• Human Rights

    Women Descend on the UN, Riding on the Heels of #TimesUp

    by  • March 12, 2018 • Gender-Based Violence, Human Rights, Secretary-General, Women • 2 Comments

    As women across the world battle systemic harassment and worse abuses for merely being female, the United Nations has opened its annual gathering of women in one of its biggest conferences of the year. This time, the 12-day meeting focuses on the status of rural women, but since it follows closely on the heels...

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    UN Agencies Moving Into Blockchain to Help People in Crisis Settings

    by  • February 27, 2018 • Gender-Based Violence, Human Rights, Poverty, Refugees, UN Agencies • 

      Blockchain technology emerged alongside Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency powering digital payments through a peer-to-peer system, currency trading and even, in some cases, black-market transactions. Now, some United Nations agencies are using blockchain to provide basic identification to refugees and others in developing countries as well as for specific actions like helping refugees obtain food...

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    Changing the Minds of Youths to Stop India’s Extreme Bias Against Girls

    by  • February 26, 2018 • Gender-Based Violence, Human Rights, India, Poverty • 

    HARYANA, India — In 2014, Breakthrough India, an independent human-rights organization, launched a program to tackle gender discrimination throughout 150 schools in Haryana, one of India’s most gender-biased states. A 2011 census showed that Haryana, a primarily agricultural state bordering Delhi in northern India, had the worst child-sex ratio in the country, with only...

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    The ‘Incredible Courage’ of Asma Jahangir, Pakistan’s Human-Rights Advocate

    by  • February 17, 2018 • Asia, Human Rights, Women • 

    Only a few days before Pakistan’s most famous human-rights advocate, Asma Jahangir, was felled by a heart attack on Feb. 11, she was speaking out in support of a group of ethnic Pashtuns who had marched across the country from their homes along the Afghanistan border to protest military brutality. A Pashtun boy had...

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    Why Turkey’s Model Work Permits for Refugees Don’t Actually Work

    by  • February 5, 2018 • Human Rights, Poverty, Refugees, Syria, WORLDVIEWS • 

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A major problem with Turkey for the millions of refugees there, it has a model work permit system for the newcomers, but it still bars them from the country’s labor market. Such problems can be overcome, experts contend, so that the refugees can work for decent wages in Turkey. Izza Leghtas,...

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    Thank You, UN, for Defending Our Human Rights Against Gross Violations

    by  • January 30, 2018 • Human Rights, WORLDVIEWS • 

    From 1970 to 2000, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the predecessor to today’s Human Rights Council, considered in closed meetings and acted on some 80 country situations where there were reliable allegations of gross violations of human rights. In parallel, the UN Decolonization Committee and the Special Committee Against Apartheid gathered information,...

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    Blessed Are the Peace-Builders in Ukraine: Female Activists Repair a Broken Country

    by  • January 21, 2018 • Gender-Based Violence, Health and Population, Human Rights, Women • 

    KYIV, Ukraine — There is no escaping that Ukraine is at war — although it is not totally apparent who the Ukrainian military and volunteer vigilantes are fighting in the east: Russian “separatists” or Russians themselves? No one can definitively say who is who or decide up from down, one of the living puzzles...

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    Leave the UN’s Human-Rights Treaty System Alone

    by  • January 7, 2018 • Human Rights, WORLDVIEWS • 1 Comment

    The United Nations Charter requires each and every member state to discharge its obligations by faithfully carrying out norms of legally binding international human-rights law. These may be norms of international customary law, those contained in treaties or those flowing from general principles of international law. The human-rights provisions in the Charter were amplified...

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    Sexual Harassment at the UN Is Alive and Persistent

    by  • December 22, 2017 • Gender-Based Violence, Human Rights, Secretary-General, UN Diplomats, Women • 2 Comments

    As its people of the year, Time magazine recently named the Silence Breakers — people who have spoken against sexual harassment and launched the hashtag #MeToo into an international phenomenon with more than seven million hits on social media. Just before the announcement, more than 230 women who work in national security for the...

