Asia Pacific

FEATURE: Nepal’s heritage sites on shaky ground after devastating quake

Against the backdrop of Nepal’s humming capital of Kathmandu, in a centre just off Durbar Square, it would be difficult to miss the elderly woman smiling warmly in a bright red sari. She is among those offering traditional, homespun goods, the cultural heritage of the country that is part of the allure that, for centuries, has compelled travellers to visit in droves.

UN rights office calls on Myanmar to release jailed columnist and guarantee free expression

Appalled at the two-year prison sentence handed down to U Htin Lin Oo on charges of insulting religion, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today urged the Myanmar authorities to release the columnist and guarantee freedom of expression and opinion in the country.

Philippines: UN experts urge country to tackle ‘chronic’ prison overcrowding

The United Nations torture prevention body is urging the Philippines to deal urgently with prison overcrowding and improve independent monitoring of places of detention as part of efforts to protect people deprived of their liberty against torture and cruel treatment.

UN agriculture agency and IKEA join forces for sustainable forest management

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has teamed up with big-box retailer IKEA to launch a new initiative aimed at promoting the sustainable management of forest plantations and empowering forest-reliant communities in Viet Nam.

Afghanistan: outgoing rights official at UN mission pledges commitment to advancing women’s rights

While the outgoing senior United Nations rights official in Afghanistan said she expected the human rights advances made “will be sustained, will not be rolled back, and will not be sacrificed,” she lamented the high level of violence against women and the need for the Government to do “much more” for women’s rights.

UN expert calls on Azerbaijan to free human rights defenders ahead of 2015 Baku Games

United Nations Special Rapporteur Michel Forst today criticized the “relentless prosecution and repression of prominent rights activists in Azerbaijan” and called for their immediate release – before the inaugural European Games begin in Baku on 12 June.

Ban saddened by passenger ship accident in China

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed his sadness over a ship accident that occurred last night in China, reportedly resulting in major casualties.

Cost of child maltreatment in Asia-Pacific tops $200 billion annually, reports UNICEF

Child abuse and violence is costing countries in East Asia and the Pacific around $209 billion a year, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced today in the first costing of child maltreatment in the region, revealing that “inaction about violence results in serious economic costs to countries and communities.”

In Nepal, UN rushes to replace quake-damaged healthcare facilities ahead of monsoon

The United Nations health agency is racing critical medical supplies to fourteen of Nepal's most earthquake-affected districts in an effort to restore health services before the onset of monsoon season.