Children Trapped in Syria Suffering From the War

Syrian child in a Jordanian refugee camp

As the Syrian government increasingly resorts to using heavy armaments and long-distance aircraft — and possibly chemical weapons — to attack the opposition movement and other enemies, the risk of children being killed or maimed in the fighting has risen sharply, says the United Nations Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children … Read more

When Intervention by Foreign Powers Is Justified

David Phillips

One of the most complicated dynamics in international relations is whether foreign powers should intervene when a government is creating a humanitarian crisis among its own people. David L. Phillips, a former a senior adviser to the United States Department of State and to the United Nations, has repeatedly dealt with this problem, and in … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Susan Rice’s Rise Beyond the United Nations

Susan E. Rice, US ambassador to the UN

JENA, Germany — Many rumors abound regarding the future of America’s top envoy at the United Nations, Susan E. Rice. While she is still working as the United States ambassador to the UN, some media reports are predicting that she will become President Obama’s next national security adviser, succeeding Thomas E. Donilon. As to who … Read more

The Masterminds Behind Security Council Resolutions

Security Council Meeting on the situation in Cyprus

The United Nations Security Council bases its resolutions on agenda items as varied as the renewal of a peacekeeping force mandate in Haiti to responding to a missile launching in North Korea. With resolutions’ language often dense legalese that recalls, recognizes, emphasizes, demands and, at times, condemns and deplores the issue at hand, the style … Read more

Guatemala’s Role on the Security Council, as Viewed by Its Ambassador

Gert Rosenthal, Guatemala's ambassador to the UN

Gert Rosenthal does not sound like a Spanish name, but the mother of Rosenthal, the Guatemalan ambassador to the United Nations, was born there and his father was German. To complicate matters, “a little accident happened,” he said, as his parents, Florence and Ludwig, left Germany in the 1930s, and Rosenthal was born in Amsterdam. … Read more

The International Court Judge’s Fight for Justice

Judge Song of the ICC

  The president of the International Criminal Court, Judge Sang-Hyun Song, told a Columbia University audience recently that a major challenge facing the court is what he called a steady lack of political support from the United Nations Security Council and UN member states. “We need a far more consistent and vigilant approach by the … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Germany’s ‘Added Value’ to the Security Council

Peter Wittig, German ambassador to the UN

  BERLIN — When Germany began its two-year tenure in 2011 as a nonpermanent member of the United Nations Security Council, its diplomats promised to hold a debate on climate change and to improve the protection of children in armed conflict, to name just the top items on their list. Now in December 2012, with … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Protecting Civilians: How It Works

A girl in Freetown, Sierra Leone

CANBERRA, Australia — A steady rise has been occurring in the last two centuries in the proportion of civilians killed in armed conflict, either from direct violence or conflict-related hunger and disease. The international community has responded to the calls to protect innocent victims by developing two parallel principles, the protection of civilians and the … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Close Cooperation Is Useful Between the General Assembly and Security Council

Nassir Abdulaziz Al Nasser of Qatar, the outgoing General Assembly president.

BERLIN — If you ask people on the street which United Nations organ has more influence, the Security Council or the General Assembly, they will most probably answer: “The Security Council,” since it has the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security and is the only UN organ that can issue legally binding decisions … Read more

As UN Monitoring Mission Dies in Syria, a New Envoy Is Named

Gerard Araud of the Security Council

The United Nations Security Council will not renew the mandate for the monitoring mission it set up in Syria this spring to supervise a peace plan that never materialized. The mandate for the UN Supervision Mission, called Unsmis, expires Aug. 19. The unarmed mission, renewed in July for 30 days, is down to 100 officers … Read more

Kofi Annan Resigns as Special Envoy for Syria

Kofi Annan, joint special envoy for Syria

Kofi Annan, the joint special envoy for the United Nations and the Arab League for the Syrian crisis, resigned today, leaving any residual hope for a peaceful resolution to the conflict gone for now. The resignation seems to have taken the UN by surprise, though Gérard Araud, the French ambassador to the UN, said after … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Russia’s Motives Behind the Syrian Conflict

Syrian refugees in Turkey

CANBERRA — China and Russia have cast three vetoes on draft United Nations Security Council resolutions aimed at tougher international responses to the Syrian government’s brutal crackdown on protestors and rebels in the last 16 months. China and Russia have drawn much flak for their resistance to UN efforts to end the mass killings in … Read more

UN Mission in Syria Renewed for 30 Days

A day after the United Nations Security Council refused to adopt a British-sponsored resolution that would have sanctioned the Syrian government if fighting persisted, the council agreed unanimously to renew the mandate of the UN mission in the country to monitor a cease-fire that never happened. The 400-member team, called the UN Supervision Mission in … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Five Lightweights Fight to Reform the Security Council

UN General Assembly

BERLIN — It is a story of political courage and steadfastness: After it had become obvious that the 2005 World Summit had not brought any progress in the reform of the Security Council regarding its composition of permanent and nonpermanent members, a group of five small countries, in short Small Five or S-5 — Costa … Read more

Swiss UN Mission Asks Others to Help Refer Syria to The Hague

Observers sent to the villages of el-Qubeir to conduct a fact finding mission following reports of a massacre.

As the 300-member United Nations unarmed observer mission in Syria suspends its work because of intensifying violence in the country, Britain and Switzerland are beginning efforts to refer the Syrian situation to the International Criminal Court. The British foreign secretary, William Hague, announced recently that his office is preparing a case against the Syrian government … Read more

GOINGS-ON

Edward Luck, Responsibility to Protect Expert, Returns to Academia

Edward Luck

Edward Luck, who has been the special adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the responsibility to protect doctrine within the prevention of genocide office since 2008, will become the dean of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego, a private Roman Catholic school, on Aug. … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The Missing Russian Deliveryman

Bashar Jaafari

Kofi Annan was too diplomatic to say it in public, but his meaning as he “briefed” the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday on the continuing strife in Syria was unmistakable: Russia has failed. Annan’s plan to halt the fighting that has convulsed Syria for 15 months was crafted to Moscow’s specifications. It made no … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

For Syria, a Way Out That Still Involves the UN

Kofi Annan

CANBERRA — Syria is tearing itself apart. The minority Allawite-dominated regime of Bashar al-Assad remains determined to crush the opposition, which despises the regime so much it will not bow out. The Kofi Annan peace plan has seemingly failed, and the international community, or more specifically the United Nations Security Council, has found itself in … Read more

UN Security Council Sends an Observer Team to Syria

Russian ambassador to the UN

The Security Council passed a resolution on Saturday allowing a team of 30 unarmed military observers to enter Syria as soon as Sunday to monitor the cease-fire that has more or less been respected since Thursday. Up to 250 observers, drawn mostly from United Nations peacekeeping troops in the region, are to eventually make up … Read more

The International Criminal Court’s Stance on Torture

ICC Bemba

People who deal professionally with victims of physical and psychological torture want to not only heal their patients but also stop torture dead in its tracks. So they were pleased to learn that like other individuals or groups, they could submit evidence they had gathered to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, says … Read more

Support nonprofit journalism →
Left Menu Icon

Sign up to get the smartest news on the UN by email, joining readers across the globe.

We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously

Don’t Miss a Story:

Subscribe to PassBlue