[JURIST] The UN General Assembly (UNGA) [official website] on Wednesday adopted [UNGA press release] by 185-3 a resolution [text, PDF] urging the US to lift its longstanding embargo on Cuba [US Treasury materials]. Only the US, Israel, and Palau voted No; Micronesia and the Marshall Islands abstained. This is the seventeenth consecutive year the Assembly has approved such a non-binding measure, with this year registering the highest number of votes in favor. The draft resolution proposed by Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque [official website] called for:
all states to refrain from promulgating and applying laws and measures…[that]…affect the sovereignty of other States, the legitimate interests of entities or persons under their jurisdiction and the freedom of trade and navigation…[and to conform with]…their obligations under the Charter of the United Nations and international law.
Member envoys supporting the resolution said the economic blockade violated Cuba's sovereignty and the human rights of its people [recorded video] contrary to the UN Charter [text]. US envoy Ronald Godard [official profile] said the US not only has the right to impose economic sanctions, but is also justified to "limit the ability of Cuba's repressive government to benefit and consolidate power through its authoritarian control over the Cuban economy." Reuters has more.
Relations between Cuba and the US [BBC timeline] have been dominated by the US economic blockade against Cuba for the past 46 years. The US has continued to impose increasingly stricter sanctions on the communist island. The most recent were enacted during the Bush and Clinton administrations, and include the Helms-Burton Act [text] and restrictions on travel and aid between families. Cuba has faced accusations of human rights violations [HRW report; JURIST report] from the international community. In February, Cuba signed two key human rights treaties [JURIST report], becoming party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.