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

English-Speaking Ghana May Adopt French as an Official Language: Why?

Ghana, one of the few English-speaking holdouts in Francophone-heavy West Africa, is suddenly talking about adopting French as an official language. How come? In 2017, Emmanuel Macron became the first French president to visit this former English colony in 60 years. At the time, Nana Akufo-Addo had been president of Ghana only a few months and … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Why We Canceled an Event in the US Featuring West African Journalists

A resident returned to his home in the Mopti region of Mali after attacks in February 2019

Over the past eight months, we at the Mali-based independent news website Sahelien.com have been working on a documentary film called “The Forgotten Ones,” about the urgent security crisis in Mali’s Mopti region, where civilians, soldiers and United Nations peacekeepers are being increasingly killed. As part of our efforts to engage more directly with audiences … Read more

In Numbers, Africa May Be a Force in the Christian World by 2060

Schoolgirls in Sierra Leone

New projections from a leading American research group suggest that the number of Christians in various denominations and sects is steadily rising in Africa and could dominate the faith numerically worldwide for decades to come. In 2015, according to the Pew Research Center, only three African countries were included in the top 10 in numbers … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The Elusive Truth About the Death of Dag Hammarskjold and My Father

My clock radio clicked on. The morning news bulletin announced that United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld’s plane was missing. It was Sept. 18, 1961. I was 16. Over the next hours, my mother and sisters and I learned that Mr. Hammarskjöld, accompanied by Dad and 14 others, had flown from Leopoldville, in the Congo, to … Read more

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY

Equatorial Guinea’s Priority in the UN Security Council: Stability in West Africa

A trip by the United Nations Security Council to the Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau in West Africa to promote state sovereignty; a visit to the UN from one of Africa’s longest-serving head of state, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo; and discussions on arms and piracy: these are the big items on Equatorial Guinea’s menu this … Read more

Where Is the Worst Place for a Child to Be Born?

By one measure — the chances of surviving to young adulthood — sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia have the highest rates of child deaths at every stage of childhood. By contrast, the best place to be born this year was Australia or New Zealand, where only two of every 1,000 babies die in their first … Read more

Climate Talks Bypass the Poorest, Who Endure Polluted Homes

Today and every day around the world, in bleak rural villages and the poorest urban neighborhoods, millions of people are igniting small fires to cook their meager meals, brighten dark homes or scare away intruders at night. The number of people using small fires is not small. Climate scientists estimate that three billion people in … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The G5 Sahel Force, Failing the Region and Failing Itself

BAMAKO, Mali — The G5 Sahel Force was conceived to enable greater coordination among five countries in the Sahel region of West Africa in fighting jihadist groups and to strengthen regional administration and development while relieving the United Nations mission in Mali of those burdens. Yet ever since the group — Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, … Read more

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY

Ivory Coast’s Priorities in the UN Security Council: Postwar Peace

The Ivory Coast holds the rotating presidency in December in the United Nations Security Council at a pivotal point in its membership in the world body. The West African country was elected to its current term in the Council just as the last peacekeeping troops left in 2017, ending the UN’s presence there after a … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

The US Is Driving the New Talks on Western Sahara, Involving Morocco and Algeria

Horst Koehler, a former German president who has been the United Nations special envoy for Western Sahara since last year, is bringing the parties to the longstanding conflict over that region to a roundtable meeting in Geneva soon. Koehler expressed his intent last summer to bring all the relevant players together by the end of … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

When Is an Attack on UN Peacekeepers a War Crime and When Is It Not?

The recent attack by a militia on the United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in which seven peacekeepers were killed, highlighted a question that the Security Council has hesitated to confront for years. What are the consequences when UN peacekeeping missions become parties to the conflict? The Security Council responded to the latest attacks on Monusco, as the … Read more

The UN’s Combat Troops in the Congo: ‘They Were Not Supposed to Die’

United Nations peacekeepers working for the mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were killed by a militia in a jungle in North Kivu Province on Nov. 15, leaving seven soldiers dead: six Malawians and one Tanzanian. Ten were injured. Twelve members of the Congolese armed forces were also killed, as national forces and … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Lessons in Making a Difference for Girls in Burkina Faso

Fred Eckhard charity Burkina Faso

So many nonprofits seem to be after your money these days. Even if you are eager to give it away, you want to be convinced that a given group is the most deserving. But how can you tell when a charitable group is effective, making the best use of your donation without wasting it on … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

In the Central African Republic, Verging on Peace or Back to War

This is a make-or-break moment for the Central African Republic. After years of conflict, a small window of opportunity is open to make real progress toward peace. The United Nations peacekeeping mission’s mandate is being renewed by the Security Council by Nov. 15. Soon after, the final round of the African Union-led peace negotiations is … Read more

UN Peacekeepers Murdered on Duty Die in Obscurity

In the early morning of Tuesday, April 3, 2018, a temporary United Nations peacekeeping base in the village of Tagbara, in the Central African Republic, was attacked by rebel militia groups. One peacekeeper was killed and 11 others were injured in the fighting. Soon after, the UN also discovered the bodies of 21 civilians, including … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Kofi Annan’s Path to Humanitarian Intervention

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who died on Aug. 18, in Switzerland, was deeply committed to peace and the UN Charter, as well as human rights and humanitarian action. He led a debate about harmonizing these principles and rebalancing the sovereignty of countries with the rights of people within them. During his 10 years as secretary-general, which … 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

WORLDVIEWS

Violence Against Women Worsens by the Day in the Congo

Justine Bihamba

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been placed on the United Nations Security Council agenda for several decades, in one form or another through various peacekeeping missions. The Council regularly meets on the status of the Congo, with the most recent session occurring on July 26, 2018, concentrating on progress toward scheduled presidential and legislative … Read more

P5 MONITOR

The Congo: Tiptoeing Toward a New War?

If President Joseph Kabila’s continued violations of his country’s constitutional term limits were not enough of a warning, the first paragraph of the latest report by United Nations experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo sets the record straight, saying: “Armed actors continuously used the delay in the electoral process to promote acts of … Read more

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