Asia Pacific

Independent UN experts urge Laos to probe disappearance of prominent rights activist

A group of independent United Nations experts today urged the Government of Laos to boost its investigation into the enforced disappearance a year ago of Sombath Somphone, a prominent human rights activist working on issues of land confiscation and assisting victims in denouncing such practices.

Needs remain enormous in typhoon-hit Philippine areas, senior UN official reports

Humanitarian and early recovery needs remain great in typhoon-hit Philippines, a senior United Nations official said following a joint international mission to the areas of Guiuan, Ormoc and Tacloban.

UN human rights chief dismayed as India re-criminalizes same-sex relationships

The United Nations human rights chief today voiced her disappointment at the re-criminalization of consensual same-sex relationships in India, calling it “a significant step backwards” for the country.

Myanmar: UN human rights expert welcomes latest release of political prisoners

An independent United Nations human rights expert today welcomed the release of 44 prisoners of conscience in Myanmar, hailing it as an important step towards fulfilling President Thein Sein’s pledge of freedom for all political prisoners by the end of this year.

Ban urges Bangladesh’s leaders to solve differences over elections through dialogue

Voicing strong concern over widespread violence in Bangladesh that has left dozens of people dead since last month, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to resolve differences over upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for January through dialogue.

UN rights chief makes last-minute appeal to halt execution of Bangladeshi politician

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay today called for an eleventh-hour stay of execution for Abdul Quader Mollah, a Bangladeshi politician convicted of war crimes in a trial that did not meet international standards for imposition of the death penalty.

Shamshad Akhtar of Pakistan to head UN Asia-Pacific regional development arm

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed seasoned economist Shamshad Akhtar of Pakistan as the new head of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

Amid fair trial concerns, UN experts urge Bangladesh to halt impending execution

Two independent United Nations human rights experts today urged the Bangladeshi Government to halt the execution of Abdul Quader Mollah, whose death sentence could be carried out as early as tomorrow, amid concerns that he did not receive a fair trial.

UN reports 'slow, uneven' use of Afghan law protecting women

Afghan authorities registered an increased number of reported acts of violence against women and girls in the past year, but prosecutions and convictions under a landmark law remained low with most cases settled by mediation, according to an annual United Nations report released today.

Philippines: ‘encouraging progress’ but long road ahead – senior UN official

One month since Typhoon Haiyan slammed the Philippines, the top United Nations humanitarian official in the country today urged the international community to continue support so that people have access to food and clean water, as well as shelter and jobs.