This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
UN chief expresses deep concern over East Jerusalem violence
UN chief António Guterres has urged “maximum restraint” from Israel amid violent confrontations in East Jerusalem between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.
The development follows clashes which have been described as some of the worst seen in Jerusalem for many years, over movement restrictions and possible evictions of Palestinian families from their homes.
On Sunday, Israeli judges postponed a key hearing on the issue that had been scheduled for Monday.
According to reports, some 200 Palestinians and 17 Israeli Police were reportedly injured in fighting around Haram Al-Sharif, or Temple Mount in recent days.
Stones and stun grenades were used, along with rubber bullets and water cannons; those hurt also included several Palestinian children.
In a statement on Sunday issued by his Spokesperson, the UN Secretary-General expressed deep concern over the continuing violence in occupied East Jerusalem.
He also urged Israel to cease demolitions and evictions, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian and international human rights law.
The Israeli authorities must exercise maximum restraint and respect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, Mr Guterres insisted.
Investment bottleneck is holding back food security in African Sahel
Severe underinvestment in farming in Africa’s Sahel region has boosted food insecurity and left many countries under-prepared for future development, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Monday.
Despite a pledge nearly two decades ago by 13 nations to spend 10 per cent of national income on the food and agriculture sector, only Malawi has consistently met this target.
FAO’s latest report, Public Expenditure on Food and Agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa, also indicates that Mali has met this 10 per cent target in some years, but the remaining 11 have not.
They are Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda, where in some cases, only three per cent of national budgets have been allocated to food and agriculture.
Researchers also found that more than a fifth of the monies budgeted for the sector is not spent.
Most farming subsidies are used to buy fertilizer and tools but the UN body said that this approach will only bring “diminishing returns over time”.
What’s needed is more investment in research and development, infrastructure and training, as these have far greater development potential, said Marco Sánchez, Deputy Director of FAO’s Agri-food Economics Division.
Condemnation for Kabul school attack
To Afghanistan finally, and another deadly terror attack over the weekend which has killed and injured more than 60 people, including many students.
Saturday’s attack, which has been described as Afghanistan’s deadliest in a year, targeted a secondary school in the capital Kabul.
Most of those slain were girls who were reportedly killed by a car bomb and two additional improvised explosive devices, which detonated at going-home time.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the atrocity, which has been widely condemned – including by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who expressed his deepest sympathies to the families of the victims.
Those responsible for the crime must be held accountable the UN chief insisted, before underlining the urgency of ending the violence in Afghanistan and of achieving a peaceful settlement of the conflict.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.