with the representatives of Senegal, India and Georgia referencing the diversity of the Court’s cases as a sign of its importance.  Agreeing that its cases reflect a high level of trust in the institution, the Russian Federation’s delegate urged the Court to resist political blackmail.

The representative of the Philippines and the observer for the State of Palestine encouraged the Security Council to make greater use of the Court’s advisory function while Bolivia’s speaker expressed his hope that the Court’s ruling will enable a peaceful and amicable coexistence between his country and Chile.

The Assembly also began its debate on the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba, with many delegations calling for an immediate end to the sanctions.  Some representatives also raised concerns about the additionally damaging effects of the United States’ inclusion of Cuba on its list of State Sponsors of Terrorism.

In citing the Secretary-General’s reports on the matter — documents A/76/405 and A/77/358 — Singapore’s representative, speaking on behalf of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said the embargo continues to cast a long shadow on the well-being, health and development prospects of the Cuban people.  It violates the rights of the Cuban people to life and health, inhibits better regional relations and detracts from the Assembly’s efforts to “leave no country behind” in its pursuit of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  It also hampers Cuba’s inclusion in the global economy by restricting concessional financing access, technology transfers, external capital mobilization and direct, foreign investment, the representative of Argentina continued.

Such unilateral coercive measures are not authorized by relevant United Nations organs; are inconsistent with the principles of international law, contravene the basic principles of the multilateral trading system and constitute a tool of political and financial pressure against developing countries in particular, the representative of Azerbaijan pointed out, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

In drawing a comparison to his country, Iran’s speaker said that Cuba was paying for its resistance to and independence from the United States’ colonialist policies.

“It is an act of genocide within the meaning of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,” Belarus’ delegate noted.  Echoing this description, his counterpart from Bolivia added that the embargo is also an act of economic warfare since it profoundly affects Cuba’s construction, tourism, transport, civil aviation and sugar industries.

Despite the Assembly’s repeated resolutions, the United States has continued to act unilaterally, the representative of Eritrea said, speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations.  “The rejection of this aggravation of the Cuban people is not a question of sympathies or ideologies.  It is a matter of defending justice, international law and the elementary sense of humanity that should prevail,” she insisted.  To oppose the blockade is to act on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of families who are victims of a logic of domination that is inconsiderable in the twenty-first century.

If the United States is the bastion of democracy, then it must listen to the Assembly’s overwhelming voices which have unanimously and repeatedly called for the lifting of the embargo, the representative of Equatorial Guinea emphasized.

In other business today, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, a draft resolution introduced by Singapore on the organizational arrangements for plenary meetings devoted to the consideration of “Oceans and the law of the sea” and the commemoration of the fortieth anniversary of the opening for signature of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.  The organizational arrangements for the plenary meetings on 8 and 9 December are outlined in the annex of the text (document A/77/L.6).

Also delivering statements today were the representatives of the Dominican Republic (on behalf of the Central American Integration System), Argentina (on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), Pakistan (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Bahamas (on behalf of Caribbean Community), Egypt (on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation), Mozambique (on behalf of the African Group), Mexico, Venezuela, Honduras, Russian Federation, China, Namibia, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago, Philippines, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Viet Nam, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Syria, Colombia, Guyana, Kenya and Cambodia.

Speaking in explanation of their vote were the representatives of the Russian Federation and Israel.

The representative of Israel spoke in exercise of the right of reply as did an observer for the State of Palestine.