Pacific 

New citizenship law in India ‘fundamentally discriminatory’: UN human rights office

The amendment to the Citizenship Act gives priority to Hindus, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians resident in India before 2014, but excludes Muslims, including minority sects.  “Although India’s broader naturalization laws remain in place, these amendments will have a discriminatory effect on people’s access to nationality”, Jeremy Laurence, a spokesperson with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said on Friday.  India’s Parliament passed the controversial law on Wednesday, which has sparked protests and clashes in several locations.  Speaking to journalists in Geneva, Mr. Laurence said it appears to undermine India’s commitment to…

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Pacific 

North Korea missile tests ‘deeply troubling’: senior UN official

The first element of concern outlined by Khaled Khiari, was the resumption of missiles testing by DPRK, more commonly known as North Korea, which include the launch of two projectiles on November 28, and the announcement of a test which some analysts believe, he said, were designed to further North Korea’s nuclear programme. Further announcements by State media include references to the testing of various new missile systems, said Mr. Khiari, including a multiple-launch rocket system, a new land-based short-range ballistic missile, and a submarine-launched ballistic missile. Overall, there have…

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Pacific 

Samoa measles outbreak claims 70 lives, majority are children under five

The development – announced by UN emergency relief chief Mark Lowcock – means that $2.6 million will be made available for the small Pacific island, where health providers have been reportedly overwhelmed. 87 new cases in past 24 hours “As of this morning, 4,819 measles cases have been reported to the Disease Surveillance Team since the outbreak started, according to the Ministry of Health in Samoa”, Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said. “There were 87 cases recorded over the past 24 hours.”…

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Pacific 

Aung San Suu Kyi appears at ICJ as UN rights expert urges greater protection for Myanmar activists

“I call on each and every organ of the Myanmar State to ensure that absolutely no reprisals are taken against any group or individual that is advocating for justice and accountability in Myanmar,” said the independent expert in a statement issued on Tuesday, adding that those targeted include members of the Free Rohingya Coalition.  Legal proceedings begin  The Rohingya are a mainly Muslim population residing in northern Rakhine state in Myanmar, a majority Buddhist country.  More than 600,000 members of the minority group fled to neighbouring Bangladesh following a reported military crackdown in August 2017. Numerous alleged human rights abuses took…

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Pacific 

UN team aids Samoa response to deadly measles epidemic

Simona Marinescu, UN Resident Coordinator in the Pacific island nation, reported that the situation remains critical, as the Government commenced a two-day shutdown on Thursday to ensure that all people who have not been vaccinated are protected against the highly contagious disease. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has supplied more than 200,000 vaccines for the campaign, while the World Health Organization (WHO) has brought in emergency medical staff from across the globe. “WHO has had to spread throughout the country, and today we’re in the field with the 128 medical teams…

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Pacific 

FROM THE FIELD: India’s plastic waste revolution

Waste collectors, or ragpickers as they are known more colloquially in the cities of Bhopal and Indore, in Madhya Pradesh state, are being encouraged to hand over plastic waste to local collection centres.   Single-use plastics, which would have ended up in landfill sites, are now being used to fuel cement furnaces and build roads, providing an additional income source for the ragpickers.  Unsplash/Ridham Nagralawala The project, under the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP), implemented by UNDP, has been so successful that it has been extended across…

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Pacific 

UN strengthens ties with Eurasia regional body to tackle terrorism and crime

The UN chief said these interconnected issues are important to the stability and security of SCO member states “Breaking up trafficking organizations and addressing the criminal use of fixed routes is crucial to countering movements of foreign terrorist fighters and arms, including to and from Iraq and Syria”, he said. “Our two organizations are also committed to promoting peace in Afghanistan and supporting the Afghan people as they build a more stable and prosperous future. Addressing the cultivation of opium, which provides revenue to the Taliban, can play a part…

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Pacific 

One-third of Afghans need urgent humanitarian aid, millions suffer ‘acute food insecurity’

The IPC, a coalition of UN agencies and other partners, classifies food insecurity in five distinct phases, from phase 1 (Minimal/ None), to phase 5 (Catastrophic/Famine): around 2.44 million Afghan are believed to be in an Emergency situation (phase 4), and 7.79 million in a Crisis situation (phase 3). Conflict, high prices and unemployment to blame The IPC, which is monitoring a number of key food security indicators in Afghanistan, estimates that the situation is likely to get worse heading into next year, with the numbers of those experiencing severe…

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Pacific 

Over $39 million earmarked by UN-backed fund to combat effects of climate change in Nepal

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has been working with the Government in developing this first-ever national bid to go before the Fund. Co-funding the initiative, Nepal’s Ministry of Forests and Environment (MoFE) is adding another $8 million for a total of more than $47 million, which will see the project to fruition over the course of seven years. Communities in the Churia hills region – the southernmost range of the Himalayan foothills, running east-west through Nepal – will be targeted as it provides vital ecosystem functions to the heavily-populated…

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Pacific 

Australia wildfires: communities must stay vigilant, urges UN weather agency

In Geneva, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) noted that dozens of fires are raging, effecting around six million in eastern New South Wales state, and southeast Queensland, amid reports that three people lost their lives in the fires at the weekend. “Apart from the immediate physical threat…when authorities issue a message of catastrophic fire danger, the message there is basically, “Get out, get away,’” Clare Nullis, spokesperson for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), told journalists. No rain forecast Citing Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology description of the situation as “evolving and…

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