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.

Despite U.N. Treaties, War Against Drugs a Losing Battle

As the call for the decriminalisation of drugs steadily picks up steam worldwide, a new study by a British charity concludes there has been no significant reduction in the global use of illicit drugs since the creation of three key U.N. anti-drug conventions, the first of which came into force over half a century ago.

A New Forensic Weapon to Track Illegal Ivory Trade

The wildlife trade monitoring network, TRAFFIC, is deploying a new forensic weapon - DNA testing - to track illegal ivory products responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of endangered elephants in Asia and Africa.

Syria’s “Barrel Bombs” Cause Human Devastation, Says Rights Group

The warring parties in the brutal four-year-old military conflict in Syria, which has claimed the lives of over 200,000 civilians and triggered “the greatest refugee crisis in modern times,” continue to break every single pledge held out to the United Nations.

Sexist Laws Still Thrive Worldwide

A rash of sex discriminatory laws – including the legalisation of polygamy, marital rape, abduction and the justification of violence against women – remains in statute books around the world.

Sri Lanka Gets Temporary Reprieve Over U.N. Report on War Crimes Charges

The 47-member Human Rights Council (HRC), responding to a request by the newly-elected government in Colombo, has deferred the release of a key U.N. report on human rights violations and war crimes charges against the Sri Lankan armed forces and Tamil separatists who fought a devastating decades-long battle which ended in 2009.

Israel’s Obsession for Monopoly on Middle East Nuclear Power

As the Iranian nuclear talks hurtle towards a Mar. 24 deadline, there is renewed debate among activists about the blatant Western double standards underlying the politically-heated issue, and more importantly, the resurrection of a longstanding proposal for a Middle East free from weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

U.N. Touts 2015 as Milestone Year for World Body

The United Nations, in a sustained political hype, is touting 2015 as a likely breakthrough year for several key issues on its agenda - primarily development financing, climate change, sustainable development, disaster risk-reduction and nuclear non-proliferation.

Sri Lanka Seeks U.S.-U.N. Backing for Domestic Probe of War Crimes Charges

Sri Lanka’s newly-installed government, which has pledged to set up its own domestic tribunal to investigate war crimes charges, is seeking political and moral support both from the United States and the United Nations to stall a possible international investigation.

Battling Terrorism Shouldn’t Justify Torture, Spying or Hangings, Says U.N. Rights Chief

The United Nations, which is the legal guardian of scores of human rights treaties banning torture, unlawful imprisonment, degrading treatment of prisoners of war and enforced disappearances, is troubled that an increasing number of countries are justifying violations of U.N. conventions on grounds of fighting terrorism in conflict zones.

U.S. Ally Yemen in Danger of Splitting into Two – Again

When North and South Yemen merged into a single country under the banner Yemen Arab Republic back in May 1990, a British newspaper remarked with a tinge of sarcasm: "Two poor countries have now become one poor country."

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.

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