Stories written by Thalif Deen
Thalif Deen, a Senior Consulting Editor at 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, social and economic development, food security, humanitarian aid, nuclear disarmament, water, energy and education. As the former UN Bureau Chief for Inter Press Service, 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. A former military editor Middle East/Africa at Jane’s Information Group, 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.

Boycott, Divest & Sanctions Campaign Not Anti-Israel but Pro-Palestinian, Says Norwegian MP

When Norwegian parliamentarian Bjørnar Moxnes recently nominated the BDS movement for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, the leader of Norway’s Red Party faced the inevitable: a furious backlash from pro-Israeli and anti-Palestinian groups.

Tackling Inequality – The Myth that Davos Can Change the World

When the World Economic Forum (WEF) concluded in Davos, Switzerland last week, the outcome of the annual talk-fest was seemingly predictable—plenty of unrestrained platitudes but, surprisingly, less of the American populist, protectionist rhetoric.

US, Led by an Erratic Trump, Seeks to Undermine UN

The continued erratic and outrageous comments by President Donald Trump – and his attempts to undermine the United Nations – are threatening to cause irreparable damage to the world body.

Pakistan, Facing Military Aid Cuts, One Step Ahead of US

When the United States abruptly cuts off military supplies to its allies for political or other reasons, the reaction has been predictable: it drive these countries into the arms of the Chinese, the Russians and Western European weapons suppliers.

The Reality of North Korea as a Nuclear Power

With a track record of six underground nuclear tests between 2006 and 2017, North Korea is desperately yearning to be recognized as the world’s ninth nuclear power – trailing behind the US, UK, France, China, Russia, India, Pakistan and Israel.

US Faces Collective Defiance at UN Over Jerusalem

When the UN General Assembly condemned the United States for its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the vote was described as a “collective defiance” of the international community against public threats against the United Nations and its member states by a politically unpredictable and predictably wavering US President.

Bangladesh Aims at Middle-Income Status by 2021

The environmental challenges facing Bangladesh, described by the United Nations as one of the world’s “least developed countries” (LDCs), are monumental, including recurrent cyclones, perennial floods, widespread riverbank erosion and a potential sea level rise predicted to put about 27 million people at risk over the next two decades.

Are Rising Seas, Coastal Erosion & Powerful Storms a Wave of the Future for Small Island Nations?

The 44-member Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) represents some of the world’s most vulnerable island nations fighting a virtually losing battle against rising sea levels triggered by global warming and climate change.

Post-Nuclear Nightmares Still Linger Over Pacific Islands

The Pacific islands have long remained victims of nuclear crimes – but the perpetrators, three of the world’s major powers with permanent seats in the UN Security Council, never paid for their deadly sins.

Fiji Civil Society Meeting to Focus on Pacific Islands Under Threat

The 57 small island developing states (SIDS), including 20 described as territories which are non-UN members, are some of the world’s most vulnerable – both economically and environmentally.

Should Environmental Refugees be Granted Asylum Status?

The 1951 UN convention on political refugees-- which never foresaw the phenomenon of climate change-- permits refugee status only if one “has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.”

Will DNA Data Base Deter Sexual Abuse at UN?

The United Nations is fighting a losing battle against the widespread – and continued – sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) by UN peacekeepers and civilian staff resulting in relatively few convictions amidst daunting problems in tracking abusers and nailing down paternity claims.

UN Agency Defers Action Cutting Ties to Tobacco Industry

Back in November 2008, the 193-member General Assembly decided, by consensus, to ban smoking and tobacco sales at the UN headquarters in New York: a ruling observed by all affiliated agencies worldwide, including the Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) which has severed links with the tobacco industry.

Global Campaign for Mercury-Free Dentistry Targets Africa

A vibrant global campaign to ban the use of mercury in dentistry is shifting direction: moving from Europe to the developing world.

UN Member States, With Exceptions, Pay Lip Service to Women & Peacekeeping

A UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution adopted on 31 October 2000, underlying the role of women in peacekeeping, has long been described as both historic and unprecedented.

Russian & US Vetoes Protect Client States

The vote on the latest American-sponsored resolution in the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Syria was predictable: of the five big powers, China abstained and Russia vetoed, while the US, UK and France voted for it.

Global Campaign to Smoke Out Tobacco Firms from UN Body

The world’s tobacco companies – which have been widely ostracized in the UN system – may be ousted from one of their last fortified strongholds in the United Nations: the International Labour Organization (ILO).

US Call for Suspending Arms Sales to Myanmar Faces Road Block in Security Council

When US Ambassador Nikki Haley called for a virtual arms embargo against the repressive and much-maligned military regime in Myanmar, she took a passing shot at two of her fellow veto-wielding, permanent members of the Security Council – namely China and Russia – who are primary arms suppliers to the increasingly politically-isolated nation.

US Pressure Keeps Palestinians Blacklisted at UN

When Secretary-General Antonio Guterres proposed the appointment of former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as UN’s Special Representative in Libya back in February, the proposal was shot down by US Ambassador Nikki Haley, purely because he was a Palestinian.

US Lags Far Behind in Banning Dental Health Hazard

The United States is lagging far behind its Western allies – and perhaps most of the key developing countries – in refusing to act decisively to end a longstanding health and environmental hazard: the use of mercury in dentistry.

Sinking Island Seeks Seat in Security Council

The Maldives, one of the world’s low-lying, small island developing states (SIDS) -- threatened with extinction because of a sea-level rise-- is shoring up its coastal defences in anticipation of the impending calamity.

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