Asia Pacific

Afghan conflict takes increasing toll on civilians in first half of 2013 – UN report

The number of Afghan civilians killed or injured in the first half of 2013 rose by 23 per cent compared to the same period last year, owing mainly to the increased use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by insurgents, according to a United Nations report released today.

Following Cambodian elections, UN rights expert appeals for calm

A United Nations independent expert today appealed for calm and reconciliation in Cambodia, following the country's “largely peaceful” presidential elections on 28 July.

India school deaths highlight need to phase out toxic pesticides – UN agency

The tragic incident in India in which nearly two dozen children died after eating a contaminated school meal is a stark reminder that highly hazardous pesticides should be phased out in developing countries, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today.

Myanmar: UN expert welcomes latest release of prisoners, warns of ongoing arrests

A United Nations independent expert today welcomed Myanmar’s latest release of prisoners of conscience, but raised concerns over ongoing arrests of activists in the country.

PHOTO FEATURE: A day in the life of Nicholas Haysom, UN deputy chief in Afghanistan

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is a special political mission established by the Security Council in 2002 at the request of the Government to assist it and the people of Afghanistan in laying the foundations for sustainable peace and development in the country.

Australia-Papua New Guinea asylum accord raises serious protection issues – UN agency

Following a review of a new Australian asylum agreement, the United Nations refugee agency today said that it was “troubled” by a lack of protection standards and safeguards in the policy, under which Australia will move asylum-seekers to Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Cambodia: UN expert calls for fair, peaceful vote, ahead of National Assembly elections

As Cambodians prepare to go to the polls this Sunday, a United Nations independent expert has reiterated his call for free, fair and peaceful election that is underpinned by respect for human rights before, during and after polling day.

DPR Korea: UN teams assessing flood damage from heavy seasonal rains

United Nations assessment teams in north-eastern Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have reached some of the areas most badly affected by two weeks of heavy seasonal rain and could report on the flood damage as early as today.

Ban expresses condolences following deadly earthquake in north-west China

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed his deepest condolences following the earthquake that struck China’s north-west Gansu province and resulted in numerous deaths and injuries.

Myanmar: UN chief welcomes release of dozens of political prisoners

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the release of 73 political prisoners in Myanmar yesterday, as well as the announcement by the country’s leader that the rest will be freed by the end of the year.