News in Brief 12 May 2016 (AM)

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WFP trucks loaded with wheat grain, oil and salt are ready to leave for Amran, a hundred kilometres north of Yemen's capital, Sana’a. Photo: OCHA/Charlotte Cans

Yemen on verge of humanitarian disaster

Yemen is on the verge of a humanitarian disaster due to food security issues and food shortages facing the country, the UN food agency, FAO, has warned.

Food aid is needed during the April and May cereal and vegetable planting season and the summer fishing season to avert such as situation, the agency said.

The livestock also needs to be vaccinated before winter.

Around 14.4 million people – over half of Yemen’s population – urgently need food security and livelihood assistance.

Food security has been affected by April floods and a reported desert locust outbreak.

Romania urged to tackle prison overcrowding

Romania should make an effort to reduce overcrowding in prisons and other places where people are deprived of liberty, UN experts have urged.

The comments come at the end of a visit to the central European country by the UN Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture (SPT).

Progress has been made in improving conditions of detention in the country, but much remains to be done, the experts said.

The head of the delegation, Aisha Shijune Muhammad noted that the situation of detained people belonging to vulnerable groups requires close attention and protection measures.

She pointed to minors, women, elderly people, minorities and people with mental and physical disabilities.

Kazakhstan urged to allow peaceful protests over land reforms

Kazakhstan has been urged by UN rights experts to allow peaceful protests over the government's proposed land reforms.

Mass arrests and criminal prosecutions followed demonstrations that took place in six Kazakh cities last week.

Amendments were adopted on the land law governing the rights of foreigners to rent agricultural land in the country.

Protesters argue that the changes, which include an increase of such leases from 10 to 25 years, could facilitate the sale of land to the detriment of Kazakh citizens and landowners.

The UN experts said the arrests were being used to deter and punish protestors who disagree with the land reform.

They called on the government to "immediately end all forms of persecution and take effective measures to protect civil society."

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 2’12″

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