Delegate Name: Ema Bekic
Definition of Genocide
Republic of Cuba
Ema Bekic, Forest Hills Northern High School
Unquestionably, the issue of Genocide stands as an enduring concern within international relations. The Republic of Cuba understands its fundamental role in defining the act of genocide and, more specifically, defining the intent and evaluating risk factors leading up to it. At the 1949 Geneva Conventions, following the end of World War II, the Fourth Geneva Convention established the protection of civilians in areas of armed conflict and occupied territories. Civilians, no matter their race, religion, or nationality, were to be safeguarded from murder, torture, and other heinous crimes.
Cuba believes that there is no justification for violating the basics of international humanitarian law, which include international terrorism, transnational crime, and other scourges that are plaguing humanity’s well-being. Following Cuba’s ratification of the Geneva Conventions in 1954, the Republic has passed legislation, such as the Military Penal Code, and worked closely with organizations such as the Center for the Study of International Humanitarian Law (CEDIH) in order to adhere to its promise to the principles of the Conventions. Moreover, the Cuban National Society of the Red Cross signed a collaboration agreement with the International Committee of the Red Cross to disseminate International Humanitarian Law (IHL).
The 1949 Geneva Conventions were the fundamental building blocks for the prevention of genocide; however, the Conventions only marginally touched base upon indirect acts of Genocide, which opened the door to ambiguous interpretations from various parties. Through these acts of omission, Cuba recognizes the importance of intent behind every international policy that may have indirect consequences leading to genocide.
Cuba acknowledges that there cannot be a perfect definition to prevent and evaluate genocide. The Republic urges member nations to assess indirect acts of Genocide, with the most prominent example being restrictions on trade or travel, which can have drastic effects on the peoples of impacted countries. Cuba has first-hand experience with these indirect effects. Through restrictions on pharmaceuticals, food, and aid, many Cubans have died. These restrictions, with definitively proven intent, are and should be considered genocidal. Cuba recommends amending the current Geneva Conventions in order to accommodate these indirect acts of genocide. By implementing these amendments, Nations can begin to prosper without the hindrance of harmful acts destroying their people’s lives.