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

Pakistan to India: ‘There Will Be Bloodshed’

Prime Minister Khan of Pakistan

War clouds hovered again when the leaders of India and Pakistan, the South Asian adversaries that have failed over decades to end their perilous standoff over Kashmir, spoke on the same day at the United Nations, Sept. 27. India has been holding its Kashmiri Muslim population in a near-total communications lockdown since Aug. 5, when … Read more

TOPIC: INDIA

Top UN Rights Experts Call Kashmir Blackout ‘Collective Punishment’

As a communications shutdown is still depriving people in the predominantly Muslim Kashmir Valley contact with the outside world, five eminent international human-rights advocates say that the Indian military chokehold may be obscuring continuing abuses against civilians, nearly three weeks after stripping the region of its political autonomy. Information has been slowly emerging. “The blackout … Read more

Kashmir May Be an Old Crisis at the UN, but the World Is Now Riveted

A familiar refrain often heard when the burgeoning crisis in Kashmir rises to the top of the news is that this is an old story from long ago; we have moved on. The United Nations is discovering, however, that there is less tolerance for indifference since India’s decrees on Aug. 5-6 to singlehandedly remake the … Read more

Kashmiri Muslims in Danger as Hindu Politicians Cancel Their Rights

It has always been relatively easy for Indian governments from both the political left and right to keep Kashmir from the eyes of the world. At no time has this been more obvious than now. Landlocked, under the guns of half a million Indian troops and paramilitaries, cut off sporadically from all modern communications and … Read more

As the SDGs Falter, the UN Turns to the Rich and Famous

Amina Mohammed with Borge Brende, António Guterres and Klaus Schwab

The Sustainable Development Goals are in trouble. United Nations officials are concerned and say so publicly. Secretary-General António Guterres  joined in raising an alarm in mid-July when he introduced the most recent official UN report. “It is abundantly clear that a much deeper, faster and more ambitious response is needed to unleash the social and … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

Global Abortion Laws, Split on a Clear North-South Divide

The most liberal laws on abortion are found in the richest industrial countries. Does that matter? Advocates for reproductive health care say yes, because the abortion gap is often a bellwether indicating that health care for women in many developing countries offers few or no reproductive choices or respect for reproductive rights. The issue has … Read more

Pompeo’s Religion Is Carrying More Sway in US Foreign Policy

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mary Ann Glendon

When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo convenes the second of his ministerial-level, multifaith conferences on religious freedom around the world on July 16 to 18, global threats to Christianity are likely to figure prominently, if recent comments by American officials are any guide. Pompeo is a guiding light. An Evangelical Christian, he says he sees a role … Read more

Unesco: Teach Children How to Understand Migrants’ Lives, Before It’s Too Late

As outrage and horror build around stories of refugee children, some still in diapers, seized from their parents and suffering neglect and abuse along the United States border with Mexico, Unesco, the United Nations organization with education in its mandate, is looking ahead. A new generation of children in countries receiving migrants needs to learn … Read more

China, Gaining Power in the UN, Could Win FAO Leadership

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has existed at the periphery of UN agencies and been a focus of critics almost since its founding in 1945, as the vehicle for ending hunger and achieving food security. Based in Rome, the FAO has 194 member nations and many projects designed to raise the standards of … Read more

BOOKS

In the Far-Flung African Diaspora, Writing by Women Flourishes

Margaret Busby

Margaret Busby is a pioneer in the literary world. In 1967, she became the first black woman to start a publishing company in Britain. The small company, Allison & Busby, was co-founded with Clive Allison, when both were recent university graduates. At first, it focused on poetry. Over the years, however, Busby, who was born … Read more

Pompeo Retreats on Universal Human Rights as US Looks More Inward

Secretary of State Pompeo

In an audacious move that could be the capstone of the Trump administration’s campaign to reverse decades of American support for human rights globally, the State Department is creating a separate new commission to advise Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on redefining United States policies, aligned with “natural law and natural rights.” For many human-rights … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

An Assault on Trump’s Global Women’s Health Policy Begins

Syrian refugees stuck in Rukban camp, near the Jordan border

With a fierce national budget battle looming in the United States Congress, Democrats on a key committee have formally proposed legislation overturning Trump policies that deny millions of women and girls in developing countries access to vital reproductive health care, including family planning. The legislative bill that emerged on May 16 from the House of … Read more

Serving the UN Where Violence Never Ends: One Person’s Story

Simon Handy, a specialist in African politics and conflict, is a veteran of a hazardous and tormented mission in the Central African Republic that left him with an enduring cause that still haunts him. He argues that when a United Nations mission changes or is abandoned, as was the case for him, staff members can fall … Read more

Pressures Mount for Deeper Investigations Into the UN Trade Group

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, riven internally by disputes over its mission and future direction, may be in trouble. Faced with questions about its basic competence from board members and outside investigators, accusations have been gathering about unsatisfactory statistical work and laxity in meeting UN standards and regulations for spending reports by … Read more

 

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