Pompeo Finds Little Appetite at the UN for His Iran Strategy

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

In the middle of a muggy August afternoon in New York, the United Nations Security Council gathered once more to figure out how to “maintain peace and security” in the Middle East. But the recurring topic always leaves conversations wide open for interpretation by the Council’s 15 members. The concept by Poland as Council president … Read more

Kashmir May Be an Old Crisis at the UN, but the World Is Now Riveted

A familiar refrain often heard when the burgeoning crisis in Kashmir rises to the top of the news is that this is an old story from long ago; we have moved on. The United Nations is discovering, however, that there is less tolerance for indifference since India’s decrees on Aug. 5-6 to singlehandedly remake the … Read more

Strongmen to Kick Off the UN General Assembly Session in September

President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil with President Donald Trump

Donald Trump will shake hands with Emmanuel Macron, Jair Bolsonaro and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. But will Benjamin Netanyahu; Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel be there, too? The 74th opening debate of the United Nations General Assembly, which lasts a few weeks, starts on Sept.17; the general debate begins on Sept. 24. With most member states … Read more

Kashmiri Muslims in Danger as Hindu Politicians Cancel Their Rights

It has always been relatively easy for Indian governments from both the political left and right to keep Kashmir from the eyes of the world. At no time has this been more obvious than now. Landlocked, under the guns of half a million Indian troops and paramilitaries, cut off sporadically from all modern communications and … Read more

 

The UN Palestinian Refugee Agency Is in Hot Water, Again

Pierre Krahenbuhl

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which has been undermined by a sharp cut in United States contributions, has been embroiled in a scandal that threatens to jeopardize its very future. A report from the agency’s Ethics Office has found “credible and corroborated” evidence that the senior management of Unrwa engaged in “sexual misconduct, … Read more

As the SDGs Falter, the UN Turns to the Rich and Famous

Amina Mohammed with Borge Brende, António Guterres and Klaus Schwab

The Sustainable Development Goals are in trouble. United Nations officials are concerned and say so publicly. Secretary-General António Guterres  joined in raising an alarm in mid-July when he introduced the most recent official UN report. “It is abundantly clear that a much deeper, faster and more ambitious response is needed to unleash the social and … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Women’s Rights Defenders Are Tired of Being Told to ‘Push Back’ Against the Opposition

As a human-rights defender and women’s rights campaigner, I continue to be struck not by the many challenges now facing women’s rights organizations but by the constant calls for women to “push back against the pushback.” This call for women to push back against the many forces oppressing women’s rights organizations was repeated in a … Read more

Human-Rights Lawyers React to a UN Official’s Definition of Rape

A group of several hundred international human-rights lawyers reacted to a first-person opinion piece published by the United Nations expert on torture that “had a problematic definition of rape,” according to the lawyers’ open letter, published on July 1, expressing their legal views. The exchange between the human-rights experts and proponents and the UN specialist, … Read more

 

TOPIC: WOMEN

Calling All Women’s Groups: Help Shape the Beijing+25 Agenda

Women in Uruguay preparing to participate in an International Women's Day march, 2019

Twenty-four years ago, the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, yielded a bold declaration from 189 countries calling for improving the rights of women across the globe. Now, plans to mark the 25th anniversary of Beijing are forging ahead, as organizers decide on themes of conferences taking place in 2020 while managing pushback … Read more

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY

Kuwait’s Priority for the UN Security Council Presidency: Iraq and the Mideast

Still, this small oil-rich Arab country has an agenda of its own that it wants to fulfill as it ends its last presidency on the Council — in probably decades — on a strong note. For June, Kuwait plans to work on the topic of missing persons in armed conflict, an issue that touches its own … Read more

A New OPCW Team Is Ready to Find the Culprits Behind Chemical Attacks in Syria

THE HAGUE — The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is inching closer in trying to determine who instigated the various chemical attacks in Syria last year. In April 2018, gas cylinders filled with chlorine were dropped from a helicopter in the residential areas of Douma, outside the capital of Damascus. At least 70 … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Men Can Experience Sexual Violence in War Too

The United Nations Security Council recognized that men and boys are targets of sexual violence both in wartime and in post-conflict settings. Resolution 2467, approved on April 23, calls upon UN member countries to strengthen policies to provide help for victims. As a human-rights lawyer, during the last nine months, I have been documenting cases of conflict-related sexual … Read more

 

Trump’s Strong-Arm Cuts Put UN Peacekeepers Out in the Cold

The Trump administration’s unilateral decision to stop paying its full United Nations peacekeeping bills is hanging peacekeeping missions out to dry while creating financial woes for the countries that provide the blue-helmeted troops and police officers, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is warning. The UN’s member nations owed the peacekeeping operations just under $2 billion in … Read more

With Scandals Rife Across the UN, Are Managers at Fault?

A sea of new or lingering allegations of harassment and corruption in numerous agencies and programs in the United Nations system appears to be washing over a sprawling organization battered by scandal. Poor or careless management and oversight, from top to bottom, is partly to blame, but so is persistent, overt politicization of high-level appointments … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Will the US Stand With Victims of Rape in War?

The annual debate on sexual violence in conflict is about to take place in the United Nations Security Council. As the UN special envoy on sexual violence in conflict, Pramila Patten, has said, this event — on Tuesday, April 23 — presents a critical opportunity to assess progress in the last 10 years, since the … Read more

Canada, Ireland and Norway, Now Vying for the 2020 UN Security Council Vote

Jockeying for a two-year seat on the United Nations Security Council starts early — way early. Three countries are already vying for the two open seats in the regional group known as Weog — Western Europe and Others — for the 2021-22 term. The election is June 2020, and the “others” are Australia, Canada, Israel and … Read more

 

TOPIC: WOMEN

The Goal of Gender Parity in the UN: Proving That Women Are Equal to Men

Ana Menéndez is a former Spanish diplomat who oversees the gender parity strategy at the United Nations, working directly for Secretary-General António Guterres for a year and a half now on one of his main priorities at the institution. Menéndez is tasked with the role — besides being responsible for overall UN policy — after a … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Three Ex-UN Leaders Form a Women’s Group to Save the World

As multilateralism takes a beating from President Trump amid the “new world disorder,” as one European diplomat put it, three women who know the United Nations inside and out through previous top leadership jobs have originated a Group of Women Leaders for Change and Inclusion. The goal is to bring together former UN female colleagues … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The Elusive Truth About the Death of Dag Hammarskjold and My Father

My clock radio clicked on. The morning news bulletin announced that United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld’s plane was missing. It was Sept. 18, 1961. I was 16. Over the next hours, my mother and sisters and I learned that Mr. Hammarskjöld, accompanied by Dad and 14 others, had flown from Leopoldville, in the Congo, to … Read more

Reform Clouds Darken the Future of the UN Development Program

As the first effects of Secretary-General António Guterres’s ambitious organizational reform plans become apparent, former and current officials of the United Nations Development Program see the future of the internationally influential agency as uncertain if not in peril. Fears center on aspects of the reform plan for development that would allow more political interference by … Read more

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