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    In East Africa, Threats to LGBTQ Rights Intensify

    by  • December 12, 2017 • Africa, Gender-Based Violence, Human Rights, LGBT • 

    STONE TOWN, Tanzania — When a story circulated in August 2017 of male lions attempting to copulate with each other in Kenya’s Masai Mara national park, headlines and Twitter feeds went wild with speculation, ridicule and accusation. Despite Kenya being one of the more progressive countries in East Africa regarding LGBTQ awareness and rights, the...

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    ‘Period Poverty’: Why No One Is Talking About Eco-Friendly Solutions

    by  • November 30, 2017 • Climate and Environment, Human Rights, Poverty, Women • 1 Comment

    The United Nations has recognized menstrual hygiene as a global public health and human-rights issue, yet across the world, “period poverty,” as some call it, is the reality for millions of women and girls. In India, for example, it is estimated that only 12 percent of the country’s 355 million menstruating women can afford...

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    Modernizing the Role of Human Rights in the UN Security Council

    by  • November 28, 2017 • Human Rights, Security Council, US Foreign Relations, WORLDVIEWS • 

    The Security Council is the most authoritative organ of the United Nations, and supporters of the Council naturally expect it to exercise that authority when gross violations of human rights shock the conscience of humanity. During the Cold War, such actions were rarely done, except partly in relation to situations in southern Africa. Since...

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    António Guterres, Please Reform the UN’s Human Rights Tools

    by  • November 20, 2017 • Human Rights, Secretary-General, WORLDVIEWS • 

    When recently asked what keeps him up at night, António Guterres, the United Nations secretary-general, gave a straight answer: bureaucracy as well as “fragmented structures, byzantine procedures, endless red tape.” Such flaws also apply to UN human-rights mechanisms, and Guterres should ensure that his UN-wide reform agenda prioritizes strengthening such tools, which can be...

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    Four Easy Steps to Reform the UN Human Rights Council

    by  • October 15, 2017 • Human Rights, US-UN Relations, WORLDVIEWS • 1 Comment

    Problems encircling the United Nations Human Rights Council are verging toward a major crisis. The same crisis had engulfed its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights, leading the secretary-general at the time, Kofi Annan, to call to replace it with the Council. But the same problems affecting the former Commission now affect its successor,...

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    Janet Benshoof, Legal Activist, Seeks Help for Burma Through the Global Court

    by  • October 8, 2017 • Asia, Geopolitics, Human Rights, International Justice • 

    Photo of Janet Benshoof, a lawyer-activist, leads the Global Justice Center in New York.

    Burma has long been a unique country not only for its otherworldly landscape of pagodas and gold-topped stupas but also, paradoxically, as an isolated country where a nationalistic military has given itself extraordinary constitutional powers. Generals, who have warped the country’s Buddhist heritage over half a century, can now attack the Muslim-majority Rohingya people...

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    US Ambassador’s Ultimatum to the UN: Agree With Us or We Go It Alone

    by  • September 16, 2017 • Human Rights, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East, Nikki Haley Watch, Security Council, US Foreign Relations, US-UN Relations • 

    When Nikki Haley, now the United States ambassador to the United Nations, was questioned by senators at her confirmation hearing in January about how she would deal with Donald Trump’s dismissive view of internationalism, she said confidently, “I will show him that the UN matters.” She also said that she would show the world...

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    Has Anyone Seen the UN Secretary-General’s Human Rights Agenda?

    by  • August 22, 2017 • Human Rights, Secretary-General, WORLDVIEWS • 

    Secretary-General António Guterres has set about modernizing some sectors of the United Nations and made impassioned statements about the need to protect human rights. But beyond rhetoric, so far there has been no indication of his modernizing the human-rights sector. We have seen this before. Dag Hammarskjold, a previous secretary-general, undoubtedly believed in human...

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