UN rights chief urges release of Cuban protesters

UN rights chief urges release of Cuban protesters

In a statement Friday, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called for an investigation into the death of a protester in Havana, a 36-year-old who died Monday during clashes between demonstrators and police.

“I urge the Government to address the protesters’ grievances through dialogue, and to respect and fully protect the rights of all individuals to peaceful assembly and to freedom of opinion and expression,” said Bachelet, a former Chilean president.

She expressed concern over widespread arrests. “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,” she said.

The Cuban government initially blamed social media and the U.S. government for the protests, but Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel later acknowledged shortcomings in his government’s handling of shortages and of neglecting certain sectors.