Asia Pacific

Continuing conflict hinders UN humanitarian operations in Afghanistan

Insecurity throughout much of Afghanistan, particularly in southern, south-eastern and eastern Regions, continues to impede United Nations humanitarian operations in the war-torn country, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) reported in its latest update.

UN Commissioner for Human Rights appoints envoy for insurgency-plagued Nepal

Lena Sundh, a Swedish diplomat who has specialised in conflict management and peacekeeping during a 30-year career for her country and the United Nations, has been appointed the UN representative for human rights in Nepal, which endures abuses on both sides of a decade-long Maoist insurgency.

UN relief officials say they need better access in war-torn areas in Sri Lanka

While supporting the Sri Lankan government’s relief efforts for some 204,000 people currently displaced in the north and east, who have fled their homes as a result of the escalating violence, the United Nations’ top emergency relief official said today there are serious concerns about lack of access to some areas, especially in the Tamil north.

UN commission of inquiry issues report on violent crisis that shook Timor-Leste

Timor-Leste’s then interior and defence ministers and defence force chief acted illegally in transferring weapons to civilians during the violence that shook the small South-East Asian country early this year and should be prosecuted, according to a United Nations report on the crisis released today.

UN says it is encouraged by new Thai government priority to improve Myanmar camps

The 140,000 refugees from Myanmar living in Thailand may soon be issued identity cards by Thai authorities that should permit them to move freely outside their camps to work legally, the United Nations refugee agency said today after a recent meeting with the new Prime Minister.

Opium cultivation in Asia’s Golden Triangle falls significantly, UN drug agency reports

Opium poppy cultivation in the Golden Triangle of Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, the world’s second largest source of the raw material for heroin after Afghanistan, fell 29 per cent in 2006, bringing the total decline in the region since 1998 to 85 per cent, the United Nations anti-narcotics agency reported on Monday.

UN’s environmental agency warns of rising marine pollution threat from land-sources

With close to 90 per cent of Asia’s sewage discharged without treatment the region’s marine environment is increasingly stressed, threatening economically vital coastal areas, including fishery industries, the United Nations’ environmental agency warned today.

Secretary-General deplores ‘appalling’ suicide bombing in Sri Lanka

Warning against a renewed civil war in Sri Lanka between the Government and Tamil separatists after the latest “appalling” suicide bombing of a convoy of military buses, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on the sides to return to the negotiation table.

Afghan refugees in Pakistan begin to register with help from UN agency

Pakistani authorities, with assistance from the United Nations refugee agency, issued identification cards for more than 1,000 people on the starting day of the country’s first-ever registration of Afghans living in Pakistan.

Many Asian countries falling short of global development goals, warns UN report

While the Asia-Pacific region as a whole is on track to achieve most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), progress in many individual countries is slow and performance on some of the vital targets – including infant mortality and access to basic sanitation – is unsatisfactory, according to a new United Nations joint report released today.