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

Stolen Childhoods: The Girls of Ghana’s Lake Volta

Eighteen-year-old Millicent lives at an orphanage in Kete Krachi, Ghana

KETE KRACHI, Ghana — To smoke a fish here, you need to first remove its skull. Then you insert a sharp knife into its stomach, slowly cutting a clean line across its belly to avoid flooding your hand with guts. Remove the intestines, bile and blood. Smother the fish in salt and place it above a … Read more

As Kenya and Djibouti Fight Over a UN Security Council Seat, China Pops Up

Mohamed Siad Doualeh, the ambassador of Djibouti to the UN

Djibouti is vying with Kenya to win an elected seat in the United Nations Security Council for the 2021-22 term among the African bloc. The candidacy contest for the current open seat has revealed a rare open disagreement between African nations that is linked to China’s control in parts of the continent. The African Union … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

China’s UN Playground & Talking Gender With the UN’s Rosemary DiCarlo: Our Latest Episode

This year was a big one for China, and 2020 is likely to be much the same — if not more intense, given the range of issues involving the United States and far beyond. For our last episode of the year, UN-Scripted looks at how China’s rise internationally is reflected at the United Nations. To … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

For South Sudan, the Promise of Full Dialogue Lies Ahead

ROME, Italy — The clock is ticking for South Sudan. Many powerful players in the international community have expressed openly their disappointment at the reluctance of South Sudan power-brokers to resolve their violence-prone country. Meanwhile, the people of South Sudan are clearly signaling their readiness for peace and their support for new approaches that could … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Russia in Africa and Frank Talk on Feminist Foreign Policies: Our Latest Podcast Episode

African summits may be in vogue worldwide, and Russia’s recent summit in Sochi in late October was no exception. A PassBlue correspondent, Joe Penney, traveled to the Black Sea resort to report on President Vladimir Putin’s pitch to African leaders, as he promoted a second African independence, this time a financial one, with offers of … Read more

China Flexes Its Economic Might More Openly on Uighurs Issue

Twenty-three nations, including Britain, the United States, Germany, France and Japan, slammed China at the United Nations recently, citing its persecution of Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang province. “We call on the Chinese government to uphold its national laws and international obligations and commitments to respect human rights, including freedom of religion or belief, … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

At the Nairobi Summit, Spotlighting the Reproductive Rights of Women and Girls

NAIROBI, Kenya — More than 6,000 delegates in the population development sector are gathering in the Kenyan capital here this week to renew the promise made to girls and women 25 years ago in Cairo. In firm voices, young girls from African countries called on delegates to ensure that young people have access to sexual … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Big Powers at the UN Are Hanging Western Sahara Out to Dry

A stunning policy reversal by the United States regarding Western Sahara occurred last week, but it didn’t make many headlines. What happened? When the United Nations Security Council adopted a new resolution on Western Sahara, renewing the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission —Minurso — there for another 12 months, the action meant America’s ambitions … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Of Oil and Kalashnikovs: At the First Russia-Africa Summit, Putin Makes Power Plays

Vladimir Putin At First Russia Africa Summit in Sochi

SOCHI, Russia — As the Turkish presidential plane carried President Recep Tayyip Erdogan across the Black Sea from Sochi, Russia, back to Ankara last week, dozens of African heads of state arrived in this resort city for the inaugural Russia-Africa Summit the next morning. During two days at a convention center in the Olympic Village … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

A Plan From Darfuri Women to Make Sudan’s New Democracy Work

Niemat Ahmadi, the founder and director of the Darfur Women Action Group, has a plan for the new Sudan. The Strategic Framework for Sustainable Change was presented to the country’s prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, during his participation in the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly in September — only three weeks after he … Read more

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY

Africa Will No Longer Be Sidelined: South Africa’s Goal on the UN Security Council

Jerry Matthews Matjila, South Africa’s point man at the United Nations, took the hot seat on the Security Council as its president for October with busy days now in sight. “There are 40 meetings already planned before we start the month,” he told the press, noting the month covers five weeks. “It’s going to be … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Stalling the UN Report on Dag Hammarskjold’s Death Is Regrettable

Fifty-eight years ago, Dag Hammarskjold, the United Nations secretary-general at the time, set off on a perilous journey across the African heartland. Taking off at 4:51 P.M. from Léopoldville, in the capital of the newly independent Congo, he was due to meet the leader of the secessionist Katanga province. The venue chosen was Ndola, a … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

My Year in Africa: Why This Brazilian Woman Peacekeeper Wants to Return

In one of the world’s most fragile and violent settings, Lieut. Comdr. Marcia Braga, a 45-year-old Brazilian naval officer, arrived in April 2018 as the third military gender adviser for the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic. She ended her yearlong stint there bestowed with the UN’s annual Military Gender Advocate award … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Women’s Rights Defenders Are Tired of Being Told to ‘Push Back’ Against the Opposition

As a human-rights defender and women’s rights campaigner, I continue to be struck not by the many challenges now facing women’s rights organizations but by the constant calls for women to “push back against the pushback.” This call for women to push back against the many forces oppressing women’s rights organizations was repeated in a … Read more

A Survey on Mali for Malians: What They Want for Their Country

Since 2012, a German political think tank has surveyed Malians regularly on their country’s current affairs across a legion of crises. These include the 2013 jihadist incursion in the nation, the French-led militarization to oust the jihadists, the post-conflict stabilization work done by the United Nations and a new cycle of intercommunal violence erupting in … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

In the Central African Republic, War’s Most Forgotten Victims

I can’t stop thinking about Marie. She was 30 years old when I met her in 2015. Two years earlier, six fighters armed with rifles and machetes burst into her home in the capital of the Central African Republic, Bangui. Two of the fighters held her husband at gunpoint while the others pushed her to the … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Justice for Darfur Is Critical for a Peaceful Future in Sudan 

Women from North Darfur performing a traditional dance

The people of Sudan finally ousted President Omar al-Bashir from power, on April 11, 2019. The people of Sudan must now transfer al-Bashir to The Hague to stand trial in the International Criminal Court, which, more than 10 years ago, indicted him for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur — including the … 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

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