WORLDVIEWS

Do We Even Need the UN? An Academic’s Quest to Find the Answer

Would the world be better off without the United Nations? The question couldn’t be more important in the age of Trump and his rejection of multilateral institutions as well as traditional allies. Thomas G. Weiss, Presidential Professor of Political Science at the City University of New York Graduate Center, took on this question, speaking extensively … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The UN’s Emphasis on Prevention Could Use Lessons From the Case of Guinea

Historically neglected, gender-based violence is now becoming broadly recognized as a legitimate and urgent agenda item among the United Nations member nations, notably in the UN’s most powerful forum, the Security Council. But the future of the agenda is uncertain, as priorities remain unclear and inadequate methods for preventing sexual violence against women keep us … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Brazil Can Lead the Way on Managing the World’s Refugee Crisis

RIO DE JANEIRO — Only weeks from the start of the 2018 World Cup, soccer teams of refugees from Mali, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Angola, Burkina Faso and Gambia who had migrated to Brazil became the protagonists in a recent soccer competition: the Multicultural Cup, organized by Instituto Adus, a nongovernmental organization, … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

To Help the World Sleep Better, Salvage the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

If United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo follows through with his threat to impose “the strongest sanctions in history” on Iran, the United States should be prepared for Iran to retaliate by withdrawing from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Last month, Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The UN’s Cruz Report on Improving Peacekeepers’ Security Goes Too Far

Since 1999, the United Nations Security Council has consistently entrusted its peacekeeping operations with clear authority to use force beyond self-defense — primarily for the protection of civilians. To fulfill the mandate, the Council expects UN peacekeeping forces to take preventive as well as responsive actions; to proactively patrol the local communities; to project a strong … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The UN and #MeToo: All Forms of Abuse Must End Now

For many years now, media attention on sexual abuse and exploitation by United Nations peacekeepers cornered the UN and pushed it toward reform. Now, the #MeToo movement has put the organization — and many other major institutions across the world — on red alert. But UN insiders and supporters are wondering if the leadership’s rush … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Why Syria Will Need a UN Peacekeeping Force (Called Unshams)

After seven years of horrific fighting, it appears that the Syrian civil war is inching toward a conclusion. In the wake of recent alleged chemical attacks unleashed in Eastern Ghouta, Bashar al-Assad’s regime is squeezing remaining rebel forces, largely herding them — and thousands of civilians — into the northwest in Idlib Province, where an … 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

WORLDVIEWS

Can the UN Finally Get Serious About Inefficiencies in Its Development System?

BONN, Germany — Member states of the United Nations are now negotiating reform proposals for the world body’s development system. In the latest draft resolution, they welcome the secretary-general’s proposal for “advancing common business operations” and “request” for their “implementation,” in line with earlier decisions by the General Assembly (a previous draft requested “full implementation”). This … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Dead?

When the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted 70 years ago, the hopes of its drafters and of people across the globe was that it would help transform the world into a place of freedom and justice. Sadly, the declaration is now being challenged as it has never been before. This leads to pondering about … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

With UN Security Council Reform, Bigger Is Not Better

Much ado — during 25 years of fruitless negotiations — has been made about the need for the United Nations General Assembly to achieve more equitable geographical representation in the UN Security Council. Article 23(1) of the UN Charter, however, also requires the Assembly, in electing the nonpermanent members of the Council, to pay due … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

How to Use UN Sanctions More Strategically to Stop Rape in War

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The weaponization of sexual violence by Syrian government forces, as part of a campaign to punish opposition communities, was stunningly documented in a recent report by investigators for the United Nations. Women and girls have been subjected to rape, gang rape and genital mutilation, perpetrated by government forces and associated militias. Often, … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Who Says the UN Is Boring? Intrigue Always Abounds in Its Inner Core

Bureaucracies do not have a great reputation, and the United Nations bureaucracy is no exception. They are seen as inefficient, cumbersome and rigid, adjectives that are also routinely associated with the UN Secretariat. At best considered a “necessary evil,” bureaucracies tend to attract scorn rather than analysis. The UN Secretariat, however, is different. Although it … 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

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

WORLDVIEWS

Iran Missiles to Yemen: Is There Room for Circumstantial Evidence in UN Sanctions?

Citing an unpublished report of the United Nations panel of experts on Yemen, The New York Times said recently that Iran violated the Yemen arms embargo, according to UN experts. The same day, The Washington Post used essentially the same set of reported facts under a more judicious headline that said, in part, “Iran weapons to Yemen … 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

Leave the UN’s Human-Rights Treaty System Alone

The United Nations Charter requires each and every member state to discharge its obligations by faithfully carrying out norms of legally binding international human-rights law. These may be norms of international customary law, those contained in treaties or those flowing from general principles of international law. The human-rights provisions in the Charter were amplified by … Read more

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