New Human Rights Council Members, Some Already Sullied

GA votes on Human Rights Council members

Eighteen members were elected by the United Nations General Assembly to the Human Rights Council on Nov. 12. The members, serving three-year terms beginning Jan. 1, join 29 other countries on the council. Of the 18 new members, only the United States was seeking a second term. The other states chosen were Argentina, Brazil, Estonia, … Read more

Five New Security Council Members, Many New Agendas

UN General Assembly elects nonpermanent Security Council members

As the five newly elected United Nations Security Council members prep for their seats, what will their work look like when they take office Jan. 1 for two years? It’s impossible to predict how the winners – Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, South Korea and Rwanda – will fill their nonpermanent seats among Britain, China, France, Russia … Read more

BOOKS

Kofi Annan: Lessons in Futility

Kofi Annan

  Kofi Annan‘s existential crisis during his decade as United Nations secretary-general was without question related to the US-led invasion of Iraq. But the most fascinating part of his new memoir, “Interventions: A Life in War and Peace,” is the account of his numerous attempts to nudge the world toward a Middle East peace deal. … Read more

Ban Ki-moon Invokes Strong Words for Iran, Syria and the Nonaligned

Ban Ki-moon meets with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, speaking on Aug. 30 to the 120-member Nonaligned Movement meeting in Tehran, took a swing at his hosts, saying that denying the Holocaust and threatening Israel’s existence is racist and undermines the values of the United Nations. “We must prevent conflict between all UN member states,” he said, without naming Iran. “And … 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

GOINGS-ON

Annan Assembles a Veteran Team for Syria

Guehenno

Kofi Annan, with the Security Council now fully behind his mediation mission in Syria, has gathered a group of experienced former United Nations officials and diplomats to work with him as he seeks the end of hostilities and, ultimately, a political settlement in Damascus. The latest addition to the former secretary-general’s team is Jean-Marie Guéhenno, … Read more

Security Council Vents Frustration Over Syria Crisis

British ambassador to the UN

In a voice of rare unanimity on the situation in Syria, the 15-member UN Security Council conveyed its “deep disappointment” that Valerie Amos, United Nations under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, was turned down by the government to enter the country to assess the humanitarian crisis. The press statement was read by Mark Lyall Grant, the … Read more

General Assembly Condemns Syria in a Strong Vote

Syrian resolution

The General Assembly overwhelmingly supported a resolution condemning the relentless “widespread and systematic” human-rights violations committed by Syrian officials and demanded that the government stop all violence and protect its people. The resolution, though not enforceable, also called on Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, to cede office to a vice president and begin negotiations to form … Read more

 

Human Rights Chief Calls for More Action in Syria

As violence continues unabated in Syria despite tough economic and travel sanctions from such big players as the Arab League, the European Union, Turkey and the United States, the head of the UN’s high commissioner for human rights has spoken out by calling for international intervention to protect civilians against government attacks. Navi Pillay, the … Read more

A Man for the Moment in the Middle East

Nabil Elaraby is a name to remember as crisis builds in Syria and citizens in other countries in the Arab world worry about where their hard-won revolutions are taking them. Elaraby, a 76-year-old Egyptian diplomat, is secretary-general of the Arab League, a position he has held for less than five months. But his impact on … Read more

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