News in Brief 05 January 2018

UN allocates $50m in emergency humanitarian funding for Yemen

The UN relief chief announced the biggest-ever allocation of emergency funds to war-torn Yemen on Friday, to help deal with the country's worsening humanitarian crisis.

Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said he was releasing $50m from the Central Emergency Response Fund, or CERF.

Fighting between Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led coalition, including Yemeni government forces, has intensified, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis which has left thousands dead, and fuelled the world's worst cholera epidemic.

Mr Lowcock said the "unfolding catastrophe" would only be prevented if fighting stopped; the ports where most of the country's food enters are fully re-opened, and more generous donor financing was made available.

Here's UN Deputy Spokesperson, Farhan Haq.

"Mr Lowcock stressed that the Yemeni people need an end to the conflict so that they can begin to rebuild their lives. For this to happen, the parties to the conflict must cease hostilities and engage meaningfully with the UN to achieve a lasting political settlement."

Thousands of refugees fleeing into Chad from CAR

Thousands of refugees are fleeing across the border of the Central African Republic (CAR) into Chad, to escape an uptick in violence between armed groups.

That's according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Friday, which reported that the total who have crossed into Chad this year, already exceeds last year's total of around 2,000.

More than 5,000 are estimated to have arrived in southern Chad in the past few weeks, escaping clashes between rival groups around the town of Paoua.

Around 20,000 have been internally-displaced by the fighting.

UNHCR welcomed the "humanitarian gesture" on the part of Chad, which has allowed refugees to be registered by the UN, despite the border being officially closed.

Protesters' rights must be respected in Iran: UN experts

Demands by protesters in Iran for basic freedoms and raised living standards must be addressed, and their human rights respected, according to a statement from four UN experts on Friday.

The UN Security Council is expected to meet later in the day to discuss the anti-government protests which began last week across the country, leaving at least 21 dead.

The four independent human rights experts said that the "names and whereabouts of all persons detained in connection with these protests ought to be made public".

They urged the Iranian authorities to exercise restraint in controlling the protests and limit the use of force.

Protesters' right to life, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly must be respected, they added.

Source: United Nations Radio