Asia Pacific

UN helps train Timorese police on internal discipline in further step towards stability

Police officers in Timor-Leste are undergoing a three-month training course on tackling internal misconduct in a United Nations-backed initiative to enhance their credibility in the streets as the country cements its recovery from an outbreak of deadly violence five years ago.

After latest release, UN expert urges Myanmar to free all political prisoners

United Nations officials today welcomed the decision by Myanmar’s President to grant amnesty and release a significant number of detainees and urged the Government to free all remaining political prisoners.

Myanmar: UN helps Government devise disaster mitigation plans

A senior United Nations official arrived in Myanmar today to help the Government devise measures to reduce the impact of natural disasters through early warning systems and other steps in a country where an estimated 140,000 people were killed and 2.4 million others affected by Cyclone Nargis in 2008.

Security Council extends mandate of international force in Afghanistan

The Security Council today extended the authorization of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan for another year, welcoming the agreement between the country and troop-contributing States to gradually transfer key security responsibilities to the Afghan Government by the end of 2014.

Judge in UN-backed Cambodian court pledges to press on after colleague resigns

The national co-investigating judge in the United Nations-backed Cambodian genocide tribunal today affirmed that he will continue to fulfil his mandate independently and in compliance with the principles stipulated in the law, despite the resignation of his international colleague.

UN-backed survey shows increase in opium production in Afghanistan

The cultivation in Afghanistan of opium poppies – the crop used to make heroin and other drugs – has increased by seven per cent this year because of continued insecurity and higher prices, a United Nations-backed survey reveals today.

Sri Lankan refugee returns by sea to begin tomorrow - UN agency

The first returns of Sri Lankan refugees by commercial ferry from India will start tomorrow, the United Nations announced today, marking the first time such repatriation is done by sea.

Thailand should amend defamation laws to comply with freedom of speech – UN expert

A United Nations human rights expert today called on Thailand to amend laws that impose jail terms of three to 15 years on “whoever defames, insults or threatens” top members of the country’s royal family, stressing that their vagueness contravened international treaties.

Systematic torture in Afghan detention facilities – UN report

A United Nations report released today cites evidence of the “systematic” torture and mistreatment of detainees in Afghan detention facilities, including children, and issues recommendations which it hopes will spur reforms.

Facing droughts, Pacific islands need urgent risk mitigation steps, UN warns

Amid growing concerns about drought crises in some small island States of the Pacific, the United Nations today called for comprehensive risk reduction steps to be put in place to protect vulnerable populations living in delicate ecosystems.