This week Just Asia begins with a new UN report stating that 821 million people, or one out of nine persons globally, is facing hunger. Titled ‘State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019’, the report was launched by five UN agencies at a special event Monday, in New York. Of the world’s 821.6 million hungry people, 513.9 million are in Asia. The report noted that the number of hungry people had increased in the past three years. South Asia in particular, has seen an increase in “severe food insecurity” between 2017 and 2018. This is linked to slow economic growth and increasing income inequality.
Next, Hong Kong continues to see protests against Chief Executive Carrie Lam and the territory’s authorities with regard to the extradition bill. On Sunday, hundreds of journalists and their supporters marched to police headquarters and the Chief Executive’s office, demanding an investigation into police violence against protesters. The HK Journalists Association said it had received many complaints of police abuse. Later Sunday evening, clashes broke out between other protesters marching in Sha Tin and riot police. After many protesters moved to a nearby shopping mall, the police followed, and more violence ensued.
Moving to South Asia, heavy monsoon rains are battering Nepal, India and Bangladesh. The death toll is already over 150, with millions affected. In Nepal, at least 78 persons lost their lives in recent floods and landslides, with 32 persons missing, and hundreds of thousands battling for survival. Similarly, 83,000 persons have been displaced by floods in the North east Indian state of Assam, with an estimated 4.3 million people affected. In Bihar, east India, another 2.56 million people were hit by flash floods, with many homes washed out. The total reported death toll in Bangladesh currently stands at 34, with thousands marooned.
Next, the United States announced sanctions on Burma’s military Commander-in-Chief, Min Aung Hlaing, and other military leaders Tuesday, barring them from entry to the United States. These are the strongest steps the United States has taken in response to massacres of minority Rohingyas in Burma.
Next, the UN Human Rights Council narrowly passed a resolution to investigate Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s violent war on drugs. The Council has authorized UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet to examine evidence of thousands of deaths, and present her report within a year. While the drug war’s official death toll stands at 5,300, human rights groups estimate the real figure to be between 12,000 and 20,000.
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