This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Myanmar: Rights expert urges Korea to play ‘enhanced leadership role’
At the end of an official visit to South Korea, a top independent rights expert urged on Monday that the country take the regional lead in ending violence against civilians in Myanmar.
UN Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews, who reports to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, said that many people in Myanmar continue to oppose the military, since it staged a coup in February 2021.
Hundreds of protesters died during initial clashes with the military, which continues to hold 54 million people “hostage”, Mr. Andrews added.
Among his recommendations, the UN independent expert called on Seoul to denounce “fraudulent elections” that the junta is planning next year.
The Special Rapporteur, who is not a UN official, also urged South Korea to impose sanctions on key economic targets associated with the junta.
Moreover, he asked South Korea’s to extend its generous humanitarian visa programme, which allows Myanmar nationals to find work by ruling that “all persons from Myanmar residing in South Korea – including irregular migrants – can regularise their status, to avoid exploitation and abuse”.
WHO updates list of ‘priority pathogens’ including ‘Disease X’
A key scientific mission is underway, led by the UN health agency, to track and update what we know about global health threats, including “Disease X”.
The UN World Health Organization, or WHO, said on Monday that the task will involve updating its list of “priority pathogens” – ones that cause outbreaks or pandemics – so that investment and research into vaccines, tests and treatments, can be agreed among nations.
More than 300 scientists worldwide will look into data on 25 virus families and bacteria, as well as “Disease X”, which according to WHO is “an unknown pathogen that could cause a serious international epidemic.”
The UN health agency published its first list of priority pathogens in 2017.
It includes diseases like COVID-19, Ebola and Marburg virus, Lassa fever, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Nipah and Zika.
2021 Global intellectual property filings reached new records: WIPO
Patents, trademarks and designs reached record levels in 2021 with Asia driving growth in intellectual property, UN agency WIPO said on Monday.
The World Intellectual Property Organization indicated that this bucked the trend from previous economic downturns and came despite the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic.
Data published in WIPO’s latest report indicated that innovators filed 3.4 million patent applications globally last year; this was up 3.6 per cent from 2020, with Asia driving more than two-thirds of requests.
China showed strong growth in local patent filings – up by 5.5 per cent, along with India (also up 5.5 per cent) and South Korea (up 2.5 per cent).
In the United States, patent filing dropped by 1.2 per cent, in Japan by 1.7 and in Germany 3.9, last year.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.