Asia Pacific

Using officials and donkeys, Afghans prepare for historic presidential vote

The people of Afghanistan will vote on 9 October in the first presidential election in their history with the help of more than 115,000 polling officials, 100,000 voting screens and 300 donkeys, the United Nations mission to the country said today as it unveiled details of the final preparations taking place.

UNICEF calls for better enforcement against child traffickers in South Asia

As delegates gather in Sri Lanka to review efforts to halt the commercial sexual exploitation of South Asian children, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today called for better enforcement against traffickers and more cross-border cooperation by the region’s governments.

US lawyer named to Security Council panel on Al-Qaida sanctions

A lawyer from the United States with expertise in identifying terrorists and freezing their assets has been named to a team tracking sanctions against Al-Qaida and the Taliban by the United Nations Security Council.

Annan calls for help to push forward democratic transition in Myanmar

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today expressed his hope that countries would redouble their actions, and provide support for United Nations efforts, to move forward the democratic transition in Myanmar.

UN scheme to immunize 6 million Afghan children against polio begins

At least 6 million young children across Afghanistan will be vaccinated against polio in a three-day drive starting today that is part of a campaign by United Nations agencies to wipe out the virus in a country where it appears to be on the decline.

Myanmar has not lifted its human rights performance, UN expert says

The human rights situation in Myanmar has not improved, with large numbers of people in detention, harsh sentences for peaceful political activities and restrictions on the operations of opposition parties, the United Nations expert tracking the issue says in his latest report.

Annan hails push for democratization, rule of law by Southeast Asian nations

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today praised foreign ministers from Southeast Asian nations meeting in New York for their efforts to democratize their societies and strengthen the rule of law.

WHO in Thailand investigating possible spread of bird flu by humans

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) is helping authorities in Thailand determine if two recent cases of bird flu are evidence of the first human-to-human transmission of the virus, raising fears of a possible influenza pandemic.

UN peacekeeping chief warns of attacks in Afghanistan as election date nears

With only 11 days remaining before the people of Afghanistan go to the polls to elect a president for the first time in their history, the senior United Nations peacekeeping official today warned there may be many violent incidents around the country in the run-up as groups try to disrupt the electoral process.

Bird flu crisis of 'global importance,' UN agency warns

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today warned that the bird flu epidemic in Asia is a "crisis of global importance," and predicted that the virus, which continues to circulate in the region, will probably not be eradicated in the near future.