Pacific 

$667 million funding call to help Afghans through economic crisis

To help ordinary Afghans, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has announced the launch of a “people’s economy” fund, to provide desperately needed access to cash. The fund will tap into donations frozen since the Taliban takeover in August. Germany has already pledged $58 million of the more than $660 million required over the next 12 months, UNDP chief, Achim Steiner, told journalists in Geneva. “There are 38 million people who cannot be kept alive just from the outside”, he said. “We have to step in, we have to stabilise a ‘people’s economy’…

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Pacific 

Myanmar: Three million in urgent need of life-saving assistance, protection

Updating journalists at the daily media briefing in New York, Stéphane Dujarric cited humanitarians in saying that “conflict, food insecurity, natural disasters and COVID-19” have left some three million women, children and men in urgent need of life-saving assistance and protection. “This includes one million people who were in need at the start of the year, plus an additional two million people identified as needing help after the military takeover on 1 February”, he said. At that time, following a general election in which Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won by a landslide, the military seized…

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Pacific 

Afghanistan: Reuniting families on the run should be priority, urges UNHCR

Spokesperson Shabia Mantoo said Afghan refugees have been approaching UNHCR offices, desperately concerned about the safety and welfare of their loved ones left behind, or living in neighbouring countries.  “While recent political developments in Afghanistan have not led to large-scale cross-border displacement, many among pre-existing Afghan refugee and asylum seeker populations remain separated from their families owing to the inaccessibility of family reunification procedures,” she told journalists in Geneva.  The call comes as the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate as winter approaches.  Half the population, some 20 million…

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Pacific 

UN condemns ‘despicable’ suicide attack at mosque in southern Afghanistan

The attack marked the second consecutive week that a Shia mosque in the country has been targeted, following a blast last Friday in the northeastern city of Kunduz, which left more than 100 worshippers dead.  I condemn in the strongest terms the despicable attack on the Imam Baragah mosque in Kandahar City, Afghanistan. The perpetrators of this latest crime against civilians exercising their right to freely practice their religion must be brought to justice. — António Guterres (@antonioguterres) October 15, 2021 Strong condemnation  “Terrorism continues in Afghanistan”, the UN mission…

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Pacific 

Myanmar: In race against time, experts collect evidence of rights violations 

Working out of Geneva, there are experts in gender violence and crimes against children; analysts with experience in international justice; specialists in open source evidence; and investigators working with sophisticated information systems.   The team of professionals are formally known as the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, (IIMM) or Myanmar Mechanism, and was created in 2018 by the Human Rights Council.  Experts have collected 2 million pieces of information about human rights violations in Myanmar. Nicholas Koumjian, head of the Myanmar Mechanism, told UN News the goal is to share the evidence with courts and make justice. Read the interview this Friday. @UNHumanRights #Myanmar pic.twitter.com/uPAQ4b84os — UN News (@UN_News_Centre) October 15, 2021 The…

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Pacific 

From the Field: Lao farmers serve up fish with rice

A farmer in Lao holds up a bag of fresh fish that he has cultivated in his rice field., by © FAO/Xaykhame Manilasith Rice-fish has a millennia old history in the landlocked South East Asian country, but the practice has fallen out or practice largely due to the intensification of rice production and the accompanying pesticide use. However, a combination of population growth, deforestation and damage to the natural environment has led to a decline in food production and a growing inability of communities to sustain themselves.   But now,…

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Pacific 

Hong Kong: Arrests under Security Law, a serious concern

The human rights lawyer, who was arrested on 8 September, was a member of the Hong Kong Alliance, an advocacy group which organized an annual candlelight vigil marking the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square. Several other activists have been similarly arrested and charged under the National Security Law. The law came into force at the end of June last year, giving Chinese central authorities greater power and control over all aspects of life in Hong Kong. “Terrorism and sedition charges are being improperly used to stifle the exercise of fundamental…

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Pacific 

Afghanistan crisis worsening as temperatures drop, warns UNHCR

A month since the UN-led $606 million appeal for solidarity for the people of Afghanistan, the UN refugee agency said that only 35 per cent of the funds it needed to fund operations for the next two months had been received. Core relief items include essential household items such as blankets, plastic sheets, buckets, jerry cans, kitchen set & soap When people flee for their lives they often leave behind household goods Yesterday, we provided CRIs to 4,470 IDPs & persons affected by conflict pic.twitter.com/dY1vnMGQUW — UNHCR Afghanistan (@UNHCRAfg) October…

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Pacific 

Afghanistan: World must act on ‘make or break moment’ – UN chief 

“If we do not act and help Afghans weather this storm, and do it soon, not only they but all the world will pay a heavy price”, Mr. Guterres told journalists in New York, ahead of Tuesday, when G20 leading industrialized nations will meet to discuss the country embroiled in crisis.   Currently, at least 18 million people, or about half of the country’s population are affected.  “Without food, without jobs, without their rights protected, we will see more and more Afghans fleeing their homes in search of a better life. The flow of illicit drugs, criminal and terrorist networks will also likely increase”, Mr. Guterres warned.  For him, “this will not…

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Pacific 

Trade can play a pivotal role in addressing climate change, says UN report 

Around 16 million new jobs could be created in clean energy, energy efficiency, engineering, manufacturing and construction industries in the Asia-Pacific region, more than compensating for the estimated loss of five million jobs by downscaling industries.  The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2021 was jointly launched on Monday by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).  Climate-smart policies have a significant cost, particularly for carbon-intensive sectors and economies, but the cost of inaction is far greater. Some estimates are as high as $792 trillion by 2100, if the Paris Agreement targets are not met.  Risks…

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