Pacific 

UN rights experts ‘gravely’ concerned at spike in civilian casualties in north-west Myanmar following internet shutdown

“Civilians, including children, continue to bear the brunt of this escalating conflict,”said the UN rights experts, adding that “we are especially fearful for them as violence has increased in the areas where an internet shutdown was recently re-imposed.” In a joint statement, the experts said that since the beginning of February, the Mayanmr Government had imposed restrictions, including a three-month suspension of mobile internet services, in Muslim-majority Rakhine state and in Chin state, the experts explained in a statement. Further, credible reports showed that fighting and possible use of heavy weapons…

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Pacific 

Polio eradication a UN priority, says Guterres in Pakistan visit

During his first official visit to Pakistan as UN Secretary-General, António Guterres stopped at a kindergarten in Lahore on Tuesday, as the country kicked off its initial nationwide polio campaign for the year.  I commend the brave polio vaccine workers — mostly women — working to stamp out polio in Pakistan. Important gains have been made, but we need a concerted push to eradicate this awful disease. pic.twitter.com/xR34QiRjUI — António Guterres (@antonioguterres) February 18, 2020 While there is no cure for polio, vaccination can protect a child for life, and the campaign this month aims to reach more…

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Pacific 

Pakistan-India crossing is a ‘Corridor of Hope’, UN chief says, wraps up visit with call for interfaith dialogue

“This is a very emotional moment. It is wonderful to see interfaith dialogue” said the Secretary-General, on the last leg of his three-day visit to Pakistan, where, since Sunday, he has pressed for climate action, and praised Pakistan’s compassion for hosting Afghan refugees, as well as the South Asian country’s major contributions to UN peacekeeping. I was honoured to visit Pakistan’s newly opened Kartarpur Corridor – a corridor of hope, connecting two key Sikh pilgrimage sites. This is a welcome symbol of interfaith harmony. pic.twitter.com/zqQa1Prnv3 — António Guterres (@antonioguterres) February…

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Pacific 

In Pakistan, Guterres urges world to step up climate action, praises support to Afghan refugees

“One of the main purposes of my visit is to spotlight the real Pakistan — with all its possibility and potential,” Mr. Guterres told reporters in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, alongside Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.  The UN chief started out his day in Islamabad by meeting with refugees from Afghanistan, Yemen and Tajikistan and on Monday, he will speak at an international conference marking 40 years of hosting Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran, one of the world’s largest and longest-standing refugee populations.   Organized by the Pakistan Government and…

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Pacific 

UN chief underscores value of cooperation with Southeast Asian countries

While recognizing the organization’s contributions to peace and security, the UN chief also highlighted the need to work together to counter potential threats, including the climate crisis.  “Given that four ASEAN Member States rank among the 10 countries in the world most affected by climate change, we look forward to strengthening our ties with ASEAN nations as they take urgent action to strengthen adaptation and build resilience to disasters,” he said.  Preventive diplomacy efforts  ASEAN was established in 1967 and represents nearly 650 million people, more than half of whom are under the…

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Pacific 

India: Climate emergency message resonates at world’s largest literature festival – UN News special report from Jaipur

From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. It is estimated that over 600 million Indians are likely to be impacted adversely by climate change if we don’t change course now. Jaipur is the capital of the picturesque, almost magical Indian state of Rajasthan. It is known as the Pink City due to the colour of the stone used for many of its glorious palaces and historic monuments.  Acclaimed…

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Pacific 

Myanmar: Departing UN rights expert still hopeful for democratic transition

Yanghee Lee was speaking in Bangladesh on Thursday at the end of her last official visit to the region as the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar.   “I have lost my optimism”, she said. “How could I be optimistic with ongoing credible allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide having been committed in Myanmar, and with justice and accountability still not yet within reach?  “But I still hold out hope that the promised democratic transition will proceed, as it is not too late for the Government to change the course it is…

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Pacific 

Top UN court orders Myanmar to protect Rohingya from genocide

The International  Court of Justice  (ICJ) also ordered authorities to prevent the destruction of evidence related to genocide allegations.  The case against Myanmar was brought to the ICJ in November by The Gambia, on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), arguing that the mainly-Muslim Rohingya had been subjected to genocide.  The Rohingya primarily reside in Rakhine state in northern Myanmar, a majority Buddhist country.   More than 700,000 members fled to neighbouring Bangladesh following a reported military crackdown in August 2017 during which numerous alleged human rights abuses were committed.  According to news reports, around 600,000 Rohingya remain inside the country, and remain…

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Pacific 

Philippines volcano: UN aid operation in place as thousands told to flee

 “The Government has officially requested the UN’s support in procuring face masks” to help against ash, dust and noxious sulfur dioxide, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York.  In explosive eruptions last Sunday, the Taal Volcano, located on the island of Luzon, some 70 kilometres south of the capital city of Manila, began to violently spew magma, which has led to the evacuation of more than 38,000 people to 198 evacuation centres so far, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) tweeted on Wednesday.  A time-lapse video of Taal Volcano, located in Batangas province, taken on 12 January when volcanic activity intensified and generated a tall steam-laden column of…

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Pacific 

UN health agency urges China to continue search for source of new virus, as Thailand case emerges

Coronaviruses are described by WHO as “a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases”. Probably the best known is Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, commonly known as SARS, which broke out in Asia in 2003, and spread to countries in North America, South America and Europe, before being successfully contained later that year. Coronaviruses are transmitted between animals and people, and there are several known coronaviruses currently circulating in animals, that have not yet infected humans. Common signs of infection include respiratory…

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