Stories written by Thalif Deen
Thalif Deen, Senior Editor & Director, UN Bureau, Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency 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, sustainable development, food security, humanitarian aid, arms control and nuclear disarmament.   As the former UN Bureau Chief for IPS, 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. As military analyst, he was also Director, Foreign Military Markets at Defense Marketing Services; Senior Defense Analyst at Forecast International; and military editor Middle East/Africa at Jane’s Information Group. He was a longstanding columnist for the Sri Lanka Sunday Times, U.N. correspondent for Asiaweek, Hong Kong and Jane's Defence Weekly, London. A Fulbright scholar with a Master’s Degree (MSc) in Journalism from Columbia University, New York, he is co-author of the 1981 book on “How to Survive a Nuclear Disaster” and author of the 2021 book on the United Nations titled “No Comment – and Don’t Quote me on That”— and subtitled ‘from the Sublime to the Hilarious’, both of which are available on Amazon. email: thalifdeen@gmail.com tmd30@columbia.edu | Twitter |

UN’s Most Powerful Political Body Remains Paralyzed Battling a New Cold War

A new Cold War – this time, between the US and China —is threatening to paralyze the UN’s most powerful body, even as military conflicts and civil wars are sweeping across the world, mostly in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

Disability Discrimination at the World Bank: Is it Immunity or Impunity?

The 15,900-strong World Bank, which has funded over 12,000 development projects worldwide since 1947, is an international institution with a superlative reputation for its sustained efforts to end poverty in the developing world—with loans, interest-free credit and outright grants.

UN Sanitizes Killings of Children in Armed Conflicts

The horrendous killings of children in military conflicts and civil wars – both by national armed forces and militant groups – have triggered widespread condemnation by human rights organizations worldwide.

Are High-Ranking UN Jobs the Political Birthright of Big Powers?

The United Nations has continued to pursue a notoriously longstanding tradition of doling out some of the highest-ranking jobs either to the five big powers, who are permanent members of the Security Council—namely the US, UK, China, France and Russia – or to Western industrialized nations such as Spain, Italy, Canada, Sweden, Germany, plus Japan.

Women Will Not Reach Parity at the Pinnacle of Power for Another 130 Years, Predicts UN

The United Nations says the highest levels of political power remain the furthest from achieving gender parity in an increasingly male-dominated power structure worldwide.

World’s Worst Humanitarian Disaster Triggered by Deadly Weapons from US & UK

The United Nations has rightly described the deaths and devastation in war-ravaged Yemen as the “world’s worst humanitarian disaster”--- caused mostly by widespread air attacks on civilians by a coalition led Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Money Laundering: the Darker Side of the World’s Offshore Financial System

A sign outside a laundry in New York city had a frivolously flippant slogan: “We launder dirty clothes, not dirty money.” And a 2019 movie titled “Laundromat,” based on a book ‘Secrecy World’ by Pulitzer Prize winning author Jake Bernstein, exposed the byzantine world of money laundering.

Where do UN Diplomats Hide During Politically-Sensitive Voting?

The United Nations, created in 1945 following the devastation caused by World War II, was mandated with one central mission: the maintenance of international peace and security.

The West vs the Global South: You Have the Numbers. We Have the Money

When the 134-member Group of 77, the largest single coalition of developing countries, was trying to strike a hard bargain in its negotiations with Western nations years ago, one of its envoys famously declared: “You have the numbers. We have the money.”

China & Russia Throw Protective Arms Around Myanmar

When million-dollar arms sales knock on the door, human rights violations and war crimes fly out of the window. As the United Nations grapples for a reaction to the military coup in Myanmar, both China and Russia, two veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC), refused to support a statement condemning the army takeover—a collective statement that warrants consensus from all 15 members.

With a War-Mongering President Gone, is the World Safe from Nuclear Brinkmanship?

A war-mongering president, with his finger on the nuclear trigger--- and who threatened to attack North Korea and Iran-- was unceremoniously drummed out of office on January 20.

Will a Second Term for Guterres Undermine Campaign for First Female UN Chief in 76 Years?

The United Nations has been one of the most vociferous advocates of gender empowerment and a persistent critic of gender discrimination worldwide.

Storming of Capitol Hill Reminiscent of a Banana Republic

The storming of Capitol Hill in Washington DC by an unruly mob is reminiscent of an insurrection in a “banana republic” --as hilariously portrayed in the 1971 Woody Allen comedy “Bananas” spoofing a revolt in a fictional Latin American country.

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine a Potential Biological Weapon in Reverse?

If the coronavirus is not deemed a biological weapon, is the heavily-publicized Covid-19 vaccine in danger of being weaponized when over 159,000 Palestinians who have tested positive in Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) are being denied treatment during a deadly pandemic?

The Night Arafat, Facing Death Threats, Slept in the UN Chief’s Office

The United Nations, which is commemorating its 75th anniversary, continues to remain bogged down in one of the world’s most politically and militarily volatile regions: the Middle East.

A Vaccine That Was Hijacked by the Rich

There is a longstanding belief that virtually everything in this world is stacked up against the poor and the downtrodden. The Covid-19 vaccine is no exception because some of world’s richest nations, including the US, Canada and UK, seem to have cornered most of the supplies -- whilst marginalizing the world’s poorer nations.

A UN Power Monopoly That Cries Out for a Break

Will four strong contenders for permanent seats in the UN Security Council (UNSC)-- Germany, India, Japan and Brazil—help break the monopoly now being held by the big five, namely the US, UK, France, China and Russia?

When Big Powers Clash, the UN’s Most Powerful Body Disappears

At the height of the Cold War back in the 1960s, a Peruvian diplomat, Dr. Victor Andres Belaunde, characterized the United Nations as a politically wobbly institution that survives only at the will-- and pleasure-- of the five big powers.

UN Warns of an Impending Famine With Millions in Danger of Starvation

The numbers are staggering— as reflected in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has triggered a new round of food shortages, famine and starvation.

A Potential Weapon Kills Over 1.5 Million Worldwide –Without a Single Shot Being Fired

The world’s major military powers exercise their dominance largely because of their massive weapons arsenals, including sophisticated fighter planes, drones, ballistic missiles, warships, battle tanks, heavy artillery—and nuclear weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

Trump’s “America First” Foreign Policy Faces an Unceremonious Burial

The ouster of Donald Trump from the US presidency last week may well be the dawn of a new era for multilateralism – and perhaps for a besieged United Nations— after nearly four years of misguided political rhetoric emerging from the White House.

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