Stories written by Thalif Deen
Thalif Deen, who has been covering the United Nations since the late 1970s, is a former deputy news editor of the Sri Lanka Daily News and senior editorial writer on the Hong Kong Standard. As former UN Bureau Chief for Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency, 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 who won the prestigious gold medal for reporting on the global environment-- and in 2013, he shared the gold, this time with the Associated Press (AP), 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. 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. 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, 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.

When the UN Comes Under Heavy Fire

When heads of government and foreign ministers make their annual pilgrimage to the United Nations in September, it is rare to hear hard-hitting, headline-grabbing political statements from the podium.

UNFPA Funding Cuts Threaten Women’s Health in Poorer Nations

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA), which has played a key role in ensuring maternal health and promoting reproductive rights of millions of women world-wide, is expected to suffer over $140 million in funding cuts by Western donors this year.

Nobel Peace Laureates to Help Achieve Food Security

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) believes that ongoing military conflicts, which have also devastated agricultural crops and livestock, are one of the primary causes of food shortages in war zones in Africa and the Middle East.

Could the UN be Doing More to Protect Journalists?

As the world commemorates World Press Freedom Day, a coalition of some 35 press freedom groups is calling on the 193-member General Assembly to appoint a Special Representative of the Secretary General to monitor and oversee the safety of journalists worldwide.

UN Predicts 40 Percent Water Shortfall by 2030

Ten presidents and prime ministers from around the world will work together to resolve the growing global water crisis amid warnings that the world may face a 40 percent shortfall in water availability by 2030.

Eastern Europe’s Claims for UN Chief Questioned

As the campaign for a new UN Secretary-General (UNSG) gathers momentum, there is one lingering question that remains unanswered: does the now-defunct Eastern European political alliance have a legitimate claim for the job on the basis of geographical rotation?

UN Chief Seeks Fast-Paced Ratifications for Climate Change Treaty

Over 150 countries are expected to sign the Paris climate change agreement on April 22 but the historic treaty will not come into force until it has been ratified by 55 countries.

UN Chief Lauds Oman for Discreet Role in Peace Talks

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has singled out Oman as perhaps the only Arab country in the Gulf playing a discreet role – mostly behind-the- scenes – in helping resolve some of the military and political conflicts in the war-ravaged region.

UN Begins Negotiations on Treaty to Protect Marine Resources

The United Nations has begun negotiations for a new legally binding treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological resources in the world’s oceans – nearly 64 percent of which lie beyond national jurisdiction.

New York City Rejects Singling Out Muslims for Surveillance

With the rise in terrorist attacks in Europe, the Muslim community in New York City is fast becoming the centre of attention in the US presidential campaign currently underway.

US Nuclear Security Summit Shadowed by Rising Terrorism

When some of the world’s major nuclear powers meet in Washington DC next Friday, they will be shadowed by the rising terrorist attacks-- largely in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Western Powers Unlikely to Impose Arms Embargo on Saudi Arabia

As hundreds of civilians continue to be killed in the ongoing conflict in Yemen, one of the leading human rights organization is calling for an arms embargo – specifically against Saudi Arabia which is leading a coalition of eight countries battling Houthi rebels in the war-ravaged neighbouring country.

UN Laboriously Strives for its First Female Secretary-General

When the only female candidate failed in her attempt to become UN Secretary-General back in late 2006, an Asian diplomat weighed in with an upgraded Biblical quote: “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle”, he said, “than for a woman to become the Secretary-General of the United Nations.”

After 25-Year Ban, Gays & Lesbians March in St Patrick’s Day Parade

This year’s annual St Patrick’s Day parade on Fifth Avenue was a historic event marking the end of a 25-year ban on gays and lesbians.

African Nations & Russia Protest UN Stamps on Gay, Lesbian Rights

When the UN Postal Administration recently unveiled a set of six new commemorative stamps -- as part of a global campaign promoting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities -- it did not expect a furious backlash as it did, mostly from the 54 members of the African Group and from Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council.

Next Page »