News in Brief 09 January 2017 (AM)

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Asma Jahangir. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Prisoners of conscience in Iran "at risk of dying" warns UN expert

At least eight prisoners of conscience in Iran are "at risk of dying" while on hunger strike, the UN's expert on human rights for the country has warned.

Asma Jahangir, UN Special Rapporteur, said on Monday that the prisoners had been protesting the legality of their detention over a prolonged period of time.

One of the prisoners, Arash Sadeghi, ended his hunger strike last week, after his wife was released on bail, said Ms Jahangir.

She described the couple as "human rights defenders who have been imprisoned for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association."

The expert warned that despite his critical health condition, Mr Sadeghi was being denied a transfer to specialized medical facilities, and was reportedly being kept in his cell.

Ms Jahangir called on the Iranian authorities to give him access to treatment "as a matter of utmost priority."

Terrorist attack which left 4 Israelis dead condemned by Security Council

A terrorist attack in Jerusalem on Sunday which left four Israelis dead and 15 wounded, has been condemned by the UN Security Council.

According to news reports, the Palestinian attacker, who was shot dead, drove into a group of soldiers, at high speed, killing three women and a man.

The Security Council statement underlined the need for those responsible for "this reprehensible act of terrorism" to be held accountable.

Members expressed their "deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims" and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.

They reaffirmed the need for all Member States to combat terrorism by all international legal means.

"Innovative" cash-assistance programme in Darfur receives US$4.5m funding

An innovative cash-assistance programme launched by the World Food Programme (WFP) in Darfur, has received US$4.5 million of funding from the government of the United Kingdom.

The pre-paid card scheme allows around 75,000 displaced people living in Nyala's Otash Camp, in south Darfur, "choice and freedom to prioritize their needs" said WFP.

The cashless aid programme is intended to promote self-reliance and provide flexible solutions for the most vulnerable, as opposed to just relying on handouts.

The Darfur region has been beset by conflict and humanitarian crises since 2003.

Senior UK officials saw conditions for themselves in Otash Camp before announcing the funding.

Simon McDonald, who heads the UK Diplomatic Service, said that the aid was intended to "build their resilience to crisis and lay the foundations for a more democratic, inclusive and peaceful future."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'17"

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