August 3, 2021

NEWS AGENCY OF NIGERIA

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UN rights chief calls for prompt release of Journalists held in Cuba

 

By Cecilia Ologunagba

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Michelle Bachelet, on Friday, called for prompt release of protestors and journalists detained during anti-government demonstrations in Cuba, some of whom are being held incommunicado.

The massive protests started on Sunday and the biggest in decades, with thousands taking to the streets across the Caribbean island nation.

They took to the streets to demand lifting of economic measures which restricted access to basic goods, including food, medicine and COVID-19 vaccines.

More than 100 people have been arrested, according to media reports.

The UN rights chief said she was concerned at the alleged use of excessive force against protestors, and the large number of arrests.

She added that “it is particularly worrying that these include individuals allegedly held incommunicado and people whose whereabouts are unknown. All those detained for exercising their rights must be promptly released.”

Bachelet also lamented the death of one person in protests in Havana.

She underlined the importance of conducting “an independent, transparent, effective investigation” into the incident, and for those responsible to be held accountable.

“I urge government to address the protesters’ grievances through dialogue and to respect and fully protect the rights of individuals to peaceful assembly and to freedom of opinion and expression.”

The commissioner also urged authorities to fully restore access to the Internet and social media.

She reiterated her appeal for the lifting of sectoral sanctions, noting that it could impact on human rights, including the right to health. (NAN)

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