Pacific 

Fighting drug trafficking in the Golden Triangle: a UN Resident Coordinator blog

“Thailand has made considerable progress in combating the opium trade over recent decades and represents global good practices. UNODC has a long-term partnership with the Thai government and other stakeholders to combat drug trafficking in the Golden Triangle and, from the military base at Doi Chang Mub overlooking Myanmar, joint patrols are conducted on a regular basis to counter trafficking. However, as the opium trade has declined, the cross-border movement of synthetic drugs, and particularly methamphetamine, has grown substantially. UN Thailand Women from a village in the Chang Rai area…

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Pacific 

Historic Afghan talks present ‘major opportunity’ for peace: UN Secretary-General

In a special video message released as the historic negotiations got underway in Doha, António Guterres thanked the Qatari hosts for facilitating, and said the “consistent calls for an end to violence” by Afghans themselves, and the chance to develop the country after silencing the guns, “underpin today’s inaugural meeting.” The start of intra-Afghan peace negotiations is a major opportunity to achieve the long-held aspirations of the people of Afghanistan for peace. It is crucial that all Afghan leaders & members of the international community do everything possible to make peace a…

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Pacific 

Inaction has been fatal, says UNHCR, as dozens of Rohingya refugees perish at sea

The refugees, numbering about 330 had set off on the journey in Cox’s Bazar, in southern Bangladesh, in February. After months at sea in desperate conditions, some 300 landed on the northern coast of Aceh, Indonesia, early on Monday morning. More than 30 people are believed to have died at sea.  This early morning at 2am, nearly 300 Rohingya refugees landed in North Aceh. Having survived some seven months at sea in desperate conditions, many are in need of medical attention. Among the group, 2 of 3 are women and…

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Pacific 

Leveraging innovation, partnership to shore up food security in Asia and the Pacific

Gathered virtually at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s thirty-fifth Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific, governments, civil society organizations and the private sector highlighted the importance of innovation, solidarity, coherence and partnerships among and within countries.  Big data, digital economy and mobile technology will help producers achieve such transformations, Qu Dongyu, FAO Director-General said on Friday, the Conference’s final day.  For instance, a smartphone in the hands of a smallholder farmer is a “new farming tool”, he added.  “Leveraging data, innovation and technology has shown that, here…

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Pacific 

End secret detention of rights defender, independent experts urge Pakistani authorities

The experts said they are seriously concerned for the life of Idris Khattak – an activist who worked on a number of reports on disappearances in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas – as he has not had contact with the outside world since he was taken into custody by Pakistani Military Intelligence on 13 November 2019.  On 16 June 2020, authorities acknowledged for the first time that Mr. Khattak has been in their custody, seven months after he was taken away.  “The mere acknowledgment that he is in custody does…

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Pacific 

Afghanistan: Near-record violence risks derailing imminent talks between Government and Taliban

High stakes  “The stakes could not be higher”, said Deborah Lyons, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), describing the intra-Afghan talks as a historic moment in the country’s history, as she briefed the Security Council on Thursday.    The conflict, which has raged for four decades, continues to kill hundreds of people each week and has displaced millions over the years – most of whom have no prospects of return.    With the negotiations, hosted by Qatar, set to launch, she…

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Pacific 

The key to Viet Nam’s successful COVID-19 response: A UN Resident Coordinator blog

“Despite a new wave which began on 25 July which Viet Nam is now also in the process of bringing under effective control, it is globally recognized that Viet Nam demonstrated one of the world’s most successful responses to the COVID-19 pandemic between January  and April 16. After that date, no cases of local transmission were recorded for 99 consecutive days. There were less than 400 cases of infection across the country during that period, most of them imported, and zero deaths, a remarkable accomplishment considering the country’s population of…

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Pacific 

Myanmar: Upcoming elections an opportunity to take a new inclusive democratic path

According to James Rodehaver, Senior Human Rights Officer based in the OHCHR South-East Asia Regional Office, three years after the violence that forced over 700,000 Rohingyas from their homes in northern Myanmar into neighbouring Bangladesh, “conditions inside the country have deteriorated and little has been done to create viable conditions for their safe return.”  Meanwhile, a new conflict has flared between Myanmar’s security forces and the Arakan Army, which has negatively impacted civilians throughout the country’s central and northern Rakhine state, including the members of the minority Rohingya community.  “It…

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Pacific 

Address root causes of the Rohingya refugee crisis, urges UN chief

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, the Secretary-General said the UN will continue to stand in solidarity with all those affected by the crisis, and that it is committed to working with all stakeholders, including regional actors, towards a future of sustainable development, human rights and peace in Myanmar.  Mr. Guterres called for greater urgency to the crisis by addressing the root causes of the conflict and creating the conditions for the safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable return of all refugees.  “The ultimate responsibility rests with Myanmar authorities, who…

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