Stories written by Thalif Deen
Thalif Deen, IPS UN Bureau Chief, has been covering the United Nations since the late 1970s. A former deputy news editor of the Sri Lanka Daily News, he was a senior editorial writer on the daily Hong Kong 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 on the IPS team which who won the prestigious gold award for reporting on the global environment-- and in 2013, for the second consecutive year, he shared the gold medal, 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, and a one-time member of the Sri Lanka delegation to the General Assembly sessions, Deen is currently editor-in-chief of the IPS U.N. Terra Viva daily electronic newsletter, published since March 1993. 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.

Despite Treaty, Conventional Arms Fuel Ongoing Conflicts

Despite last year’s Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), the proliferation of conventional weapons, both legally and illegally, continues to help fuel military conflicts in several countries in the Middle East and Africa, including Syria, Iraq, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen.

Europe Squabbles While Refugees Die

As tens of thousands of refugees continue to flee conflict-ridden countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, Western European governments and international humanitarian organisations are struggling to cope with a snowballing humanitarian crisis threatening to explode.

Emerging Industrial Power Rises From Aid Beneficiary to Donor Nation

Back in 1996, when South Korea voluntarily quit the 132-member Group of 77 (G77) – described as the largest single coalition of developing nations -- it joined the 34-member Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), long known as the “rich man’s club” based in Paris.

U.N. Military Sanctions on Syria May Face Veto by Arms Supplier

The staggering statistics emerging from the ongoing five-year-old military conflict in Syria – including over 220,000 killed, more than one million injured and about 7.6 million displaced – are prompting calls for a United Nations arms embargo on the beleaguered regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Security Council, in Historic First, Discusses Gay, Lesbian Rights

The U.N. Security Council (UNSC), whose primary mandate is the maintenance of international peace and security, has occasionally digressed to discuss global issues such as climate change and HIV/AIDS.

U.S. Provides Cover for Use of Banned Weapons in Yemen

The United States is providing a thinly-veiled cover virtually legitimising the use of cluster bombs – banned by an international convention – by Saudi Arabia and its allies in their heavy fighting against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

U.N. Remains Helpless Watching Rising Deaths of Children in War Zones

The rising death toll of civilians, specifically women and children, in ongoing military conflicts is generating strong messages of condemnation from international institutions and human rights organisations – with the United Nations remaining helpless as killings keep multiplying.

U.N. Marks Humanitarian Day Battling Its Worst Refugee Crisis

The United Nations is commemorating World Humanitarian Day with “inspiring” human interest stories of survival – even as the world body describes the current refugee crisis as the worst for almost a quarter of a century.

World’s Nuclear Facilities Vulnerable to Cyber-Attacks

As hackers continue to rampage through closely-guarded information systems and databases with monotonous regularity, there is a tempting new target for cyber-attacks: the world’s nuclear facilities.

U.N. Chief, Seeking Accountability, Shatters Myth of Lifetime Jobs

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stopped short of telling one his high-ranking Special Representatives: “You’re fired.”

Tiny Island Nation Pleads for Global Moratorium on New Coal Mines

The tiny island of Kiribati in the Central Pacific, with a population of about 103,000, has long been identified as one of the U.N. member states threatened with physical extinction due to sea-level rise triggered largely by climate change.

U.N. to Unleash “Power of Education” to Fight Intolerance, Racism

The United Nations is planning to launch a global campaign against the spread of intolerance, extremism, racism and xenophobia -- largely by harnessing the talents of the younger generation.

Head of State Who Keeps U.N. Guessing in Annual Ritual

As part of a politically-amusing annual ritual, the guessing game is on at the United Nations: will he, or will he not, address the General Assembly, along with more than 150 heads of state who are due in New York next month?

No More Hiroshimas, No More Nagasakis, Vows U.N. Chief

Speaking at a commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Japan, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a vociferous advocate of nuclear disarmament, echoed the rallying cry worldwide: “No more Hiroshimas, No more Nagasakis.”

U.N. Taps Private Sector to Fund Development, Advocate Social Causes

When the United Nations seeks outside financial assistance either for development needs or to advocate social causes, it invariably turns to the private sector these days.

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