JAPAN ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN CHINA

Japan’s parliament adopted a resolution on the “serious human rights situation” in China, and called Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government to take steps to relieve the situation, as the Beijing Winter Olympics loom just days ahead. Japan has already announced it will not send a government delegation to the Games, following a U.S.-led diplomatic boycott over concerns about China’s human rights condition, although Tokyo avoided explicitly labelling its move as such. Since taking office in October, Kishida has said on multiple occasions that Japan would not mince words with China when necessary, and in November appointed former defence minister Gen Nakatani as his aide on human rights. The resolution, adopted by the lower chamber, said the international community has expressed concerns over such issues as internment and the violation of religious freedom in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Tibet and Hong Kong.

JOKOWI SEEKS  SUPPORT FOR NUSANTARA FROM MUSLIM GROUP

President Joko Widodo of Indonesia is drumming up support for Nusantara, Indonesia’s planned new capital city, from the country’s largest Muslim group, Nahdlatul Ulama, as well as local sultanates and indigenous communities – amid loud criticism in Jakarta. The president flew to the city of Balikpapan in East Kalimantan Province, in the Indonesian part of Borneo island, where NU was holding a ceremony to inaugurate members of its new national executive board. The Muslim group declared a plan to build a main office near the proposed site of new capital Nusantara in Penajam Paser Utara regency, just next to Balikpapan. Yahya Cholil Staquf, the newly elected chairman of NU, applauded the government’s decision to move the capital as an “out-of-the-box” proposal.

MALAYSIA COMMITTED TO FORGING COLLABORATION WITH QATAR

Malaysia has expressed its readiness to forge new collaboration with Qatar, especially in the fields of economy, education and welfare. Malaysia said it is also ready to cooperate with Qatar in efforts to redevelop Afghanistan, including coordinating humanitarian aid missions. These are among the main topics Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang, the Prime Minister’s special envoy to the Middle East, focused on during a four-day working visit to Qatar from January 31 until February 4. According to a statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister’s special envoy to the Middle East, Abdul Hadi’s visit to Qatar had received the mandate and approval of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

AFRICAN UNION ADOPTS SWAHILI AS OFFICIAL LANGUAGE

The Africa Union, which is made up of 55 member states, has officially adopted Swahili as an official working language. The approval comes following a request by Tanzanian Vice President Philip Mpango, who argued that over 100 million people in Africa speak Swahili, thus becoming one of the most widely spoken languages in the African continent. “Kiswahili (another name for Swahili) is already in use in various communities, including the East African Community (EAC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as well as a teaching language in many African countries,” Mpango said, adding it is a language commonly spoken in the EAC.  For a long time, African leaders have tried to push for the AU to adopt Swahili as the Pan African language.

AZERBAIJANI NGOS URGE UN STEPS AGAINST ARMENIA

The heads of several Azerbaijan-based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have urged UN bodies to take steps against the hate-motivated actions against Azerbaijan by Armenians working for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). As a result of discussions held in Baku, they have sent an appeal to UN Secretary-General António Guterres. It was stressed at the meeting that a group of Armenian UNDP employees, including Armen Grigoryan, Narine Sahakyan, Mary Tavoukjian and Stepan Margaryan, published defamation and insults on their social media accounts not only against Azerbaijan, but also against all Turkic peoples, and openly promoted separatism, abusing the status of UN employees.

AU POSTPONES DEBATE ON ISRAEL’S OBSERVER STATUS

The African Union postponed a debate on whether Israel’s observer status should be withdrawn, avoiding a division, the pan-African body’s newly elected chairman for 2022 said. Speaking to reporters at the end of the two-day summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Macky Sall said they discussed the issue thoroughly and agreed to postpone it until the next summit in 2023. “This issue can divide us, Africa cannot be divided,” he said, adding that division would result in a fragile institution that may not effectively focus on serious issues. He added that a committee has been set up, which will consult with member states and build a consensus on the matter. “It will be composed of eight heads of state and governments, and will present its recommendations at the next summit.”

TOKAYEV HOLDS MEETING WITH TATAR PRESIDENT

Kazakh Head of State Kassym-Jomart Tokayev met with President Rustam Minnikhanov of Tatarstan. The Kazakh leader gave high appreciation to the dynamical development of Tatarstan under the strong and authoritative leadership of Rustam Minnikhanov and wished him further success for the benefit of the people of the Republic. In his turn, the Tatar President expressed the Kazakh Head of State appreciation for the visit to Kazan and noted the strategic importance of development of cooperation with Kazakhstan. During the meeting, Tokayev was awarded the Duslyk Order for the great contribution to the development of cooperation between Kazakhstan and Tatarstan, strengthening of friendship and mutual understanding between the people.

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