Pacific 

Hopes for UN Security Council action against Myanmar military coup ‘waning’ fast, warns Special Envoy

Christine Schraner Burgener welcomed the fact that the Council was meeting behind closed doors on Friday to discuss the rising death toll on the streets as daily protests continue but told Ambassadors that “your unity is needed more than ever on Myanmar”. Power to veto any Security Council statements or resolutions, rests with the five Permanent Members, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. ‘Real heroes’ The Special Envoy said she had been in close contact with people across various communities since the 1 February military takeover,…

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Pacific 

UN rights expert calls for ‘urgent and decisive’ action to support people of Myanmar

In a news release on Thursday, Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews also urged the Council for a referral of the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court “to investigate and prosecute atrocities committed since the coup on 1 February and those committed against ethnic groups in years prior”.  “Every day the military junta in Myanmar unleashes more brutality on peaceful protesters who are standing up for justice, human rights and democracy, defending their nation against this illegal military coup”, he said.  “While the future of Myanmar will be determined by…

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Pacific 

Stop murdering and jailing protestors, UN human rights chief tells Myanmar military

“It is utterly abhorrent that security forces are firing live ammunition against peaceful protesters across the country”, Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said.  “I am also appalled at the documented attacks against emergency medical staff and ambulances attempting to provide care to those who have been injured”, she added.  According to the High Commissioner’s Office (OHCHR), of the 54 cases it has documented, at least 30 people were killed in Yangon, Mandalay, Sagaing, Magway and Mon by security forces on Wednesday. Another person was documented to have…

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Pacific 

‘Stability of the region’ hangs on Myanmar, declares UN Special Envoy

Speaking at a virtual press conference, Ms. Burgener said the news out of Myanmar was shocking and, with the death of 38 people, marked the bloodiest day since the start of the coup on 1 February.  More than 1,200 people are under detention and many families do not know where their loved ones are or what condition they are in.   Ms. Schraner Burgener said that in discussions with the army, she warned that UN Member States and the Security Council might take “strong measures”, to which they responded: “We are…

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Pacific 

INTERVIEW: The women activists aiming to make history in Vanuatuan politics

Anthea Arukola, a political advisor to the Vanuatu Government, plans to become the country’s first member of parliament since 2008. Georgiilla Worwor, a law student and community activist, wants to go even further, and convince voters to elect her as Vanuatu’s first-ever Prime Minister. As part of an audio series recorded in Vanuatu, focusing on some of the women pioneers fighting for gender equality across society, the UN Office for Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS), brought Ms. Arukola and Ms. Worwor together, to share their dreams and aspirations for women…

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Pacific 

Bangladesh: UN rights chief urges transparent probe into writer’s death, review of law under which he was charged

Writer Mushtaq Ahmed died on 25 February after he was transferred to a prison hospital for treatment. The authorities have announced they will investigate his death, according to a news release by the UN human rights office (OHCHR).  “The Government must ensure that its investigation into Ahmed’s death is prompt, transparent and independent”, Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said.  She urged the authorities to conduct a review of the Digital Security Act, under which Mr. Ahmed was charged; suspend its application; and release all those detained under it…

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Pacific 

Myanmar: UN condemns escalating violence in deadliest day of protests so far

More than 30 demonstrators have been wounded as police and military forces used live rounds together with less-than-lethal force against crowds nationwide protesting the month-long takeover, according to OHCHR, citing “credible information”. The Secretary-General António Guterres “strongly condemned” the violent weekend crackdown, said a statement issued by his Spokesperson. “He is deeply disturbed by the increase in deaths and serious injuries. The use of lethal force against peaceful protestors and arbitrary arrests are unacceptable.” Mr. Guterres urged the international community “to come together and send a clear signal to the military that it must…

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Pacific 

Relief programmes hit by ongoing crisis in Myanmar, UN humanitarian office says

Factors such as closure of banks, interruptions to payments and cash withdrawal systems, and reported increase in price of basic commodities like food and fuel in some areas, have affected relief efforts, according to a bulletin issued by the Office. Changes in counterpart entities and interlocutors, as well as access issues have also affected programmes.  Relief actors are working to resume activities that have been paused in some parts of the country and the humanitarian community is committed to stay and deliver support to those in need, the bulletin noted, citing…

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Pacific 

UN independent experts ‘appalled’ by deportation of migrants to Myanmar, in defiance of court order

Malaysian immigration authorities returned 1,086 migrants, including unaccompanied minors and toddlers as young as three, the UN experts said in a statement on Wednesday.  In defiance of the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s order, the Malaysian authorities “breached the principle of non-refoulement, a rule of jus cogens, which absolutely prohibits the collective deportation of migrants without an objective risk assessment being conducted in each individual case”, they said.   “Children should not have been separated from their family or returned without determining that their return is in their best interests”, they insisted. …

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Pacific 

Myanmar: Stop harassment of workers, UN agency urges military

In a statement on Tuesday, the agency said it received allegations that police and military are conducting door-to-door searches for trade unionists at their dormitories and hostels in the Hlaingtharyar industrial township, in the country’s largest city, Yangon.  I am deeply concerned by allegations of harassment and intimidation against, in particular, young female workers in Yangon, Myanmar. I urge military authorities to respect democratic norms and workers’ rights to freedom of association and assembly, as well as other human rights. — Guy Ryder (@GuyRyder) February 23, 2021 It is alleged…

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