UN and family appeal for release of UNHCR official abducted in Pakistan

UN Calling Asia - a weekly magazine programme, in English, that keeps you in touch with UN developments covering Asia and the Pacific.

John Solecki with an Afghan refugee child in Quetta

UN teams in Pakistan, Geneva and New York have been working tirelessly to secure the release of John Solecki, a senior official with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) who was abducted in Pakistan on February 2nd. His driver, Syed Hashim, was killed in the attack. This week, UNHCR again expressed concern that Mr. Solecki could be seriously ill. The agency joins his mother Rose, 83, in appealing for his release.

International community urged to continue to support Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s future was the focus of a conference in The Hague on Tuesday, March 31. Approximately 80 countries and dozens of international and non-governmental organizations participated in the event, which was sponsored by the government. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says 2009 is the year of Afghanistan, and he welcomed US President Barack Obama’s commitment to increase the US military and political engagement in the region. The Secretary-General emphasized that there is no room for failure, as Afghanistan prepares for presidential elections in August.

UN Mine Action chief visits Afghanistan ahead of Mine Awareness Day

Mine field in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. Landmines, some of which were laid 30 years ago, kill up to 50 Afghans a month. The UN and its partners are working to make Afghanistan landmine-free by 2013. Ahead of International Mine Awareness Day which is celebrated on April 4, the head of the UN Mine Action Service visited various projects in the country. Maxwell Kerley (left, in photo) is hopeful that the goal of a mine-free Afghanistan can be achieved.

Producer: Dianne Penn
Production Assistant : Sandra Guy
Duration: 14’00″

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