Stories written by Thalif Deen
Thalif Deen, UN Bureau Chief and Regional Director IPS North America, has been covering the U.N. since the late 1970s. A former deputy news editor of the Sri Lanka Daily News, he was a senior editorial writer on the Hongkong daily, The Standard. He has been runner-up and 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 part of an IPS team which who won the prestigious gold award for reporting on the global environment-- and in 2013, he shared the gold medal with the Associated Press for his reporting on the humanitarian and development work of the United Nations. A former information officer at the U.N. Secretariat, and a one-time member of the Sri Lanka delegation to the U.N. General Assembly sessions, Deen is currently editor in chief of the IPS U.N. Terra Viva daily electronic newsletter, published since March 1993. Since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, he has covered virtually every single major U.N. conference: on population, human rights, the environment, social development, food security, water, energy and education. A former military editor Middle East/Africa at Jane’s Information Group in the U.S, a columnist for the Sri Lanka Sunday Times and a longtime U.N. correspondent for Asiaweek, Hongkong and Jane's Defence Weekly, London, he is a Fulbright scholar with a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, New York.

After Nine Years of Foot-Dragging, U.N. Ready for Talks on High Seas Treaty

After four days of intense negotiations - preceded by nine years of dilly-dallying - the United Nations has agreed to convene an intergovernmental conference aimed at drafting a legally binding treaty to conserve marine life and govern the mostly lawless high seas beyond national jurisdiction.

U.S. May Soon Stand Alone Opposing Children’s Treaty

When the East African nation of Somalia, once described as a "lawless state", ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) early this week, it left two countries in splendid isolation from the rest of the world: South Sudan and the United States.

Final Push to Launch U.N. Negotiations on High Seas Treaty

The United Nations will make its third - and perhaps final - attempt at reaching an agreement to launch negotiations for an international biodiversity treaty governing the high seas.

U.N. Helpless as Saudi Flogging Flouts Torture Convention

Flogging a dead horse, as the old idiom goes, is far removed from flogging a live Saudi blogger.

U.N. Field Operations Deadlier Every Year

The widespread field operations of the United Nations – primarily in conflict zones in Africa, Asia and the Middle East – continue to be some of the world’s deadliest.

European Citizens Call for Increased Aid to Developing World

An overwhelming majority of citizens in the 28-member European Union (EU) - which has been hamstrung by a spreading economic recession, a fall in oil prices and a decline of its common currency, the Euro - has expressed strong support for development cooperation and increased aid to developing nations.

The Day CIA Failed to Un-beard Castro in His Own Den

The controversial low-brow Hollywood comedy, 'The Interview', portrays the story of two U.S. talk-show journalists on assignment to interview Kim Jong-un - and midway down the road are recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to poison the North Korean leader.

The Rise and Fall of the World’s Poorest Nations

The world's 48 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) - a special category of developing nations created by the General Assembly in 1971 but refused recognition by the World Bank - have long been described as "poorest of the poor" in need of special international assistance for their economic survival.

Oil Price Plunge Could Take a Bite from Arms Budgets

In a satirical piece titled 'An Unserious Look at the Year Ahead' in the Wall Street Journal last week, Hugo Rifkind predicts the price of a barrel of oil will fall so low that people across the world would start buying oil for the barrel - and throw the oil out.

U.S. Twists Arms to Help Defeat Resolution on Palestine

The United States re-asserted its political and economic clout - and its ability to twist arms and perhaps metaphorically break kneecaps - when it successfully lobbied to help defeat a crucial Security Council resolution on the future of Palestine this week.

Falling Oil Prices Threaten Fragile African Economies

The sharp decline in world petroleum prices - hailed as a bonanza to millions of motorists in the United States - is threatening to undermine the fragile economies of several African countries dependent on oil for their sustained growth.

The Day Anti-Castro Forces Tried to Bomb the U.N.

When the politically-charismatic Ernesto Che Guevera, once second-in-command to Cuban leader Fidel Castro, was at the United Nations to address the General Assembly sessions back in 1964, the U.N. headquarters came under attack - literally.

Russian Arms Producers Move Ahead of Western Rivals

The world's top 100 arms producing companies racked up 402 billion dollars in weapons sales and military services in 2013, according to the latest figures released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

U.S. Faulted for Undermining Torture Convention

The timing was inadvertently impeccable as two stinging reports on harsh interrogation techniques - by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the United States and former military regimes in Brazil - were released on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the U.N. Convention Against Torture.

Hiroshima, Nagasaki Cast Shadow Over Nuclear Conference in Vienna

When Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was at Harvard University early this week to pick up the 'Humanitarian of the Year' award, his thoughts transcended the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, to the Austrian capital of Vienna which will be the venue of a key international conference on nuclear weapons next week.

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