Yemen ceasefire deal: ‘Potential’ now to restore humanitarian lifeline to millions
The freshly agreed Yemen ceasefire deal covering the key Red Sea governorates of Hudaydah and Taiz has been welcomed by the World Food Programme (WFP), which on Friday expressed hope that it would improve access for humanitarians and commercial shipping.
Here’s WFP spokesperson Hervé Verhoosel:
“This agreement could allow the ports of Hudaydah and Saleef to operate at near-normal capacity. The free flow of commercial food supplies into Yemen should prevent further increases in food prices, which have sky-rocketed in the last few months.”
Hudaydah is the principal lifeline for two-thirds of the Yemeni population. They’ve endured suffering on a huge scale since fighting escalated between Government forces and Houthi opposition militia, in March 2015.
Before the warring sides agreed a deal at UN-led talks in Sweden on Thursday, clashes had prevented the sustained supply of commercially shipped food and fuel through Hudaydah.
DRC pre-election violence must end, says UN Human Rights chief
Deadly pre-election violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) caused by police reportedly firing live ammunition at opposition supporters has been condemned by the UN’s top rights official, Michelle Bachelet.
The warning by the High Commissioner for Human Rights comes ahead of presidential elections on 23 December.
Here’s spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): “The High Commissioner says she is deeply worried about the reports of excessive use of force, including live ammunition, by security forces against opposition rallies. Just days ahead of crucial elections in the DRC, it is essential that the authorities ensure that the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are fully protected and that they take all possible measures to prevent violence.”
On Thursday, DRC authorities reported that thousands of voting machines had been destroyed in a fire in the capital, Kinshasa.
Ms Shamdasani said that it was unclear who was responsible, before noting a series of incidents where people had been killed while out campaigning or at political rallies for the opposition.
In Lubumbashi, in Haut-Katanga province, at least three men were killed earlier this month when “police reportedly fired live ammunition and used teargas and water cannons against people."
Supporters of the opposition had also reportedly disrupted campaigning by candidates from the governing coalition in the provinces of Kwilu, Kasai, Maniema and the Kivus, Ms Shamdasani added.
Nicaraguan NGOs under risk from de-registration ruling – OHCHR
Staying with the UN human rights office, it has expressed concern that Nicaraguan civil society groups have come under increasing pressure in the country, amid ongoing violations and abuses against political protesters.
Ravina Shamdasani, from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said on Friday that nine non-governmental organizations have had their legal registrations revoked by parliamentarians in the last two weeks.
“We are concerned about this, in fact our regional representative for Central America is in Nicaragua and she is expecting to meet the Foreign Minister later today. And she will be raising these concerns among other issues. I understand that there were decrees issued by the National Assembly to cancel the registration of these NGOs and they are taking place in a context which is already very difficult in for civil society in the country. So, we are urging the Government and State institutions to fully respect rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression in the country and our representative will be raising that today.”
Earlier this year, a UN Human Rights Office team was expelled from Nicaragua a day after it published a report into violations and abuses committed in the country.
In September, the UN warned that individuals and groups associated with anti-Government protesters increasingly face criminalization and arrest.
According to UN-appointed independent rights experts, since April this year, repression and violence have led to the deaths of more than 300 people in Nicaragua, while another 2,000 have been injured.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.