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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Pacific 

Experts accuse Iran of rights violations in shooting down Ukraine airlines flight

Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and Javaid Rehman, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the country, have consistently expressed concern over the 8 January 2020 incident.  Flight PS752 was heading from Tehran to Kiev when it was struck down by two missiles fired by the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), killing all 176 people on board.     Iran said the military personnel mistook the civilian aircraft for a US missile.  The strike took place in the context of heightened tensions following…

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Pacific 

‘Disturbing spike’ in Afghan civilian casualties after peace talks began: UN report

In their annual Afghanistan Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Annual Report, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the UN Assistance Mission in the country (UNAMA) documented some 8,820 civilian casualties (3,035 deaths and 5,785 injuries) in 2020, about 15 per cent less than in 2019.   It was also the first time the figure fell below 10,000 since 2013.  However, the country remains amongst the “deadliest places in the world to be a civilian”, according to Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human…

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Pacific 

‘No place’ for coups in today’s world, UN chief tells Myanmar military 

“Coups have no place in our modern world”, Mr. Guterres said in a pre-recorded video address at the Council’s 46th regular session, his comments coming after the forum held a special session on 12 February, in which it adopted a resolution expressing deep concern at the junta’s move.  “Today, I call on the Myanmar military to stop the repression immediately”, the UN chief continued. “Release the prisoners. End the violence. Respect human rights and the will of the people expressed in recent elections. I welcome the resolution of the Human Rights Council, pledge to implement your request, and express my full support to the people of Myanmar in their pursuit of democracy, peace, human…

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Pacific 

Rohingya refugees: UN agency urges immediate rescue to prevent ‘tragedy’ on Andaman Sea

The precise number and location of the refugees is unknown, and there are reports that many may have already lost their lives, Indrika Ratwatte, Director of the UNHCR Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, located in Bangkok, said in news release. The last information of distress was received on Saturday evening, local time.  UNHCR is appealing for the immediate rescue of a group of #Rohingya refugees in distress on the Andaman Sea. They’ve reportedly been at sea for 10 days + many are in a critical condition. Urgent action is…

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Pacific 

Secretary-General condemns deadly violence against protestors in Myanmar

At least two people were killed on Saturday in protests in Mandalay, the nation’s second largest city, according to media reports. I condemn the use of deadly violence in Myanmar. The use of lethal force, intimidation & harassment against peaceful demonstrators is unacceptable. Everyone has a right to peaceful assembly. I call on all parties to respect election results and return to civilian rule. — António Guterres (@antonioguterres) February 21, 2021 “I condemn the use of deadly violence in Myanmar,” the UN chief said in a post on his official Twitter…

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Pacific 

Nuclear energy agency reaches temporary inspection solution with Iran

The IAEA chief was speaking shortly after arriving from weekend talks in Tehran to mitigate plans to reduce cooperation this week. Iran’s Parliament passed a law in December to partially suspend nuclear inspections if the United States did not lift sanctions imposed under the Trump administration.  It goes into effect on Tuesday. “We agreed that in view of the law, and in particular the provision that establishes limitations, we have reached a temporary bilateral technical understanding whereby the agency is going to continue its necessary verification and monitoring activities for a period of up to…

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Pacific 

FROM THE FIELD: The Indian women weaving a digital web

Women weavers in Gujarat, India, feared the worst for their livelihood when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and work practically ground to a halt. However, thanks to their proficiency with online tools, they have been able to thrive through this difficult period. Self-employed rural Indian women learn how to carry out basic online transactions. Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) The weavers had taken part in an initiative managed by the World Bank, the Leelavati Project, which is improving the digital and financial literacy of around half a million women across six…

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