This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
UN experts censure Sudan for violence against peaceful protesters
Excessive force used against peaceful demonstrators in Sudan protesting food and fuel shortages has prompted UN experts to urge security forces there to exercise restraint.
On Friday, UN experts expressed alarm over escalating violence and reports of protesters killed during large-scale demonstrations against rising prices, and food and fuel shortages.
Conveying deep concern over reports that government security forces were using live ammunition during protests that have swept the country since 19 December, Special Rapporteur Clement Nyaletsossi Voule underscored that “the right to freedom of peaceful assembly is an inherent element of democracies.”
Meanwhile, UN Expert Aristide Nononsi denounced the use of lethal force when controlling demonstrations, saying: “Dissent must be tolerated and not restrained with excessive force which can lead to loss of life.”
Pledge to pay salaries of Yemen civil servants, welcomed by UN
The UN welcomed on Friday the Yemeni government’s decision to pay civil servants’ salaries in the vital port city of Hudaydah, beginning this month.
In a tweet, Martin Griffiths, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen called it “an important step towards improving the economic situation, and alleviating the humanitarian suffering of the Yemeni people.”
He also tweeted his hope that "there will be more steps in this direction."
According to news reports, for two years the Government has been unable to pay salaries to most government workers. That, coupled with the local currency, the riyal, dropping sharply against the dollar, has left many Yemenis malnourished, pushing millions to the brink of famine, and adding to what the UN has dubbed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Earlier in December, the UN Special Envoy convened historic consultations in Sweden that resulted in a Security Council resolution endorsing a deal to continue peace talks in January.
In the meantime, a fragile ceasefire has held since 18 December, but the warring sides have accused each other of violations.
2018: Highest death toll since 2014, for the occupied Palestinian territory
As 2018 draws to a close, the UN humanitarian coordination office, or OCHA, said that the occupied Palestinian territory witnessed the highest death toll in a single year since the 2014 Gaza conflict.
Reporting a total of 295 Palestinian deaths and over 29,000 people injured by Israeli forces, OCHA maintained that that was also the highest number of injured recorded since 2005, when it began documenting casualties there.
Moreover, there was an uptick in attacks by settlers. 265 incidents were documented in which Israeli settlers killed or injured Palestinians or damaged Palestinian property.
In the West Bank, demolitions continued but fewer Palestinians were displaced throughout the year.
The Israeli land, sea and air blockade on the Gaza Strip remained extremely restrictive, leaving about 68 per cent of the population there identified as food insecure, in 2018, primarily due to poverty.
Liz Scaffidi, UN News.