News in Brief 5 May 2017 (PM)

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Nickolay Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. (file) UN Photo/Loey Felipe

"We are walking into another crisis" in Gaza, warns UN coordinator

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process has warned that the world is "walking into another crisis" over the Gaza Strip "with our eyes wide open."

Nickolay Mladenov told a meeting in Brussels on Friday that the residents of Gaza, which is controlled by the extremist group, Hamas, were being held hostage by what he called "disagreements, divisions, and closures."

Mr Mladenov said that after 10 years, it was "time for this situation to end."

Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, and Hamas won control in Palestinian Legislative Council elections the following year.

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said the Special Coordinator was urging all parties to seek a political solution to the current standoff.

"This situation can only be resolved through a compromise, based on the implementation of intra-Palestinian agreements that would end the division and return Gaza to the control of the legitimate Palestinian authorities. Until then and under the current circumstances, he added, the UN can only work to mitigate the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable."

Saudis must stop abusing counter-terrorism laws: UN rights expert

Saudi Arabia must stop abusing counter-terrorism laws by prosecuting people peacefully exercising their rights.

That's according to Ben Emmerson, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism.

The independent expert said that existing Saudi laws on terrorism do not comply with international standards and have led to the wrongful prosecution of human rights defenders, writers, and bloggers, "simply for expressing non-violent views."

He made his remarks on Friday, following a five-day mission to the country.

"There are continuing problems relating to the prevention of torture of terrorist suspects" as well as the reported use of confessions obtained under duress, and the improper use of the death penalty, said Mr Emmerson.

"Grave concern" following brutal attack on indigenous in northern Brazil

The UN in Brazil has expressed "grave concern" following an attack against a group of indigenous people in Maranhão, a state in the north of the country, which reportedly left more than 10 hospitalized.

According to news reports, members of the Gamela community were assaulted by armed ranchers late on Sunday, including community leader Kum 'Tum Gamela, a leading land rights campaigner.

They had occupied an area of land which they claim as traditional territory, which is currently used as cattle pasture.

The land was divided up among local landowners during Brazil's military dictatorship.

More details from Stéphane Dujarric.

"The UN System in Brazil expressed its appreciation for the Brazilian authorities' pledge to bring the perpetrators to justice. Attacks against indigenous people in Brazil, and impunity for perpetrators, are unfortunately very common, they said."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’21″

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