The UN Human Rights Council on Friday condemned continuing systematic rights abuse by Myanmar's military rulers, including the high number of political prisoners.
The 47-nation body also passed a separate resolution extending the mandate of the UN investigator of Myanmar for another year.
The council expressed its "deep concern at the situation of human rights in Myanmar, including the violent repression of the peaceful demonstrations of September 2007, and the failure of the government to investigate and bring to justice the perpetrators of these violations."
Pakistan said the resolution leaned toward political aspects of the country's rule rather than human rights issues. India said the resolution was discriminatory and China said the international community should acknowledge positive steps taken by Myanmar to improve the rights situation.
But Slovenia, which put forward the proposal, said: "The European Union particularly deplores the continuous imposition of restrictions on the freedom of movement, expression, assembly and association; the prevailing culture of impunity, ongoing summary executions, torture and forced labor practices, recruitment of child soldiers and sexual violence."
It said Myanmar's military junta failed to live up to the council's demand, made in an emergency meeting in October, that the violent crackdown be investigated and political prisoners be released.
The COVID-19 variant discovered in South Africa can “break through” Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine to some extent, a real-world data study released on Saturday found, although its prevalence in the country is low and the research has not been peer reviewed. The study in Israel compared almost 400 people who had tested positive for COVID-19, 14 days or more after they received one or two doses of the vaccine, against the same number of unvaccinated people with the disease. It matched age and gender, among other characteristics. The South African variant, B.1.351, was found to make up about 1 percent of all the COVID-19
RARE ADMISSION: A top Chinese expert was the first to publicly address the efficacy of the nation’s vaccines as it aims to inoculate 40 percent of its population by June China is considering mixing different COVID-19 vaccines to improve the relatively low efficacy of its existing options, a top health expert told a conference in Chengdu on Saturday. Authorities have to “consider ways to solve the issue that efficacy rates of existing vaccines are not high,” Chinese media outlet The Paper reported, citing Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Gao Fu (高福). His comments mark the first time a top Chinese expert has publicly alluded to the relatively low efficacy of the country’s vaccines, as China forges ahead in its mass vaccination campaign and exports its jabs around the world. China
The Australian government yesterday said that it had decided against buying the single-dose Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine and identified a second case of a rare blood clot likely linked to the AstraZeneca shot. The Australian government had been in talks with the New Jersey-based pharmaceutical giant, which had asked the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration for provisional registration. However, Australian Minister of Health Greg Hunt ruled out a J&J contract, because its vaccine was similar to the AstraZeneca product, which Australia had already contracted for 53.8 million doses. Hunt said the government was following the advice of Australia’s scientific and technical advisory
The Indonesian government has said it is satisfied with the effectiveness of the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine it has been using, after China’s top disease control official said that current vaccines offer low protection against the novel coronavirus. Siti Nadia Tarmizi, a spokesperson for Indonesia’s COVID-19 vaccine program, on Monday said the WHO had found that the Chinese vaccines had met requirements by being more than 50 percent effective. Clinical trials in Indonesia for the vaccine from Chinese drugmaker Sinovac showed that it was 65 percent effective, she said. “It means ... the ability to form antibodies in our bodies is still very