Stories written by Thalif Deen
Thalif Deen, Director & Senior Editor, UN Bureau, Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency Thalif Deen has been covering the United Nations since the late 1970s. Beginning with the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, he has covered virtually every major U.N. conference: on population, human rights, the environment, social and economic development, food security, humanitarian aid, nuclear disarmament, water, energy and education. As the former UN Bureau Chief for Inter Press Service, he was cited twice for excellence in U.N. reporting at the annual awards presentation of the U.N. Correspondents' Association (UNCA). In November 2012, he was on the IPS team which won the prestigious gold medal for reporting on the global environment-- and in 2013, he shared the gold, this time with the UN Bureau Chief of Reuters news agency, for his reporting on the humanitarian and development work of the United Nations. A former information officer at the U.N. Secretariat, he served twice as a member of the Sri Lanka delegation to the UN General Assembly sessions. His track record includes a stint as deputy news editor of the Sri Lanka Daily News and senior editorial writer on the Hong Kong Standard. A former military editor Middle East/Africa at Jane’s Information Group, a columnist for the Sri Lanka Sunday Times and a longtime U.N. correspondent for Asiaweek, Hong Kong and Jane's Defence Weekly, London, he is a Fulbright scholar with a Master’s Degree in journalism from Columbia University, New York.

US & Western Arms in Yemen Conflict Signal Potential War Crime Charges

When US political leaders urged the Trump administration to either reduce or cut off arms supplies to Saudi Arabia – largely as a punishment for its indiscriminate bombings of civilians in the four-year old military conflict in Yemen—President Trump provided a predictable response: “If we don’t sell arms to Saudi Arabia, the Chinese and the Russians will.”

Trump’s Veto Will Trigger More US Arms to Kill Civilians in Yemen

President Donald Trump’s decision to veto a bi-partisan Congressional resolution to end US military involvement in a devastating Saudi-led four-year conflict in Yemen-- is expected to escalate the ongoing war in the trouble-plagued region.

Civil Society, Press Freedom & Human Rights Under Attack in Africa

The civic space in several African countries, including Tanzania, Burundi, Zambia, Sudan, Mozambique, Somalia and Eritrea, is gradually shrinking – and mostly under authoritarian leaders and repressive regimes.

Civil Society, Once the “World’s New Superpower,” is Battling Against Heavy Odds

A former UN Secretary-General, the late Kofi Annan, once described civil society organizations (CSOs), as “the world’s new superpower” – perhaps ranking behind the US and the former Soviet Union.

NGOs Blast US for Undermining Criminal Court

As it paves a destructive path against international institutions and multilateralism, the Trump administration is slowly but steadily undermining the United Nations and its affiliated agencies.

Is Republic of China Still a Permanent Member of the Security Council – Despite its Ouster in 1971?

The Republic of China (Taiwan) withdrew from the United Nations in protest when it was ousted from its highly-prized permanent seat in the UN Security Council (UNSC) about 48 years ago.

Women Activists Protest Torture & Imprisonment Under Repressive Regimes

Faced with an uneven battle against right wing nationalist governments, repressive regimes and extremist groups, scores of civil society organizations (CSOs) are gearing themselves to fight back.

Civil Society Organisations Under Attack by Rightwing Governments & Extremist Groups

The widespread political repression in countries such as the Philippines, Egypt and Saudi Arabia-- and rising right-wing nationalism in the US, Brazil, Italy, India, Poland and Hungary-- have increasingly triggered attacks on human rights and civil society organisations (CSOs).

Did a Backlash Against Trump Trigger Historic Highs for US Women in Politics?

The dramatic increase in women legislators voted into office last November and the historic high of women candidates for the 2020 presidential elections have visibly changed the male-dominated political landscape in the US.

Climate Change: a Threat to Agriculture & UN’s Goal to Eradicate Hunger

The United Nations has vowed to eradicate extreme hunger and malnutrition on a self-imposed deadline of 2030. But it is facing a harsh realty where human-induced climate change – including flash floods, droughts, heatwaves, typhoons and landslides-- is increasingly threatening agriculture, which also provides livelihoods for over 40 per cent of the global population.

Gender Quotas Help Women Parliamentarians to Rise in Numbers

When the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU), based in Switzerland, released its annual report on the representation of women legislators worldwide, four of the top five countries were from the developing world. Rwanda led the way with 61.3 percent of the seats held by women in its lower or single house of parliament followed by Cuba (53.2 percent), Bolivia (53.1 percent) and Mexico (48.2 percent).

UN Pays Homage to Staffers Who Died in Plane Crash

The United Nations headquarters is in mourning – and the UN flag is at half mast. The deaths of 21 UN staffers March 10, on board an Ethiopian Airlines flight in Addis Ababa, is one of the biggest tragedies in the extended UN family—with a flashback to the deaths of 22 people, mostly UN staffers, who lost their lives in the Canal Hotel bombing in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad in August 2003.

Preaching World Peace by Day, Peddling Lethal Weapons By Night

The Middle East, one of the world’s most politically-volatile and war-ravaged regions, has doubled its arms imports during the past five years, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Was Slavery the World’s First Human Rights Violation?

The United Nations, which diligently monitors human rights violations worldwide, believes that centuries-old slavery still exists worldwide.

UN Accused of Failing to Move Aggressively Against Sexual Abuse

The United Nations, which prides itself with a “zero tolerance” policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, has come under relentless fire for failing to match its words with deeds—specifically in relation to some of the high-profile cases that have jolted the Organization.

Modern Day Slavery Rated World’s Largest Single Crime Industry

After an exhaustive study of modern day slavery, the Geneva-based International Labour Organization (ILO) concluded there are over 40 million people who are victims of slavery, including 25 million in forced labour and 15 million in forced marriages – with at least 71 percent of them comprising women and girls.

How Devastating is Climate Change for World Peace & Security?

When the Security Council, the most powerful body at the United Nations, met last month to discuss the growing new threats to world peace and security, the discussion veered away from international terrorism, nuclear Armageddon and the rash of ongoing military conflicts in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Is UN Planning to Replace Humans with Machines & Robots?

The United Nations-- once facetiously described as an institution whose bloated bureaucracy moves at the leisured pace of a paralytic snail -- is steadily zooming into the field of fast-paced, cutting-edge digital technology where humans may one day be replaced with machines and robots.

Right-Wing Nationalism Threatens Democratic Norms, Human Rights & Press Freedom

The steady decline in multilateralism—accompanied by a rise in unilateralism-- is beginning to threaten democratic norms, including press freedom, global governance, civic participation and human rights across Asia, Africa, South America and the Middle East.

Is the UN Being Undermined by a Demagogic Trump Administration?

The United Nations, which embodies the core principles of multilateralism since its creation more than 74 years ago, is being steadily and systematically undermined by a reactionary and demagogic Trump administration recklessly flaunting American imperialism at its worst.

Electronic Devices Outnumber Humans & Trigger a Surge in E-Waste

The widespread innovations in modern digital technology have a devastating downside to it: the accumulation of over 50 million tonnes of electronics waste (e-waste) globally every year.

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