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

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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

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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

Putting Women and Girls at the Center of the Future Development Goals

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, chief of UN Women

What happened at the annual United Nations women’s conference this year? Over 10 days of both mercifully brief and far-too-long speeches by policy people, government ministers, UN staff members and a wide array of other experts, the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women ended on a hush. It was as if everyone … Read more

Signs of Transformation From the ‘Pink Ghetto of Gender’

Chad mother daughter

One question about women’s rights that may never go away is how to ensure that women are represented fairly in large organizations, like the United Nations. For now, work on “gender mainstreaming” may suffice by concentrating on small steps as opposed to devising wholesale solutions. As one expert has described the process, it is an … Read more

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The Failure of Mainstream Media to Cover the UN: Who’s to Blame?

Security Council Meeting-draft resolution on Syria chemical weapons

As media coverage of the United Nations dwindles and becomes more hyperfocused on geopolitics, the public learns less and less about the UN itself and how it operates. Who is to blame for the decreasing, narrow coverage — the press, a disinterested public or the UN itself? Barbara Crossette spoke on the subject at the … Read more

For Many Latin American Women, Abuse Never Lets Up

Bolivian Women in Oruro

Latin American and Caribbean nations have pulled ahead of most other developing regions on numerous measures of economic growth and human progress in recent years. The region has one of the world’s lowest poverty levels; hunger has been reduced to under 5 percent of the regional population; primary school enrollment rivals that of rich nations; … Read more

It’s Down to Latin America v. Africa to Lead UN Women

Alcinda Abreu, environment minister of Mozambique

After several months of public speculation at the United Nations, two candidates are now in tight contention for the executive director post of UN Women, the main agency tasked with promoting the treatment and rights of women worldwide since it began operating in January 2011. Rebeca Grynspan, 57, is one contender. Since 2010, she has … Read more

GOINGS-ON

Michelle Bachelet, UN Women Chief, Resigns

Michelle Bachelet, the head of the United Nations agency promoting the rights of women and gender equality, has told Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that she is stepping down after two years in the job. Bachelet, a former Chilean president, is likely to run for president of her country again in elections this fall. She made the announcement about … Read more

The Recipe for a Better World? Ending Violence Against Women and Girls

57th Commission on the Status of Women at the UN

Thousands of women worldwide flock to the Commission on the Status of Women’s conference at the United Nations every March, and this year is no exception, for good reason: the theme is eliminating and preventing all violence against women and girls. Violence is a phenomenon that all females can relate to day after day, however … Read more

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