COVID-19

The UN in New York Shuts Physically as Most Personnel Telecommute: Updates

The coronavirus has officially hit the United Nations at its New York City headquarters. On Thursday, March 12, the first reported case was confirmed by a diplomat with the Philippines mission to the UN, who said that a Filipino colleague had tested positive for Covid-19 and had notified the “UN medical director’s office.” The UN … Read more

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

WORLDVIEWS

How the US Enabled Aggressions by China and Russia at the UN

For the last decade, Western democracies and human-rights defenders have been locked in a tense struggle with authoritarian great powers at the United Nations. Since 2009, Russia and China have waged a highly successful campaign to dismantle the international human-rights system, particularly through the Human Rights Council. The two countries have made strides especially after … Read more

Reading the US Presidential Tea Leaves: Do the Candidates Even Care About the UN?

President Trump was at the United Nations last fall telling world leaders that “the future does not belong to globalists” when Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the United States House of Representatives would launch an inquiry into his possible impeachment. It was the same General Assembly whose derisive laughter at Trump’s boast a year before of … Read more

The US Raises Its UN Profile, but Not Its Support

Kelley Currie

The naming of Jonathan Moore, a senior United States Foreign Service officer, to the position of Acting Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, signals that in the United Nations’ 75th year, the Trump administration is getting serious. The move doesn’t mean that the US is increasing support for the organization, of course, or for … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

It’s Time to Increase Parliaments’ Engagement With Human Rights

As protection of human rights seems to be sliding everywhere, the international human-rights system has responded by focusing on national implementation, to ensure that states’ international commitments are translated into meaningful changes felt by people on the ground. While often overlooked, parliaments can provide a critical link between global agreements and domestic progress on human-rights … 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

The UN Can Do Much More to Resolve Khashoggi’s Murder, Says Agnès Callamard

Agnès Callamard

Exactly a year after Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi-born, American-based journalist, was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnès Callamard, remains categorical: UN Secretary-General António Guterres can and should do more about the murder, and so should member states. “I am asking the secretary-general … Read more

Will Democrats Stall Trump’s Nominee for the UN Indefinitely?

After the Senate Foreign Relations Committee just voted to place 13 Trump administration nominees across diverse positions in the State Department, Senate ranking member Robert Menendez is using another nomination as a negotiating chip to demand details on two controversial White House migration pacts with Guatemala and Mexico. Senator Menendez (D-N.J.) is blocking the candidacy … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

An Ode to Joy: The UN Expert on LGBTIQ Rights Stands

I woke to a flurry of messages from LGBTIQ activists across the world, coordinating activities. It was July 12 and the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva was about to vote on renewing the mandate of the independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity — the SOGI expert, as it is called in … 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

Trump’s Pick for UN Diplomat in Geneva Vows to Oppose Reproductive Rights and Put America First

Andrew Bremberg

“I am pro-life, I believe that all human life is sacred, and that human life begins at conception,” Andrew Bremberg told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee recently. Asked if rape victims should have access to abortion, he replied, “I don’t believe that abortion is a moral solution to any problem.” Nominated by President … Read more

Trump’s UN Pick Softens on Climate Change, but Not on Paris Accord

Kelly Knight Craft

Kelly Knight Craft, Donald Trump’s pick to be the next United States ambassador to the United Nations, raised eyebrows in her June 19 Senate confirmation hearing by putting some space between her views on global climate change and those of the president. But Trump needn’t worry that she might end up threatening her boss’s ostrichlike … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Justice for Darfur Is Critical for a Peaceful Future in Sudan 

Women from North Darfur performing a traditional dance

The people of Sudan finally ousted President Omar al-Bashir from power, on April 11, 2019. The people of Sudan must now transfer al-Bashir to The Hague to stand trial in the International Criminal Court, which, more than 10 years ago, indicted him for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur — including the … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The Gains of LGBTQ Rights in Some Mideast-North African Nations May Be a Game-Changer

Progress in recognizing the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people at the United Nations in New York and in Geneva may seem detached from the realities faced by LGBTQ people in the Middle East and North Africa, or Mena, region. Activists there, however, are navigating the UN human-rights system as part … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

US Abortion Restrictions Violate Women’s Human Rights

Every year, 25 million women across the world are forced to obtain unsafe abortions. The United States, through its foreign policy, is deeply complicit in the violation of these women’s right to life and equality under international law. International human-rights frameworks guard against these violations and hold the US and other countries accountable. The International Covenant … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

Nikki Haley Revs Up: ‘We’re in the Money’

Nikki Haley at Boeing Plant in South Carolina, May 2013

Two months after leaving the United Nations, Nikki Haley has assembled a political network that is laying the groundwork for a possible presidential run in 2024, or even in 2020 — should her mentor Donald Trump not run. The best thing about it from her point of view? The scheme will enable her to raise … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Authorities Find More Ways to Silence Women Human-Rights Experts

More than two decades have passed since the United Nations General Assembly approved the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, which encourages countries to protect people who fight for human rights around the world. So why has the situation deteriorated, especially for women who defend human rights? Fears of terrorism and the rise of fundamentalism and … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

Now That She’s Gone: Nikki Haley’s Legacy at the UN

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, in the Security Council chamber, Oct. 18, 2018.

After two years as the American ambassador at the United Nations, Nikki Haley left the job in December 2018 as much an enigma as the day she arrived. Haley, a career politician, came to the UN with little foreign policy experience but national recognition for her handling of a domestic terror attack while governor of … Read more

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