COVID-19

UN Women’s Forum in Mexico City Is Under Review

Another highlight of the year marking the 25th anniversary of a breakthrough international conference in Beijing on women’s rights has fallen victim to the global march of the new coronavirus, Covid-19. The event is the first of two global meetings of the Generation Equality Forum, which is meant to give civil society organizations a chance … Read more

COVID-19

Stranded in Tunisia, an American’s Odyssey in the Times of Coronavirus

Jeffrey Laurenti, an American writer who specializes on the United Nations and international affairs, is a contributor to PassBlue. He was in Italy in early March when a cascade of travel restrictions were enacted in Europe and the United States, in response to the rapidly worsening coronavirus outbreak. Trapped in Rome by flight cancellations, he … Read more

COVID-19

From Africa, News of an Evolving Coronavirus Threat

Many African governments, often insisting that all cases of coronavirus were imported from outside the continent by travelers, are now grappling with evidence of local community transmissions for the first time, according to a March 18 report from the World Health Organization’s regional headquarters. “While most countries on the continent have recorded sporadic and imported cases, seven … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Beijing+25 Moves to the Next Stage: Vast Uncertainty

This year was intended to be a celebratory time for women: the 25th anniversary of the momentous Beijing conference on women’s rights and how to advance them. It isn’t working out that way, however, as a global health crisis and disagreements among advocates for women rewrite the script. The 2020 session of the Commission on … Read more

New Tensions Sparking Between Trump and UN Rights Leader, Michelle Bachelet

Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, who has been personally attacked by United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, is not planning to resign from her position, according to her office. Her term does not end until 2022, but rumors have been circulating that she could decide to leave amid increasing … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

UN Chief Condemns Male Privilege as Many Nations Defy Such Bashing

UN Secretary-General António Guterres

With International Women’s Day, March 8, on the horizon, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres blasted the intractable power of patriarchy, the cause of overwhelming gender injustice and an abuse of historical proportions, in his view. “Just as slavery and colonialism were a stain on previous centuries, women’s inequality should shame us all in the twenty-first,” … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Win or Lose, Trump’s Policies on Women’s Health Inflict Damage

Whether or not Donald Trump will be re-elected president on Nov. 3, a tough debate is likely to begin soon in the United States Congress over the national budget for the unpredictable year ahead. Reproductive health issues rank high on the agenda for women’s rights advocates. Trump’s proposed budget would continue to restrict funds for … Read more

Silencing the Media: Attacks Grow More Open, With Women as Particular Targets 

When Reporters Without Borders recently tallied the murders of journalists across the globe in 2019, the organization found that the confirmed death toll, 49, was the lowest since 2003. That was the good news. The rest of the findings from this and other media groups are less reassuring. Journalists are being targeted virtually everywhere, not only … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Trump’s Dictator Buddies Across the World Are Not Friends of Women

In the gallery of authoritarian governments undercutting the rights of women and threatening democracy around the world, five nations stand out for a special reason. Donald Trump has made the leaders of Brazil, Egypt, India, Saudi Arabia and Turkey his friends and accomplices. In all of these countries, according to mounting evidence in numerous studies, … Read more

The US Raises Its UN Profile, but Not Its Support

Kelley Currie

The naming of Jonathan Moore, a senior United States Foreign Service officer, to the position of Acting Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, signals that in the United Nations’ 75th year, the Trump administration is getting serious. The move doesn’t mean that the US is increasing support for the organization, of course, or for … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Despite Years of Pledges and Plans, Gender Gaps Persist on a Global Scale

In health care, political participation, economic advancement, personal safety and justice, women across the world may be advancing on some fronts in various places. At the start of a new decade, however, the realities on a global scale are far from meeting promises made in past years. On March 9, when delegations from United Nations … Read more

Look Out, UN, Here Comes More Kentucky

Mitch McConnell, the United States Senate Majority Leader, is known for his obstructionist role as Donald Trump’s enforcer and enabler of domestic policies and executive orders. Lately, the senator from Kentucky has also begun maneuvering in foreign policy and diplomacy, notably involving United Nations appointments. Last year, he lobbied Trump for months to get Kelly … Read more

For Census-Takers Worldwide, 2020 Could Be a Rough Year

For more than a week, protesters of all faiths have been marching by the hundreds of thousands on the streets of many Indian cities and towns to condemn a divisive new citizenship law targeting Muslims across the South Asian region. The trouble had been brewing for months, after the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister … Read more

Why US Voters Shy Away From Global Topics: New Surveys Emerge

If people beyond North America are puzzled if public-opinion polls in the world’s most powerful country draw blanks from voters when asked about international affairs, two new surveys offer explanations. Schools and the Internet are prime suspects, many voters reveal when they say they don’t know enough to make informed opinions. Such an admission can … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Mixing Politics and Religion, the US Stalls UN Work on Women’s Rights

President Trump with UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed

It did not take long after the 74th General Assembly session opened this fall for the Trump team to signal that its strategy in key United Nations meetings would be to act as uncooperative and obstructive as possible, especially on human-rights agendas. The 2019-2020 UN year — September to September — is likely to be remembered … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

UN Women Declares Its Neutrality in the Sex Trade Debate

The surprising controversy over women in the sex trade — tangled in issues of legality, terminology and competing feminist visions — has produced an unequivocal statement from the executive director of UN Women that the agency is not taking sides in this debate. The acrimonious dispute has erupted just as the United Nations is preparing … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Margot Wallstrom’s Feminist Foreign Policy for Sweden Catches On Globally, She Says

Margot Wallstrom, as Sweden’s newly appointed foreign minister, announced in 2014 that her priority would be the creation of the world’s first feminist foreign policy. The concept left some in her diplomatic corps “gasping for air,” she said. Now, having recently completed a hectic five years in office despite numerous global crises, she is confident … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

UN Women Is Criticized for Appearing to Take Sides on Decriminalizing ‘Sex Work’

A group of civil society organizations is warning that a growing global movement to decriminalize and rebrand prostitution as “sex work” could lead to more, not less, violence against the world’s most vulnerable women and girls. The critics are petitioning UN Women, which is leading a review of the results of the 1995 Fourth World … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

US Money for Global Women’s Health Is Jeopardized Again

For the third year, the Trump administration and its Republican allies in the United States Congress are refusing to abandon their harsh restrictions on aid to health programs for women around the world. Instead, all amendments calling for a repeal of what is known as the “global gag rule” have been eliminated in the Senate … Read more

Salvaging the SDGs: New Thinking to Spur Action Takes Shape

Poverty in India

For the first time since a new development agenda was adopted in 2015 to make the world a better place for everyone, government leaders assembled at the United Nations in late September to take stock of progress. The verdict of this summit was not good. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the centerpiece of Agenda 2030, … Read more

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