New Tensions Sparking Between Trump and UN Rights Leader, Michelle Bachelet

Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, who has been personally attacked by United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, is not planning to resign from her position, according to her office. Her term does not end until 2022, but rumors have been circulating that she could decide to leave amid increasing … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

UN Chief Condemns Male Privilege as Many Nations Defy Such Bashing

UN Secretary-General António Guterres

With International Women’s Day, March 8, on the horizon, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres blasted the intractable power of patriarchy, the cause of overwhelming gender injustice and an abuse of historical proportions, in his view. “Just as slavery and colonialism were a stain on previous centuries, women’s inequality should shame us all in the twenty-first,” … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Battle Lines Are Drawn on Women’s Rights Before #CSW64 Even Begins

From the start, the diplomats leading the negotiations on the new political declaration for the United Nations’ women’s rights conference in March wanted to keep it short and sweet. That meant five pages maximum, one diplomat told PassBlue before the discussions began, inevitably frustrating diplomats who had hoped to produce a generous endorsement of women’s … Read more

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY

From Five to Four: Belgium Strives to Fill the European Gap in the Security Council Left by Brexit

Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve and Stéphanie Fillion

In Brussels, the month started with the removal of Britain’s flag from the European Union headquarters, while in New York, Belgium became rotating president of the United Nations Security Council for February, ready to fill the political vacuum left by Britain’s departure from the European bloc on the Council, thanks to Brexit. PassBlue met with … Read more

China Flexes Its Economic Might More Openly on Uighurs Issue

Twenty-three nations, including Britain, the United States, Germany, France and Japan, slammed China at the United Nations recently, citing its persecution of Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang province. “We call on the Chinese government to uphold its national laws and international obligations and commitments to respect human rights, including freedom of religion or belief, … 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

GEOPOLITICS

As Nicaragua Slides Deeper Into Dictatorship, Other Nations Grow Alarmed

In a rebuke to President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua on Dec. 21, governments of 14 democratic nations in Europe, the United States, Chile and Australia condemned the closing, banning or expulsion of civil-society organizations working on rights and governance issues in Nicaragua. The censure came as violence is again being used against Ortega’s critics. Young … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The Devastating Decline of Human-Rights Justice Across the World

The soul of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights is being destroyed with the disappearance of human-rights justice in the world. Everyone should be concerned if not frightened. The appointment of Michelle Bachelet of Chile as UN high commissioner for human rights, who has personally experienced injustice, offers hope that her voice will be … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Michelle Bachelet of Chile Nominated to Be Next UN Rights Commissioner

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has nominated Michelle Bachelet, a former president of Chile, to become the next UN high commissioner for human rights. The nomination has been sent to the General Assembly for approval. Bachelet, who is 66, was Guterres’s top choice all along in the selection process, which began informally in the spring, … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

Once Again, Haley Accuses Others for US Failure at Rights Council Reform

In the middle of last week, when the Trump administration was still unable to say how it “lost” more than 2,500 children torn from their asylum-seeking parents at the border with Mexico, Nikki Haley, the United States envoy to the United Nations, was telling a different story to a sympathetic group in Washington, D.C. “We … 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

TOPIC: WOMEN

Michelle Bachelet, Outgoing President of Chile, Gets a WHO Post

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has agreed to chair the board of the World Health Organization’s Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health after she finishes her government role on March 11. The announcement came after a Jan. 10 meeting at the presidential palace in Santiago, during which the WHO leadership offered Bachelet the position. “This … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

US Congress Starts Slicing Away at 2018 National Budget, Sure to Hurt UN

The first round in the battle to write a federal budget, working off the Trump administration’s ruthless proposals announced in May, has ended in the House of Representatives appropriations committee. As feared by advocates for women, the poor, refugees, global health programs and even foreign language study, the Republican-led appropriations committee, which sets budget goals … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Feminists Made the Difference: How Women Won National Leadership Roles

Hillary Clinton did not make it to the top, but Theresa May, the British prime minister, and Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany, did. Since Sirimavo Bandaranaike became the world’s first female prime minister, in Sri Lanka in 1960, one-hundred women have been heads of state or government around the world. How did they get to … Read more

BOOKS

Misogyny Didn’t Stop Them: The World’s Most Important Female Leaders

From Asia and Africa to Europe and the Americas, women remain important forces of change as government leaders in the modern era. Indira Gandhi, the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister after its independence, was one of the earliest — and the only woman in India — to hold that position, from 1966 to … Read more

A New Plan to Recruit Candidates for UN Secretary-General Emerges

For the first time in United Nations history, officially announced candidates for the secretary-general race, underway this year, will be interviewed publicly in the General Assembly along the lines of a standard democratic election. Mogens Lykketoft, the Assembly president and a Dane, is pushing the “unprecedented transparent process,” as he put it, in selecting the … Read more

New Snags for Women Running in the UN Secretary-General Race

The only official female candidate in the competition so far to become the next United Nations secretary-general may already be in flux. Just a few weeks have passed since the Croatian government sent a letter to the UN nominating Vesna Pusic, a former foreign minister, but her candidacy may be uncertain because of a change … Read more

Has Russia Dashed All Hopes for a Female Secretary-General?

Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the UN

Has Russia put the kibosh on the chances that the next secretary-general of the United Nations will be a woman? As Vitaly Churkin walked ramrod-straight in his dark suit to a working-group discussion at the UN on the process of selecting the next secretary-general, he acted as if he owned the place. Some might say … Read more

Eastern Europe Presses Its Claim to the Secretary-General’s Office  

In 70 years of United Nations history, Eastern Europe has been the only regional group in the organization that has never filled the position of secretary-general. Western Europe has had three secretaries-general; Asia and Africa, two each; and Latin America and the Caribbean, one. The 23 nations of the Eastern European region, determined to win … Read more

GOINGS-ON

Major New Staff Appointments at the UN and Departures

Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary-general, has appointed at least a dozen new people to high-level positions — including five women — primarily in Africa in the last few months, while the organization also loses some executives. Three new force commanders have been named for various peacekeeping missions as well. At Unicef, Anthony Lake, an … Read more

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