News in Brief 04 October 2017 (PM)

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UN Human Rights Experts: Annalisa Ciampi (top left) UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré; Alfred de Zayas (top right)
UN Photo/Cia Pak; José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez (bottom left), Leilani Farha (bottom right)
UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré (file)

UN experts call for political dialogue over Catalonia tensions

UN experts are calling for "urgent dialogue" in an effort to diffuse tensions between Spanish authorities and the regional government of Catalonia, over the disputed independence referendum on Sunday.

The president of the north-east region in Spain said on Wednesday that he would declare independence within the next few days, following the overwhelming vote in favour.

King Felipe of Spain addressed the nation on Tuesday describing the vote as illegal and undemocratic.

In a joint-statement on Wednesday, four UN human rights experts said they were "deeply disturbed by the eruption of violence on Sunday" when police and civil guard members clashed with voters and independence supporters.

"A way forward has to be found through political dialogue" they said, adding that Spanish authorities had "to fully respect fundamental human rights, including the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association".

The experts called for an investigation into why hundreds peacefully protesting or seeing to vote "as well as some police officers", were reportedly injured.

Haitian children "still incredibly vulnerable" a year on from Hurricane Matthew

Children in Haiti are still "incredibly vulnerable" to the effects of natural disasters, a year on from Hurricane Matthew, which devastated the south-west of the Caribbean country.

That's the warning from UN Children's Fund, UNICEF, on Wednesday.

Country Representative Mark Vincent said that "hundreds of thousands of children had their lives turned upside-down" by Matthew, which killed more than 500 people and cost around US$2 billion in damage.

He said "the courage and determination of families to recover" and rebuild their lives had been admirable.

UNICEF worked with the Haitian government to help restore drinking water for around 550,000 people, rehabilitate 120 schools, and provide around 28,000 children with psychosocial care, nutrition and health education.

First ever Cuban music strategy launched by UN and partners

For many around the world, Cuba is already synonymous with its vibrant music scene, but now the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is making it official, in partnership with the Cuban government.

The new national music strategy launched on Wednesday at UNIDO headquarters in Vienna, Austria, brands Cuba as "The Music Island" in an effort to boost the "export capacity" of the music industry.

The initiative is being financially supported by the Korean International Cooperation Agency.

The strategy focusses on adapting Cuban music to the digital era, boosting cultural tourism, and using the so-called "music cities model" to help local economic development.

UNIDO's Caribbean Regional Division chief, Carlos Chanduvi Suarez, said the "music island" strategy would help promote economic partnership and "sustainable industrial development".

Duration: 2’26″

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