India reiterated its support for the lifting of all sanctions imposed five decades ago by the US against Cuba, saying the continued existence of the embargo undermines multilateralism and the credibility of the UN itself.
Diplomats representing more than 135 countries including India overwhelmingly called on the Trump administration to end its 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.
“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 India hopes that the embargo will be withdrawn at the earliest,” India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Tanmaya Lal said on Wednesday.
Lal was participating in the General Assembly session on ‘Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial Blockade against Cuba’.
The representatives stressed that the US must heed the Assembly’s repeated calls to lift its restrictive policies. Delegates noted that from April 2017 to June this year, the impact of the US embargo on Cuba’s foreign trade amounts to more than $4 billion.
Lal said that every year, the General Assembly 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.
Last year, 191 member states voted in favour of the resolution, expressing their strong support to lifting of the embargo.
He said 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.
“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,” Lal said.
He said that India stands in solidarity with the General Assembly in its unambiguous rejection of domestic laws having extra-territorial 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,” he said.
Lal noted that the embargo, particularly through its extra-territorial effects, has adversely affected the Cuban people and the development efforts of the country and stressed that the continued embargo would severely impact Cuba’s ability to implement the comprehensive 2030 Agenda.
Speakers also voiced concern over the recent policy shifts in Washington that are undoing progress made in 2015 and 2016 to normalise bilateral ties with Cuba.
The current US administration is pursuing efforts to strengthen the blockade, they added.