Asia Pacific

Ban welcomes prisoner release and other important moves by Myanmar authorities

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has commended the authorities in Myanmar on the long-awaited release of political prisoners today, as well as other important efforts being made to advance democracy and national reconciliation.

Afghanistan: UN-backed survey shows sharp rise in opium production and prices

The price of opium in Afghanistan rose dramatically last year, according to a joint survey by the United Nations and the Government that was released today, which also shows that the farm-gate income from the narcotic probably amounted to over $1.4 billion, equivalent to nine per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

India on track to become polio-free, says UN health agency

With no registered polio cases over the past year, India is on course to becoming free of the disease, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) reported today.

UNESCO condemns killing of journalists in the Philippines and Syria

The head of the United Nations agency in charge of defending press freedom condemned today the recent murders of journalists in the Philippines and Syria and called on authorities to investigate the crimes thoroughly.

Ban deplores deadly bombing in north-western Pakistani town

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned the terrorist bombing in the north-western Pakistani town of Jamrud earlier today that has left dozens of people dead or wounded.

Cycle of ethnic violence in South Sudanese state must end, UN envoy says

The "cycle of violence" between ethnic communities in Jonglei state in South Sudan must end, the top United Nations official in the newly independent country has warned, calling on the Government, church leaders, civil society groups and the communities themselves to each play their part to achieve peace in the troubled area.

Pakistan: UNICEF hands over 35 new schools in flood-affected Punjab

Thirty-five new schools constructed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) with donor funding in the southern area of Punjab province in Pakistan, which was devastated by floods in 2010, have opened with 4,500 pupils attending classes, the agency reported today.

Ban welcomes move to end state of emergency in Fiji

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the announcement by Fiji that it will lift the state of emergency imposed in 2009, calling it a “positive step” towards restoring constitutional order in the South Pacific archipelago.

UN food agency launches initiative to fight hunger in Afghan cities

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today a new food subsidy initiative geared towards providing Afghanistan’s urban poor with guaranteed access to provisions despite the threat of food insecurity across the country.