Asia Pacific

Annan calls for ‘prompt return to democratic rule’ following the coup in Thailand

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called for a “prompt return to civilian, democratic rule” and elections as soon as possible in Thailand following the military coup that ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

UNESCO chief voices ‘grave concern’ over death of jailed journalist in Turkmenistan

The head of the United Nations organization entrusted with defending freedom of expression and the press today voiced “grave concern” over the death in jail of a Turkmen journalist and called on the authorities of the former Soviet Central Asian country to investigate the circumstances and try those responsible in the event of foul play.

UN envoy in Timor-Leste calls for unity; pledges to strengthen the justice system

Urging all Timorese to work together in the wake of the deadly violence that flared up this year in the tiny South-East Asian country, the top United Nations envoy today pledged increased support for the fledgling judicial system, while the UN’s senior police officer in Timor-Leste called on everyone to help in the drive to collect illegal weapons.

UNICEF opens new permanent schools in tsunami-ravaged Indonesia

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has opened the first two of nearly 370 permanent schools it has agreed to build in Indonesia in a $90-million project to replace those destroyed nearly two years ago by the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami, an agency spokesman announced today.

As winter looms in Tajikistan, UN appeals for $1 million for earthquake relief

The United Nations today appealed for $1 million for emergency aid over the next six months to help victims of the July earthquakes in Tajikistan, which destroyed or damaged nearly 2,600 houses and affected some 21,000 people, as winter approaches.

Secretary-General expresses alarm at reports of coup in Thailand

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan voiced concern today at news of a military coup in Thailand, saying he was disturbed at any change of power through undemocratic means.

Security Task Force in Timor-Leste agrees to step up disarmament – UN mission

A Security Task Force in Timor-Leste, where violence earlier this year caused over three dozen deaths and forced some 150,000 people to flee their homes, has agreed to step up a national disarmament campaign, the United Nations mission there (UNMIT) has reported.

Deadly suicide attack in Afghanistan is a ‘crime against humanity’: UN envoy

The top United Nations envoy to Afghanistan said a suicide attack today in the southern province of Kandahar that killed four Canadian soldiers and wounded or killed tens of civilians, mainly children, was a “crime against humanity” and an atrocity against all Afghans.

Afghan poppy growing requires security, law enforcement response – UN official

A sharp rise in opium cultivation in Afghanistan – by far the world’s largest supplier – must be met with security and law enforcement as well as efforts to reduce demand in the countries where illegal drug users reside, a senior United Nations official said today.

Turkmenistan: UN rights office urges independent probe of journalist’s death in prison

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today expressed serious concern about the recent death of a journalist in a prison in Turkmenistan and urged the country’s authorities to launch a full and independent investigation into what happened.