The UN human rights chief voiced alarm Friday at the alleged use of excessive force during unprecedented street demonstrations in Cuba, demanding that all those detained simply for protesting be freed.
Michelle Bachelet urged the government to address the protesters’ grievances and also called for the lifting of sanctions against the island.
One person has died and at least 100 people have reportedly been arrested since massive protests erupted across Cuba on Sunday.
“I am very concerned at the alleged use of excessive force against demonstrators in Cuba and the arrest of a large number of people, including several journalists,” UN High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said in a statement.
“It is particularly worrying that these include individuals allegedly held incommunicado and people whose whereabouts are unknown,” she said, stressing that “all those detained for exercising their rights must be promptly released.”
The rallies are the largest since the Cuban revolution of the 1950s and come as the country endures its worst economic crisis in 30 years, with chronic shortages of electricity, food and medicine, just as it records a spike in coronavirus infections.
Cuba’s San Isidro free speech protest movement published late Monday a list of 144 people held or reported as disappeared following the demonstrations in dozens of cities and towns.