Asia Pacific

UN envoy arrives in Myanmar seeking democracy leaders’ release

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s special envoy to Myanmar arrived in the South Asian country again today on a three-day mission in a bid to secure the release of detained democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other officials of her party.

UN refugee chief reaffirms commitment to Iraqi people

The United Nations refugee agency opened its annual top level meeting today with a reaffirmation of its commitment to Iraq, where most international staff have been temporarily withdrawn, and a pledge to work closely with local authorities to help hundreds of thousands of displaced Iraqis eventually return home.

UN officials condemn killing of aid workers in Afghanistan

United Nations officials in Kabul today deplored the murder of two Afghan aid workers who died of gunshot wounds near Kandahar earlier this week.

Inadequate plumbing likely contributed to spread of SARS in Hong Kong – WHO

Inadequate plumbing likely contributed to the spread of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in residential buildings in Hong Kong, according to a team of international experts led by the United Nations health agency.

UNICEF voices ‘grave concern’ at child trafficking in Afghanistan

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today expressed “grave concern” over the reported abduction and trafficking to neighbouring countries of Afghan children, some as young as four, and called on the government to use “the full weight of the law” against those found responsible.

Ministers voice 'deep concern' over lawlessness in Afghanistan after talks at UN

Insecurity and lawlessness, often as a result of arbitrary rule by local factions and continued drug trafficking, remain top concerns in Afghanistan as the worn-torn country seeks to build national government institutions, according to a statement issued after a high-level meeting at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

UN rights chief asks both sides in Nepal to respect international law

The Acting United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Bertrand Ramcharan, today called on the Government of Nepal to "act swiftly" on a local investigation into a series of bloody incidents in the conflict in that country.

UN official lauds Viet Nam for reducing poverty by 40% since mid-1980s

Marking the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) presence in Viet Nam, a senior agency official today praised the country for reducing poverty by 40 per cent and transforming itself “from a food-hungry nation to the second largest rice exporter in the world.”

Need to support Afghanistan likely to continue beyond Bonn timetable - Annan

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today asked a special ministerial meeting of some 20 countries, including some of the world's richest, for renewed help for the Afghan Government and said the support will likely be required into the future because "the need is even greater than we thought and likely to last longer."

Calling for release of democracy leader, Annan sends top envoy back to Myanmar

Reiterating his call to Myanmar's government to release detained democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other party officials without delay, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is sending his special envoy back to the South Asian country next week to seek ways to revive the national reconciliation process.