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UN condemns violence in Papua New Guinea elections
New York: The UN team in Papua New Guinea condemns a recent escalation of violence across the Highlands region during the current election period, a UN spokesman said on Thursday.
Acting Resident Coordinator Dirk Wagener expressed his deep concern over allegations of the killing of dozens of civilians, said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. There were reports of sexual violence against women and the displacement of thousands of people, primarily women and children.
Wagener called for a swift investigation into alleged crimes, the spokesman told reporters at a regular briefing.
Haq said businesses and markets closed, trenches dug across roads and destroyed bridges halted traffic. Schools and medical facilities were damaged.
"This has resulted in disruptions in the delivery of goods and services to impacted communities, which are now experiencing shortages of food, fuel, medicines, and other critical supplies," the spokesman said.
"Wagener called for an immediate cessation of violence in the Highlands and for humanitarian assistance to be delivered to affected communities," Haq said. "The United Nations and its partners stand ready to respond to any call for assistance if requested by the government."
Balloting in Papua New Guinea, one of the world's poorest countries, ends Friday, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems said on its website. Results are to be announced by July 29.
Voters are choosing 118 representatives to serve five-year terms from more than 3,600 candidates, the foundation said. (ANI)