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

GEOPOLITICS

Atrocity Crimes Are Being Committed by All Warring Parties in Yemen: UN Experts

The numerous parties to the war in Yemen, which began in 2015, have perpetrated and continue to commit violations of international law by indiscriminately murdering civilians, blocking humanitarian-aid deliveries, arbitrarily detaining people and possibly torturing those imprisoned, recruiting child soldiers and raping women and men, according to a new report by a United Nations panel … 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

GEOPOLITICS

Rohingya Refugees Look to Washington and Find a Vacuum

This August marks a year since a military crackdown forced at least 700,000 Rohingya to flee Myanmar for Bangladesh, joining hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who had already taken refuge there, totaling 1.1 million people encamped in Cox’s Bazar, according to a Bangladesh count done this July. But you would never know from the Trump … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Richard Falk on Palestine, Israel and the UN in the Trump Age

Richard Falk is a well-known American academic and writer who from 2008 until 2014 was the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Palestine since 1967, a post that invariably invites controversy. For Falk, who has never been shy of taking provocative stances, the work compelled him to declare, among other things, that Israel’s … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Pompeo’s Visit to the UN Caps a Week of Dizzying Global Politics

Capping a week of neck-wrenching U-turns by the president of the United States after his pro-Russia speech in Helsinki on Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with the 15-member United Nations Security Council in New York on July 20 — to discuss North Korea. Pompeo and Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Washington to UN Refugee Agency: If You Want Our Money, Put Our Name on It

The United States is the biggest donor to the UN Refugee Agency, and the Trump administration wants the world to know it. A new framework, or agreement, signed by the State Department and the refugee agency (UNHCR) requires it to acknowledge US contributions in most — and eventually all — of its public-information materials. What … 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

GEOPOLITICS

In Hodeidah, the Norwegian Refugee Council Hangs On to Save Yemenis

As the attack on Hodeidah, a major port in western Yemen on the Red Sea, moves into its second week, led by the coalition of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the rest of the world seems to be sitting and watching the destruction. The Norwegian Refugee Council, an independent nongovernmental organization, has been … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

The Future of the French Language Resides in Francophone Africa

BOBIGNY, France — On March 20, French President Emmanuel Macron stood before a crowd at the prestigious Académie Française in central Paris. With his trademark confidence and fastidious affect, he made his case for French as a global, 21st-century language unburdened by the oppression associated with colonialism. “By making the language of the colonizers their own language, … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Why Israel Dropped Out of the UN Security Council Race: Not Enough Votes

From the start, it was a closely watched contest pitting Germany, Belgium and Israel against one another for their regional bloc’s two seats in the next term on the United Nations Security Council. Israel has never held a seat on the Council, and as it celebrates its 70-year membership in the UN in 2018, the country … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

John Bolton Cracks the Whip on the UN Mission in Western Sahara

The message was blunt and judgmental as the United States delivered its ultimatum on the future of the United Nations mission in Western Sahara: “MINURSO is a peacekeeping mission that should have finished its job a long time ago. This is a mission that began 27 years ago almost to the day. This was a … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

A New Peace-Building Podcast Series Delves Into East Africa’s Complexities

A new series called “Peacebuilders,” offering a weekly podcast of interviews with a diverse array of African and other professionals on vital issues they confront in their work in East Africa, has been introduced by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The nine-part series debuted on May 1, with the first one focused on the … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Fake News and the UN: An Item Since 1945

In the world of fake news, the United Nations has been a prime target since it opened its doors in 1945. These days, spending just a few minutes on Facebook and Twitter, two sites located at the epicenter of the fake news epidemic, reveals claims — real and imagined — pushed by critics of the … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Confronting Possible Gas Attacks in Syria, the UN Security Council Succumbs to Chaos

In a week of reversals, semireversals and blatant backtracking by some of the most powerful countries on earth, diplomacy showed its head-spinning underside in the United Nations Security Council, as three Western allies — Britain, France and the United States — conveyed their outrage against Russia for its perceived role in allowing the Syrian government … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Is the New UN Envoy for Yemen Destined for Failure?

Martin Griffiths, the new United Nations special envoy for Yemen and a British international mediator, will begin work this month on a war that is called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Griffiths is highly praised in the arena of private conflict mediation, having founded his own firm in 1999 that has brokered resolutions to insurgent … 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

GEOPOLITICS

China’s Notions of UN Reform: Filling the Growing Vacuum Left by the US

China has presented its position on United Nations reform, and it aligns with Secretary-General António Guterres’s own agenda. It pushes for practicalities, such as a transparent process, a stronger peace and security pillar, streamlined internal management and more geographic diversity in hiring practices in peacekeeping and the UN Secretariat. “The world is undergoing major developments, … 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

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