H.E. MRS. VILMA
HEAD OF THE DELEGATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA
TO THE 27th SPECIAL
OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS ON CHILDREN
NEW YORK, 10 MAY 2002
As a result of the prevailing unjust international economic order and the excluding nature of the neoliberal globalization, more than two thirds of humankind live in abject poverty and are deprived of their most fundamental right: the right to life. Women, and especially children and adolescents are the most seriously affected.
When the so-called end of the cold war process began, dignitaries and important leaders on both sides started to make promising statements regarding:
- peace and progress for all, and
- the allocation of the vast resources used in the arms race, which -once the nuclear peril was over- would be diverted to health, education, and the eradication of hunger,
Yet, reality ran counter to these promises. With the loss of the balance of power that the former Soviet Union guaranteed, a new unipolar world emerged. A new world characterized by the US hegemonic superpower, whose great economic strength is not used to improve the quality of life of its citizens in need, but to manufacture sophisticated and horrible devices that kill people:
- smart bombs, unmanned flying bombs, heavy bombs, and nuclear devices that contaminate both those who are attacked as well as those who attack; and who knows what else?
- many thousands of Yugoslav, Palestinian, Afghan and Iraqi boys, girls and adolescents have been murdered by these weapons. During the last ten years, many others have also been killed in Iraq, where the Security Council has been used as a tool to deny them full access to food and medicines.
To all this, we must add the repeated use and threat of use of the veto by the United States for hegemonic purposes.
For a long time now, the world has witnessed the unyielding defense of the Palestinian people of its right to self-determination and its everyday heroic battle against the Israeli occupation army. With horror and indignation we receive daily reports on the numbers of people killed, including boys and girls under the age of 17 and even 4-day-old newborns.
This savagery must be stopped!
This inhumanity also engenders the
enormous corruption of thieves and traffickers of girls, boys and adolescents,
and of those who use them and make them the target of abuses, slave labor,
sexual exploitation, prostitution and pornography, with the tragic sequel
of HIV-AIDS and its ever growing number of innocent victims, as well as
of those who sell their organs for transplants. Cuban legislation is very
strict with those who sexually molest children.
In Cuba, since the beginning of the Revolution, NOTHING HAS BEEN MORE IMPORTANT THAN A CHILD, and health and education have been free for the whole population.
Despite the harshening of the criminal economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on our country for over 42 years, the political will and the full participation of all the sectors of society have made possible to achieve an infant mortality rate of 6.2 per 1,000 live births; women are seen by a physician at least 10 times during pregnancy, and there is a child immunization coverage of 95.8% against 13 diseases. Many of these vaccines are manufactured in our country. This has allowed us to donate to the Uruguayan children the necessary doses of the meningitis meningococcal vaccine to combat the outbreak of this disease in that country.
Cuba provides free education and
medical care to 99.2% of girls and boys underfive years of age. The enrollment
rate is 100% in primary education, and 99.7% in
junior high school.
The Charter of the United Nations and the Convention on the Rights of the Child respond to the same principles and purposes that govern and are fully applied in our country. The rejection of the US Government has prevented the universal ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
All children need protection, love
In the streets of many countries the people, weary of all this, are striving to achieve their rights, are standing against lies and corruption, against the main factors responsible for the harsh situation in which they live.
It is extremely urgent to unite the
enormous accumulation of wealth in the world, the immense fund of intelligence
and the positive will to create a more just world, where men and women
can see their daughters and sons grow up without the dreadful threats that
endanger the whole creative work of humanity today.