WORLDVIEWS

In Washington, Spotlighting the UN Human Rights Council

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United Nations Human Rights Council, the highest organ exclusively responsible for human rights in the world body, is now 10 years old. It recently received concentrated attention here in the United States capital. Such concerted focus would have been unthinkable more than a generation ago, when this writer was active in … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

American Citizens Voice Their Ideas for the Future Development Goals

UN high-level panel devising the post-2015 development agenda

The concept of universality and how it would play out in devising the future set of United Nations development goals drew significant attention among a group of more than 1,000 Americans who participated in the continuing international conversation centered on the topic. This contingent of American citizens, based in a dozen cities across the United States, … Read more

 

Jan Eliasson Explains His Role as No. 2 at the UN

Jan Eliasson, deputy secretary-general of the UN

Jan Eliasson has been the deputy secretary-general of the United Nations since July 2012, the second in command after Ban Ki-moon. Eliasson, 73, is a former Swedish foreign minister and was ambassador to the United States twice, among other foreign postings. He was also president of the UN General Assembly and a key UN mediator … Read more

A Less Peaceful World, Marginally

Afghan children visiting the US

Over the last year, the world has become a less peaceful place, and although the rate of decline was not tremendous, the deterioration has been steady since 2008, says a new report, the Global Peace Index. The factors behind the negative trend include a rise in the number of internal conflicts, a widening gap in … Read more

A Cover-Up, an Attempted Coup and Then Justice in Malawi

Malawi road crew

WASHINGTON — Malawi, a tiny, young country landlocked in southern Africa, is sticking up for justice and truth. On the morning of April 5, 2012, its president, Bingu wa Mutharika, died of a heart attack. About two days later, his vice president, Joyce Banda, was sworn in to succeed him, adhering to the Malawi constitution. … Read more

BOOKS

Reasons to Love and Criticize the UN

Minustah in Haiti peacekeepers

In his new book, “Living With the UN: American Responsibilities and International Order,” Kenneth Anderson forces readers who lean sympathetically toward the United Nations to consider why they support it despite its faults. On the other hand, the acerbic views of Anderson, a law professor at American University, about the UN are deeply colored by his … Read more

 

BOOKS

The Human Rights Council Gets More Respect

Migrants locked up in a camp in Libya.

The visibility of human-rights violations by the Syrian government amid the current turmoil owes much to the United Nations, particularly to its Independent International Commission of Inquiry, led by Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, a Brazilian lawyer, public official and professor.  Such commissions are part of a growing number of tools used by the UN to promote … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Horn of Africa: Recoveries Fail and Fail Again

Horn of Africa famine

WASHINGTON — News on the humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa continues to flare in the media ever since famine struck last summer and lasted through the fall. Although the famine was declared resolved by the United Nations this winter, relieved by good harvests and a flood of food aid, a crisis could reoccur. … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

George Kennan’s Ambivalence Toward the UN

WASHINGTON — As one of the great strategic thinkers, historians and essayists of the cold war era and the author of the doctrine of containment, which informed American foreign policy for most of that period, George F. Kennan had a realist view of the United Nations, driven by national interest. The wide attention and praise … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

In Washington, the Human Rights Council Endures Scrutiny

WASHINGTON — The United Nations Human Rights Council is attracting more attention here by both supporters and critics in the government and beyond. Some of the council’s defenders and naysayers, speaking at various Washington venues last month, ultimately expressed the same goal: to see the rights body improve. The council’s action last winter recommending that … Read more

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