GEOPOLITICS

Kashmir’s Long Tragedy Rears Its Head in the News and at the UN

In his final months in office as United Nations high commissioner for human rights, the outspoken Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein did what no former holder of that office would or could do: he issued a blistering report on Indian abuses in the disputed territory of Kashmir. It is a story that Indian governments have long tried … Read more

TOPIC: INDIA

The Heart of Ethnic Cleansing Has Moved to India

Harsh Mander had barely arrived in the remote northeastern Indian state of Assam when he was drawn into a humanitarian horror story years in the making. It was about to get exponentially worse. “The people of Assam are sitting atop a smoldering volcano, one that threatens to erupt into catastrophic suffering and injustice,” he wrote … Read more

Kofi Annan, 80, a Popular UN Secretary-General From Africa, Is Dead

Kofi Annan, the seventh and probably the most popular and widely respected secretary-general the United Nations has ever known, died unexpectedly in Bern, Switzerland, early on Saturday morning, Aug. 18. His death, reportedly from leukemia, followed what initial reports described only as a short illness. He led the UN for two terms, from 1997 through … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

Two Health Alerts: Resurgent Polio and Antibiotic Resistance

Recent research reports published by The Lancet could make a lot of people rethink the assumption that once a disease has been declared eradicated, that’s it. Done. A recent resurge in cases of polio in several countries and concern in Europe that antibiotic resistance is being bought there by refugees and migrants are becoming global … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

Hungary Forbids Gender Studies, Enraging Academics

In the doldrums of a European summer, when many universities are mostly closed or short-staffed, the populist Hungarian government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban sent a directive to higher-education institutions on Aug. 9 forbidding the teaching of gender studies. Hungarian academicians, faculties outside the country as well as civil society organizations reacted quickly, calling for … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Michelle Bachelet of Chile Nominated to Be Next UN Rights Commissioner

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has nominated Michelle Bachelet, a former president of Chile, to become the next UN high commissioner for human rights. The nomination has been sent to the General Assembly for approval. Bachelet, who is 66, was Guterres’s top choice all along in the selection process, which began informally in the spring, … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

Once Again, Haley Accuses Others for US Failure at Rights Council Reform

In the middle of last week, when the Trump administration was still unable to say how it “lost” more than 2,500 children torn from their asylum-seeking parents at the border with Mexico, Nikki Haley, the United States envoy to the United Nations, was telling a different story to a sympathetic group in Washington, D.C. “We … Read more

UN to Rohingya: You Can’t Go Home Safely Any Time Soon

Among refugee advocates there  has been a growing concern that recent agreements among regional governments and the United Nations on a framework for mitigating the Rohingya crisis could prompt at least some of the million-plus people who have fled the deadly military pogrom in Myanmar to consider risking a return to try to rebuild their … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

Tough Times for Legislators as More Women and Youth Still Fall Short

Marking the first International Day of Parliamentarians on June 28, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, representing legislators in 173 countries, reported that serious challenges are emerging as antidemocratic forces playing on public apathy increase. In a survey of legislatures worldwide in 2018, “Are Parliamentary Democracies in Danger?” the global parliamentary union finds huge challenges to these institutions. … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Trump’s Nominee Lost the UN Migration Agency Vote. Is It a Signal?

The unexpected, decisive rejection of the Trump administration’s candidate to head the premier United Nations agency for resettling refugees and other migrants appears to be a warning. Which is that other nations are not prepared to indefinitely defer to the power of the United States when human rights and democratic values are assaulted by the … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

As Expected, the US Quits the UN Human Rights Council

In a long-expected decision, the United States announced it was withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council, the world body’s primary organ for promoting and protecting the rights of people worldwide. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, delivered comments on June 19 in the late … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

As Refugees Await Their Futures, NGOs Offer New Ways to Help Them Prepare

As the school year ends in many countries and children turn with joy to vacation time ahead, millions of other school-age children will have nothing to look forward to but more long days in overcrowded refugee camps. The situation gets worse as they grow into adulthood. Recent studies show that, thanks to United Nations development … Read more

With Trump’s Human-Rights Policies, Religious ‘Values’ Take Priority

Cubans waiting to be served food during the country's annual celebration of its revolution.

For almost three centuries, through street protests, court battles and a civil war, the United States has sporadically but steadily advanced and expanded human-rights protections and commitments in domestic and foreign policies. Now Donald Trump and the most conservative, ideologically driven officials on his team want to turn back this record in fundamental ways, as … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

In Year 2 of Trump Presidency, the US Is Still Eroding Both the UN and Women’s Rights

After a year of bombast and threats by Ambassador Nikki Haley and the ever-evolving Donald Trump administration, the tone appears to be turned down a few notches in the second year of the Trump presidency. But efforts to undermine the United Nations and what it stands for have not stopped, at least for now, even … Read more

In Nunavut, Poor Health Care Shortens Indigenous People’s Lives

Canada’s national health system, the envy of many people in other countries, including in the United States, is being more scrutinized from Canadians as reports reveal serious health-service gaps in the territory of Nunavut, a self-governing province populated by mostly Inuit people. Critical reports of deprivation and neglect emerging from Nunavut paint a picture of … Read more

BOOKS

In Europe and the US, Will Young People Prolong Populism’s Appeal?

In one of several recent books looking for the meaning of populism’s surge in the 21st century, not only in the United States and Europe but also well beyond Western borders, the author Yascha Mounk, a German-born scholar at Harvard, offers the startling assumption that populism as a solution to political and economic problems is attracting … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

Europe’s Contraception Gaps: They May Be Wider Than You Think

It is a continent where almost half of the pregnancies are unplanned, where government agencies do not provide enough information on available contraception, where geography is destiny for those needing reliable family planning advice. This is not a developing region, but 21st-century Europe, according to the recently published 2018 Contraception Atlas. The atlas, presented in … Read more

South Africa’s Light on Human Rights Dims Again at the UN

When the monthlong winter session of the United Nations Human Rights Council opened at the end of February, expectations were high that progress would be made on reforms demanded by the United States and supported by many other nations, although not in as threatening terms as those of Nikki Haley, the Trump administration’s ambassador to … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

Data Miners See Poverty Gradations; and More Cases of Harassment at the UN

International organizations, governments and a vast army of nongovernmental organizations justifiably welcome the sharp reductions that have been achieved in global poverty in recent decades. Data researchers show, however, that when it comes to defining who are the poorest, poverty is not a monolithic state. Two analysts from the online site Our World in Data, … Read more

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