10 Dec 2018 - NPWJ News Digest on Middle East and North Africa Democracy


Iran sentences three human rights lawyers to prison, reports say
The Guardian, 11 Dec 2018

Iran has sentenced two human rights lawyers to six years in prison and a third to 13 years, according to newspaper reports.
The Arman daily said Ghasem Sholeh-Saadi and Arash Keikhosravi were sentenced to five years in prison for taking part in an “illegal gathering” and one year for “propaganda” against the ruling system. It added that they could appeal against the verdict.
The pair were arrested in August when they took part in a protest outside parliament calling for free elections. They were released on bail last week.

Read More

Arab League warns Brazil not to move embassy to Jerusalem
Aljazeera , 11 Dec 2018

The Arab League, comprising 22 member states, told Brazil's right-wing President-elect Jair Bolsonaro that moving Brazil's embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would be a setback on relations with Arab countries, in a letter seen by Reuters on Monday.
The move planned by Bolsonaro, who takes office on January 1, would be a sharp turn in Brazilian foreign policy, which has traditionally backed a two-state-solution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Read More

Yemenis are left so poor they kill themselves before the hunger does
The Guardian, 11 Dec 2018

More than 10,000 people in Yemen have been killed and 3 million forced to flee their homes as a result of almost four years of fighting. An estimated 22 million people are now in need of aid and up to 13 million face starvation. As talks to end the conflict continue in Sweden, three Yemeni aid workers from the Norwegian Refugee Council talk of the physical and emotional destruction the fighting has brought to their country.

Read More

Yemen peace talks: UN says Hodeidah should be under joint control
The Guardian, 11 Dec 2018

The United Nations has proposed what would be a significant breakthrough in the Yemen peace talks taking place in Sweden.
It has suggested the flashpoint Yemeni port city of Hodeidah should be brought under the joint UN-supervised control of Houthi rebel fighters and the UN-backed government led by Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy for Yemen, described Hodeidah as the centre of gravity for the war. He said at a press conference in Rimbo – where the talks were in their fifth day – that he hoped to publish “detailed, ambitious and tangible” confidence-building proposals in the next few days, including plans for the future administration of Hodeidah and its port.

Read More

'We need more food, not less': US cuts leave Palestinian refugees in crisis
The Guardian, 07 Dec 2018

In November 1948, Khadija Hijjo and her family fled Israeli forces advancing on the village of al-Jura, close to what is now the Israeli city of Ashkelon.
“We had land, we grew grapes and strawberries and dates, and we used to sell them in Jaffa,” she says. “Then, when we came to Gaza, we slept on the ground … you had all your furniture, and you left without anything.”
The sprightly 89-year old widow, whose infectious smile confounds her history, is sitting straight-backed on a plastic chair as she awaits her quarterly UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) food ration at Gaza City’s Beach refugee camp.

Read More