A New Campaign, #EveryHourMatters, Urges Instant Post-Rape Care

Maureen Phiri, a young girl from a poor family in Malawi, was only 11 years old when she was raped by the man who had hired her to do housework for him and his wife. Not only did Maureen continue to experience sexual abuse from the man she worked for, he left her with another long-term … Read more

The UN’s Support of Midwifery and the Serious Gaps That Remain

Midwifery is one of the world’s most ancient vocations, its practitioners playing a prominent role dating back to the Bible. In much of the world, midwives continue to play an important role in maintaining the health of women and newborns. It should come as no surprise, then, that investments in this occupation, according to the … Read more

Desperate Escape: Why Syrian and Other Refugees Are Rushing to Europe

As a relentless remake of the Middle East and North Africa has been taking place, mass displacements of populations have also been occurring. And more chaos is ahead, says the United States Defense Intelligence chief, Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, in his assessment that Iraq and Syria may have been permanently torn asunder by war and … Read more

Women’s Rights and the UN: A Long History of Ups and Downs

The 2010 creation of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (or UN Women) represented an unusual organizational consolidation instead of the typical proliferation. It had a promising start under strong leadership but faces serious challenges with growing resistance to gender equality. Support for women’s rights has a long and checkered history … Read more

The UN Tightens Rules on Peacekeeping Troops’ Medical Status

Peacekeepers from Ecuador, left, and Chile providing care at the Fraternite Notre Dam Medical Clinic, above the hills of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. LOGAN ABASSI/MINUSTAH

Almost five years after a rampaging cholera epidemic coursed through the Artibonite River region of Haiti and moved rapidly around the country, the United Nations, which acknowledges that a deadly strain of the disease originated in or around a Nepali peacekeepers’ base, is tightening medical prevention rules for soldiers and police. National governments will now … Read more

France and the UN Pressured to Act on Troops’ Sex Abuse in Central Africa

The uproar over accusations that French soldiers assigned to peacekeeping had sexually abused about a dozen boys in the Central African Republic from late 2013 through mid-2014 has shifted focus from the apparent behavior of the soldiers to the role the United Nations played in dealing with the allegations. The French soldiers were not part … Read more

World Health Assembly Backs Calls to Strengthen Clean Air SDGs

Negotiations are entering the last stages of formulating the Sustainable Development Goals. For over a year, governments, the United Nations system, nongovernment organizations and parliamentarians have been engaged in negotiations on the next set of development goals, called SDGs, to succeed the eight Millennium Development Goals, which expire at the end of this year. The … Read more

The Controversial Cambodian-Australian Refugee Deal Hits Snags

PHNOM PENH — A controversial $40 million deal signed between the Australian and Cambodian governments last September to resettle about 1,000 refugees from detention centers on the South Pacific island nation of Nauru to Cambodia was the first time two ratifying states of the 1951 United Nations Convention on Refugees agreed to transfer their resettlement … Read more

Caribbean Nations Preserve a Complicated Heritage

DORADO, Puerto Rico — When Europeans first invaded the Caribbean beginning in the late-15th century — more by chance than by design — devastation soon followed. Local populations were decimated by diseases from another world, and native people’s doomed attempts to repel the fearsome strangers met with only more death. Within two centuries, the slave trade … Read more

UN Peacekeeping Upgrades Its Reactions to Conflicts and Adds Surveillance Tools

By the time United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon named a panel in October to review peacekeeping comprehensively for the first time in more than 14 years, innovations in technology and intelligence-gathering to make UN missions more effective had already been introduced by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations. The strategic and tactical changes, some still … Read more

Child Brides as Slave Labor: The UN Is Conflicted

During the six years that Gulnara Shahinian served as the first United Nations special rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, she said on numerous occasions, as well as in a 2012 report to the General Assembly, that girls forced to marry against their will end up being condemned to a life of servility and abuse. … Read more

Islamists Systematically Destroying World Heritage Sites in Syria and Iraq

Beyond the horrific executions, the deadly assaults on Christian and Yazidi communities and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing towns to avoid their terror, fighters of the Islamic State movement sweeping through Syria and Iraq are deliberately demolishing or damaging ancient historical sites in some of the world’s oldest towns and cities. … Read more

UN Aviation Agency Plays a Limited Role in Malaysia Crash Inquiry

An international mission of forensic experts and unarmed police led by the Netherlands, with Australian and Malaysian participation, has temporarily suspended its investigation and recovery work at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine. The mission, which lasted just five days until it stopped on Aug. 6 because of the volatile … Read more

An Italian Priest and a US Health Group Win the 2014 UN Population Prize

Putting a new focus on maternal health and obstetric fistula in particular, which devastates the lives of women and girls in many poor countries, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has given its 2014 UN Population Award to an Italian doctor working in Mozambique and to an American maternal and child health organization with programs … Read more

The Creation and Trafficking of New Illegal Drugs Widens, a UN Report Finds

Confirming recent findings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States and other agencies around the world, the United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime said in its annual report that new synthetic drugs, sometime compounded or combined with other substances, are becoming a dangerous, often lethal, menace globally. The 2014 … Read more

The Divided Life of Cyprus

Arabahmet

  The United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus marked its 50th anniversary in March. The mission, which supervises cease-fire lines and maintains a buffer zone, has involved 32 countries that have contributed troops and police, among whom 184 peacekeepers have died. About 850 troops and 60 police officers make up the mission now, operating currently … Read more

Unraveling Sexual Violence in Costa Rica and Throughout Latin America

Memorial femicide protest in Chile

For the past three decades, Costa Rica has carried out progressive steps to reduce violence against women, a major inhibitor of human and economic development in the country and throughout Latin America. While the issue has garnered more attention among the general public in recent years, it remains intertwined in the fabric of Latin American … Read more

Missing: A UN Agency for the World’s Aging Population

Vietnamese woman

A few years ago in Ethiopia, a survey conducted for the government in the capital, Addis Ababa, discovered that 88 percent of a growing number of homeless older people as well as two-thirds of those living at home did not have enough to eat. A staggering 93 percent of all city residents over 60 had … Read more

The US, as Predicted, Loses a Valuable Vote at Unesco

Irina Bokova of Unesco

As predicted by PassBlue, the United States has lost its voting rights in Unesco, since it stopped paying its dues almost exactly two years ago because of a Congressional ban on support for any UN agency that gives full membership to the Palestinians. Unesco suspended American voting rights on Nov. 8, as well as those … Read more

The US Could Soon Lose Its Voting Ability at Unesco

Monticello, a Unesco World Heritage Site

The United States may be ineligible to vote in Unesco’s November elections to choose members of the agency’s executive board and the next director-general, among other major matters, because the US stopped paying its dues as a member in October 2011. Unesco, formally called the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, is known for its … Read more

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