Asia Pacific

As refugees start to flee Sri Lanka, UN refugee agency warns of new violence

The United Nations Refugee agency (UNHCR) said today that its staff in Sri Lanka reports a “trickle” of refugees fleeing to India in fishing boats, raising concerns about the deterioration of the security situation in Sri Lanka.

Timorese President presents human rights report to Annan

Timorese President Xanana Gusmão today presented an independent human rights report to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and called attention to the need for aid to his country once the UN Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL) ends its mission there in May.

China leads Asia in gaining global leadership in scientific research, UN says

With science and technology now the driving forces behind socioeconomic progress, China is leading a small number of emerging Asian economies whose remarkable progress in research and development is challenging the leadership of North America, Europe and Japan, a United Nations scientific report says.

UN national volunteers programme launched to help Pakistan’s quake victims

As part of broader UN efforts to help the victims of last year’s devastating earthquake in Pakistan, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today launched a scheme to encourage Pakistanis to become National United Nations Volunteers (UNVs.)

Democratic governance taking hold in Timor-Leste but aid still needed – Annan

Timor-Leste has continued to consolidate its democratic governance but some international political presence should remain there until the end of next year’s elections, long after the mandate of the United Nations mission in the country is due to expire, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a report released today.

Secretary-General calls on all sides in Nepal to resume dialogue and halt violence

Responding to the Government of Nepal’s arrest of more than one hundred politicians and other critics, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on all sides in the strife-torn Himalayan kingdom to return to the negotiating table and halt the violence.

UN agency links with Pakistan government to help rural poor tap into credit

A UN poverty-fighting agency and Pakistan’s Government sealed a $26.5 million loan agreement in Rome today that will give hundreds of thousands of people living in the country’s rural areas access to innovative financial services.

Secretary-General welcomes release of Cambodian human rights activists

Breaking with a recent trend of arresting human rights activists, Cambodia has released four detainees, including the President of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights ? a move that was immediately hailed by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Former President Bush, UN envoy for Pakistan quake relief, urges open supply lines

After meeting with survivors of the Pakistan earthquake, the United Nations Special Envoy for the South Asian Earthquake Disaster, former U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush, said in Islamabad today that it was crucial to keep supply lines open to deliver relief goods during the harsh winter weather.

Condemning violence in Afghanistan, Security Council backs new development plan

While strongly condemning the recent upsurge of violence in Afghanistan, the United Nations Security Council today emphasized the importance of an upcoming London conference that will unveil a new framework for the country’s development, known as the “Afghan Compact.”