News in Brief 15 December 2015 (PM)

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Street scene in Camajuaní, a municipality and town in the Villa Clara Province of Cuba. Photo: PAHO/WHO

Concern voiced over arbitrary arrests in Cuba

Concern has been voiced by the UN over the arbitrary arrest and detention of individuals in Cuba.

The UN Human Rights Chief said that human rights defenders and dissidents had been targeted in recent weeks, a situation which he described as "harassment".

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein added that the arrest on Human Rights Day, on 10 December, of a number of people, including members of the Ladies in White NGO shows an "extraordinary disdain for the importance of human rights on the part of the Cuban authorities."

He urged Cuba to halt the harassment of civil society activists.

Referendum results due on Friday in Central African Republic

Provisional results of the referendum on updating the constitution in the Central African Republic are due to be published by the National Elections Authority on Friday according to the UN mission there (MINUSCA).

It's hoped a new constitution, will play a key role in stopping more than three years of inter-ethnic violence in the country.

The referendum comes two weeks ahead of presidential and legislative elections on the 27 December.

The UN has said the political transition is entering its “most sensitive phase.”

Apartheid violence still resonates "profoundly" in South Africa

Violence inherited from the apartheid era still resonates "profoundly in today's South African society," the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women has said.

Dubravka Šimonović was speaking after spending a week in the country.

She added that "entrenched patriarchal attitudes towards the role of women make violence against women and children an almost accepted social phenomenon.

She urged the Government of South Africa to strengthen the fight against gender-based violence through awareness and education at all levels of society.

Duration: 1’49″

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