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

TOPIC: WOMEN

A Taste of Running for Political Office Has Left This UN Retiree Ready for More

ORANGE, Conn. — Margaret Novicki is a 22-year veteran of the United Nations, having served in various regions in Africa and as the director of strategic communications at UN headquarters in New York. Upon her retirement in 2017 at age 62 from an eventful, complicated career at the UN, Novicki, an American, ran as a … Read more

As the UN Strives to Modernize Peacekeeping, the US Still Vows to Cut Funding

As peacekeepers sweat and toil and risk their lives in some of the world’s most lethal settings — South Sudan, Mali, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo — it is incumbent on the United Nations and its 193 members to alleviate the suffering and deaths of troops as fatalities keep rising. In 2017, … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

Lessons From African Kings, Real and Imagined

As ticket sales for the film “Black Panther” rocketed into the stratosphere in the United States and around the world after its opening in February, a real king in the poor West African nation of Burkina Faso won a peace prize for his part in averting bloodshed in a political crisis. On Feb.23, Mogho Naba … Read more

 

WORLDVIEWS

The Elephant in the Room: Congo’s Vicious, Illegal Fighters

An open, informal meeting scheduled for Feb. 12 at the United Nations is meant to unite Security Council members in their efforts to rein in the recalcitrant Congolese president, Joseph Kabila, to allow the long-overdue presidential elections to go ahead this year. It is feared that Kabila’s refusal to carry out the vote, slated for … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

In Africa, Where the Pain of Trump’s ‘Racist’ Comments Runs Deep

In the United States, the reaction to the bigoted comments that President Donald Trump made on Jan. 11 about black-majority nations in Africa didn’t take long to shift its focus to domestic American politics, obscuring the shock of those abroad who have been maligned. Around the world, a very different story is taking shape. Country … Read more

Stopping Sex Abuse in UN Peacekeeping: An Interview With Marie Deschamps of Canada

Marie Deschamps is a former justice on the Supreme Court of Canada who led the groundbreaking 2015 United Nations report of an independent review on sexual exploitation and abuse by international peacekeeping forces in the Central African Republic. Deschamps agreed to talk in late December about how the report has been followed up — or … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

Zimbabwe Stuck With a Health Crisis Left by Mugabe Era

Robert Mugabe, the only head of state that Zimbabwe had known since independence in 1980, was forced out of office by an unexpected coup in November 2017, and citizens of the economically battered country are now forced to tally the costs of his dictatorship. One of them is a health system in collapse. A report … Read more

 

WORLDVIEWS

Unprepared and Unprotected: UN Peacekeepers’ Lives Must Be Saved

The 15 deaths and 43 injuries to United Nations troop personnel in the North Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in December would not, sadly, have surprised those of us who have served in peace enforcement missions with the UN. These are difficult and dangerous places, where rebels have many advantages of … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Least-Developed Countries, a Status That Many Nations Can’t Leave Behind

Since 1971, the United Nations has recognized least-developed countries as those deemed highly disadvantaged in their development strides because of structural, historical and geographical reasons. The aim has been, and still is, to support these countries to graduate to higher levels of self-sufficiency and economic independence, not in the sense for a privileged minority but … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Words Ring Hollow From the UN After Attacks on Peacekeepers

The horrific attack on United Nations peacekeepers from Tanzania in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in early December and the ensuing hours-long battle was a severe blow to one of the UN’s more prized forces, leaving 15 soldiers dead. But the UN was already so concerned with a rise in peacekeeper fatalities — almost … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

The Art of Infinite Patience: Searching for Peace in South Sudan

The South Sudan Council of Churches is an umbrella organization for seven Christian denominations — African Inland Church, Catholic, Episcopal, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Evangelical Presbyterian and Sudan Interior Church — working on peace and reconciliation in South Sudan and based in Juba, the capital. The country has been fighting a civil war for exactly four years. … Read more

 

In East Africa, Threats to LGBTQ Rights Intensify

STONE TOWN, Tanzania — When a story circulated in August 2017 of male lions attempting to copulate with each other in Kenya’s Masai Mara national park, headlines and Twitter feeds went wild with speculation, ridicule and accusation. Despite Kenya being one of the more progressive countries in East Africa regarding LGBTQ awareness and rights, the nation … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The Problem of Peacekeeping Sex Abuse Is Not Going Away

There is no denying that sexual exploitation and abuse has acquired greater urgency within the context of United Nations peace operations. Although the UN launched its zero tolerance policy in 2003, a recent report tallied some two thousand accusations between 2005 and 2017 in peacekeeping settings, which underscores how harmful ineffective policies and specific guidelines … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

Dear Ambassador Haley: Diplomacy Is a Team Sport

When working on sticky world problems, should the United States use the United Nations as a forum to try to drum up global support for its policies, reasoning that it gains strength by linking its interests to as many other countries as possible? Or should it stand alone in a blind embrace of President Trump’s … Read more

A Novel Idea: Putting Refugee Health Care Experts to Work

With a record 65.6 million people displaced from their homes around the world — 22.5 million of them classified as refugees who have fled across borders — alarms are sounding about the health risks in overcrowded refugee settlements. Sanitation is soon overwhelmed, hygienic conditions rapidly deteriorate and malnutrition rises, contributing to the spread of contagious … Read more

 

WORLDVIEWS

The UN Base in Timbuktu: A Demanding Deployment in the Sahara

TIMBUKTU — Who wants peace in Mali? If everyone says they want it, why is carrying out the 2015 peace agreement and its cease-fire so difficult? Part of the challenge for the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali is not only helping to implement the agreement in the major cities, such as Timbuktu, but also … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

Where the Hungriest People in the World Live

The 2017 Global Hunger Index produced many sadly predictable findings but also worrying surprises. The report’s subtitle, “The Inequalities of Hunger,” suggests a reason. Naomi Hossain, the guest author of the report, looks at the power structures that can dictate every step of a food chain. “In food systems, power is exercised in a variety … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

When Deaths Exceed Births, Countries Can Turn to Immigration

The demography is clear: when deaths outnumber births — excluding for zero immigration — populations decline. That simple yet powerful demographic relationship is irrefutable, regardless of geography, era, economics, political ideology or religious belief. Yet many politicians around the world, who typically have short-term perspectives, particularly those living in countries facing population decline and large … Read more

Political Will: The Missing Link to Ending Sex Abuse in UN Peacekeeping

It is not surprising that António Guterres, the first United Nations secretary-general to be rooted in a life of politics and the first to have been a head of government, would look for a political strategy to address one of the UN’s most self-inflicted wounds: persistent sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping missions. When he … Read more

Support nonprofit journalism →
Left Menu Icon

Don't Miss a Story:

Subscribe to PassBlue

Sign up to get the smartest news on the UN by email, joining readers across the globe.​

We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously​