Asia Pacific

Afghan civilian deaths drop but attacks on women, children and political targets rise – UN

The number of Afghan civilians killed or injured in 2012 decreased for the first time since the United Nations began keeping track of such figures, according to a report released today, but attacks on women and children, and threats on perceived Government supporters, are on the rise.

UN chief deplores latest terrorist attack against Pakistan’s Shia community

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned the terrorist attack carried out on Saturday in Quetta, Pakistan, targeting the Shia Muslim Hazara community which resulted in more than 80 deaths and the wounding of nearly 200, many of them women and children.

Myanmar: UN welcomes release of child soldiers by national armed forces

The United Nations today welcomed the release of 24 children by Myanmar’s armed forces, known as the Tatmadaw, and called for the acceleration of discharges in line with the commitment made last year by the Government to end child rights violations.

UN chief concerned about political developments in the Maldives

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced his concern about the political situation in the Maldives, where former President Mohamed Nasheed has sought refuge in the Indian High Commission, and is urging all parties to work towards conditions conducive for the upcoming elections in line with the country’s Constitution.

Proposed bill in Indonesia threatens freedom of religion and association – UN experts

Proposed bill in Indonesia threatens freedom of religion and association – UN experts A group of United Nations independent experts today called on the Government of Indonesia to amend a bill that requires new organizations to adhere to the official State philosophy that supports the belief in only one God and imposes restrictions on the types of activities they can carry out.

Security Council and UN officials condemn DPR Korea’s nuclear test

The Security Council and top United Nations officials have strongly condemned the nuclear test carried out by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), warning that it constitutes a threat to international peace and security.

Afghanistan: UN welcomes Government moves to address detainee torture

The United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) today welcomed the announcement of recommendations by the Government to stem torture, ill-treatment and prolonged illegal detention in the country.

Philippines: UN lauds landmark bill protecting rights of internally displaced people

The United Nations refugee agency today welcomed a bill passed by the Congress of the Philippines to protect the rights of more than one million internally displaced persons (IDPs), making it the first Asia-Pacific country to have legislation safeguarding citizens against arbitrary displacement.

UN urges Papua New Guinea to take action after woman burned alive for witchcraft

The United Nations human rights office today urged the Government of Papua New Guinea to take concrete action following reports that a 20-year-old woman accused of sorcery was burnt alive in front of a crowd, noting that this is the latest in a “growing pattern” of such attacks.

UN expert calls on Thailand to eliminate disparities on access to water and sanitation

Thailand must step up its efforts to ensure all their citizens have access to water and sanitation, an independent United Nations expert said today, noting that there is currently a stark contrast between populations who are able to enjoy this basic need, and those who do not.