WORLDVIEWS

The UN Secretary-General’s Human-Rights Crisis Can Be Solved

There is a crisis in the United Nations human-rights system. Secretary-General António Guterres can lead the way out of it. Indeed, the world continues to look to the UN secretary-general to stand up for the principles of the organization. One of the highest responsibilities of the incumbent is to help steer a course toward realizing … 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

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

TOPIC: WOMEN

‘Don’t Try to Be a Superwoman’: An Interview With Michelle Bachelet

Michelle Bachelet ended her second term as president of Chile on March 11, 2018. Her first term, from 2006 to 2010, was marked by an ambitious social and economic agenda advancing women’s rights and better health care. Her cabinet of ministers, for example, was composed of an equal number of men and women, as she … 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

WORLDVIEWS

Thank You, United Nations, for Helping Victims of Nazi Experiments

As World War II ended and the horrors of the Holocaust unfolded before a stunned humanity, the victims, their families and people of good will sought to construct a new world order of justice grounded in recognition of inalienable human rights. Prof. Hersch Lauterpacht made the case for an International Bill of Rights, the first … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Prisoners’ Human Rights: A Seriously Forgotten Problem in Britain?

NOTTINGHAM, England — Prisoner rights are not a popular topic either in the hallowed halls of the British Parliament or in the public domain in Britain. Aside from the standard “tough on crime” approach that most governments adopt as a go-to populist policy, there is little if any attention paid to people in our population … Read more

Thank You, UN, for Protecting Victims of Slavery and Other Cruel Practices

While slavery and inhumane practices have still not been eradicated, the United Nations has done much to expose them and to help stamp them out. Its efforts continue. Early after its establishment, the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights carried out a study on slavery. Its findings were riveting, and it made several policy recommendations to … 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

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

Reform Eludes the Human Rights Council as Bolton Returns to the Scene

The 2018 winter session of the United Nations Human Rights Council was marked more by what didn’t happen than what did. There was still no official announcement in Geneva from the Trump administration about whether the United States would leave the Council or even seek re-election in 2019, when its current term expires. There was also … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Women Descend on the UN, Riding on the Heels of #TimesUp

As women across the world battle systemic harassment and worse abuses for merely being female, the United Nations has opened its annual gathering of women in one of its biggest conferences of the year. This time, the 12-day meeting focuses on the status of rural women, but since it follows closely on the heels of … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Thank You, UN, for Protecting the Rights of Women

There is still a long way to go to uphold the rights of women worldwide, and UN Women, a department of the Secretariat, is now carrying the torch in this struggle. It builds on the efforts of the UN human-rights program going back to the earliest days of the organization. For International Women’s Day, on … Read more

UN Agencies Moving Into Blockchain to Help People in Crisis Settings

  Blockchain technology emerged alongside Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency powering digital payments through a peer-to-peer system, currency trading and even, in some cases, black-market transactions. Now, some United Nations agencies are using blockchain to provide basic identification to refugees and others in developing countries as well as for specific actions like helping refugees obtain food rations … Read more

TOPIC: INDIA

Changing the Minds of Youths to Stop India’s Extreme Bias Against Girls

HARYANA, India — In 2014, Breakthrough India, an independent human-rights organization, launched a program to tackle gender discrimination throughout 150 schools in Haryana, one of India’s most gender-biased states. A 2011 census showed that Haryana, a primarily agricultural state bordering Delhi in northern India, had the worst child-sex ratio in the country, with only 830 … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

The ‘Incredible Courage’ of Asma Jahangir, Pakistan’s Human-Rights Advocate

Only a few days before Pakistan’s most famous human-rights advocate, Asma Jahangir, was felled by a heart attack on Feb. 11, she was speaking out in support of a group of ethnic Pashtuns who had marched across the country from their homes along the Afghanistan border to protest military brutality. A Pashtun boy had been … Read more

Thank You, UN, for Validating Indigenous People

Indigenous people, several millions of them, live in more than 80 countries and have long suffered, and continue to suffer, from injustices. Until 1981, they had no global forum in which to appear to plead for justice and for respect of their inalienable rights. That year, the director of the United Nations Division of Human … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Why Turkey’s Model Work Permits for Refugees Don’t Actually Work

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A major problem with Turkey for the millions of refugees there, it has a model work permit system for the newcomers, but it still bars them from the country’s labor market. Such problems can be overcome, experts contend, so that the refugees can work for decent wages in Turkey. Izza Leghtas, a … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Thank You, UN, for Defending Our Human Rights Against Gross Violations

From 1970 to 2000, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the predecessor to today’s Human Rights Council, considered in closed meetings and acted on some 80 country situations where there were reliable allegations of gross violations of human rights. In parallel, the UN Decolonization Committee and the Special Committee Against Apartheid gathered information, listened … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Thank You, United Nations, for Our Freedom

During some of the darkest days of the Cold War, thousands of people gained their freedom, thanks to the United Nations, in a story that has never been told before. It is time that this story — and others to come originating from UN archives — be put on record. From the early days of … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Blessed Are the Peace-Builders in Ukraine: Female Activists Repair a Broken Country

KYIV, Ukraine — There is no escaping that Ukraine is at war — although it is not totally apparent who the Ukrainian military and volunteer vigilantes are fighting in the east: Russian “separatists” or Russians themselves? No one can definitively say who is who or decide up from down, one of the living puzzles of … Read more

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