Pacific 

‘Lack of global solidarity’, slow vaccination rates put Indonesia in COVID glare

UN News asked Resident Coordinator, Valerie Julliand, about the situation in the country and what the rest of the world could learn from Indonesia’s experience. What is the current situation in Indonesia? UN Indonesia Valerie Julliand, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Indonesia. UN Indonesia Indonesia, like many of countries in South East Asia, had until recently been successful in mitigating the worst health impacts of COVID-19; some form of physical distancing measures have long been in place. Since taking up my post here in October 2020, I’ve only met most of…

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Pacific 

Afghanistan: Funding shortfall amid deepening humanitarian crisis

Ramiz Alakbarov, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan, said a $1.3 billion appeal, launched earlier this year, is less than 40 per cent funded.  Some 18 million Afghans, or half the population, require assistance. A third of the country is malnourished, while half of all children under five are experiencing acute malnutrition.  The $450 million received so far, half of which came from the United States, falls far short of what is needed.  “Our plan is to provide assistance to at least 15.7 million people, and right now it will…

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Pacific 

Death in custody of activist priest, a stain on India’s rights record: UN expert

Stan Swamy, who was 84, was jailed last October on terrorism charges which UN Special Rapporteur highlighting the work of human rights defenders worldwide, Mary Lawlor, insisted were fabricated. The Jesuit priest faced harassment and repeated interrogations in prison and died in custody on 5 July, despite requests for his release as his health deteriorated, she said. In a statement, Ms. Lawlor explained that Father Swamy “had dedicated much of his life to defending the rights of indigenous peoples and the Adivasi minority” and that his death “will forever remain…

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Pacific 

Coup, COVID fuelling ‘perfect storm’ in Myanmar, UN expert warns

In a statement, Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews said “emergency” assistance for Myanmar was desperately needed to save lives.  “The highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being and that right is being denied to most within Myanmar. The international community must act.”  He reiterated his appeal last week for an Emergency Coalition for the People of Myanmar, to provide emergency humanitarian aid to the country, amid reports of severe shortages of vital medial supplies and oxygen.  Vaccination and testing capacity across Myanmar is also severely limited. Of…

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Pacific 

Afghanistan: 270,000 newly displaced this year, warns UNHCR

The agency said that families were fleeing extortion by non-State armed groups and the dangers posed by improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, along major roads. Many also reported a breakdown in welfare support and a loss of income, owing to the rising insecurity. Emergency aid To help those with acute needs, UNHCR and partners have provided newly displaced Afghans with emergency shelter, food, health, water, sanitation and cash assistance, although many challenges remain in accessing vulnerable groups. According to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, the number of civilian…

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Pacific 

Myanmar: From political crisis, to ‘multi-dimensional human rights catastrophe’ – Bachelet

Speaking at the 47th session of the Human Rights Council, Michelle Bachelet reiterated that the situation in the country has evolved from a political crisis in early February to a “multi-dimensional human rights catastrophe”, repeating a formulation she first used a month ago. Since the coup, nearly 900 people have been killed while around 200,000 people have been forced to flee their homes because of violent military raids on neighbourhoods and villages. Downward spiral “Suffering and violence throughout the country are devastating prospects for sustainable development and raise the possibility…

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Pacific 

Japan: UN chief praises work of emergency responders in wake of deadly landslide

According to news reports, at least four have been declared dead, with around 80 still missing, when record high levels of rain fell across the region, triggering the landslide in the residential area. .@antonioguterres is saddened by reports of loss of life & destruction caused by a mudslide in Japan. He extends his deep condolences to the families of the victims, commends the work of the emergency responders & wishes a speedy recovery to those injured. https://t.co/dj2nXjTMp3 — UN Spokesperson (@UN_Spokesperson) July 5, 2021 The resort town of around 36,000,…

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Pacific 

Great Barrier Reef in danger, UN World Heritage Committee draft report finds

The World Heritage Committee, convened under the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said the country has not done enough to protect the world’s largest coral reef system from the impacts of climate change.  Climate change and coral bleaching  Despite commitments and progress under a long-term sustainability plan known as Reef 2050, the Great Barrier Reef continues to deteriorate, according to the report, and has suffered significant coral bleaching over the past five years.  “It can be concluded that, despite many positive achievements by the State Party, progress has…

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Pacific 

Time running out to prevent ‘worst case scenario’ arising in Afghanistan

From politics to security, the peace process to the economy, Deborah Lyons, Special Representative and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), said the “possible slide toward dire scenarios is undeniable”.  “The relentless spirit of the Afghans and their incredible resilience is being severely tested”, she said, reminding that what happens there is “of global consequence”, and the Security Council needed to be fully aware of the gravity of the situation.   Unfolding reality  She described the mid-April announcement, led by the United States, of troop withdrawal after two decades of war as a “seismic tremor” for the country, which had happened unexpectedly fast.   The decision to pull out was part of the February 2020 agreement between…

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Pacific 

Myanmar: Timely support and action by Security Council ‘really paramount’, says UN Special Envoy

Speaking to journalists following her closed-door briefing to the Council, Christine Schraner Burgener described the situation in Myanmar as “very worrisome” and “very bad”.   Alarming, on the ground  Some 600 people have been killed in the nearly five months since the coup, she said, and 6,000 arrested, with 5,000 still in detention.  Around 100 people have “disappeared” without trace.  The crisis has uprooted some 175,000 people, which has added to internal displacement that existed before the military seized power and detained political leaders, including President U Win Myint and…

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